Folks in Lee and Harnett counties who thought they were voting for a change in 2016 DID NOT GET much of one. They traded a Democrat House member, Brad Salmon, for a Republican named John Sauls. If you check the Civitas conservative rankings, there really has been little difference between the two.
In 2016, Salmon was ranked 32nd out of 120 in the House with a conservative rating of 71.4 percent. Salmon was actually tied with Harnett’s David Lewis (R), Guilford’s Jon Hardister (R), Wake’s Skip Stam (R), and Chowan’s Bob Steinburg (R) among others. Salmon was actually more conservative than Pitt County’s Greg Murphy (R), Wake’s Gary Pendleton (R), Wilson’s Susan Martin (R), and Mecklenburg’s Charles Jeter among others.
In 2016, there was an 11-way tie for most conservative (100%). The list was topped by Wake’s Marilyn Avila (R), Mecklenburg’s Dan Bishop (R), and Guilford’s John Blust (R).
Compare all of that with Sauls in 2017. Sauls was in a 28-way TIE for 29th place with a conservative ranking of 73.3 percent. That ranking tied him with Speaker Tim Moore (R), Harnett’s David Lewis (R), and Pitt’s Murphy (R) among others.
For 2017, the most conservative House members were Pender’s Chris Millis (R — 100%), Union’s Mark Brody (R – 91.7%), and Guilford’s John Blust (R-86.7%).
So, what do we take away from all this? You can make it all about R vs D when you go to the polling place. But picking R does not always guarantee you’re choosing conservatism. Or a radical difference from the Democrats, for that matter.