The American Conservative Union always has me a bit skeptical. They have that word “conservative” in their name, but the flavor of much of what they do is GOPe.
But they DO rate state legislators every year. So, that makes them somewhat interesting in our book. Here’s what they found for 2016:
- House: Top Conservatives were Pittman, Millis, and Ford (all scoring between 90 and 100 percent). In the second tier?: Adams, Bishop, Blust, Bumgardner, Cleveland, Collins, Riddell and Speciale (all scoring between 80 and 89 percent).
- Senate: The top conservatives for 2016 were Jackson, Krawiec, McInnis, Randleman, Rucho, and Wells (all scoring between 90 and 100 percent).
In the Senate, the overall conservative rating for senators was 61 percent. The Republican average score was 79 percent. The Democrat average was 23 percent. The LEAST CONSERVATIVE senator was Wake’s Tamara Barringer, with a rating of 40 percent. The most conservative Democrat? Mecklenburg’s Joel Ford with a score of 33 percent.
Let’s look at Senate leadership. Phil Berger scored 75 percent. Harry Brown earned an 80 percent rating. Tom Apodaca scored 80 percent. Bob Rucho scored 90 percent. Jerry Tillman scored 80 percent. Bill Rabon also got 80 percent.
In the House, the overall average conservative rating was 50 percent. The Republican average was 59 percent. The Democrat average was 34 percent. The most liberal Republican? Cabarrus County’s Linda Johnson, with a score of 31 percent. The most conservative Democrat? Columbus County’s Ken Waddell, with a score of 58 percent.
Let’s look at House leadership. Tim Moore did not get rated. (He didn’t vote on enough of the targeted bills to qualify for a valid rating.) Nelson Dollar earned a smelly 46 percent rating for 2016. David Lewis also earned a rating of 46 percent. John Szoka did a little better at 54 percent. Jon Hardister earned a 50% rating. Jason Saine earned a 46% score. John Bell scored a surprising 77 percent. Kelly Hastings went from a 92 in 2015 to a 75 rating in 2016.
In the linked presentation, the ACU highlights the ten votes in each chamber they used to calculate their conservative ratings.