How conservative was Gwen Graham in Congress? Not very according to a leading conservative group

By U.S. House of Representatives – [1], Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54952433

As I have mentioned many times through the years on this site, a hobby of mine for over two decades has been to study interest group ratings based on the voting record of members of Congress. The American Conservative Union (ACU)  who host the annual CPAC Conference has been rating Congress for 45 years since the days of the ACU used the Americans for Conservative Action (ACA) to rate individual legislative voting record. The ACU which was founded in 1964 around Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign opposed liberal Republicans and became the stimulant on the Reagan movement first in the 1976 Republican primaries and then into the 1980’s.

The ACU has for years provided some of the most instructive ratings of members of Congress. I personally have been tracking ACU ratings of Congress since the early 1990’s, and since I collect the Almanac of American Politics back issues I have the ratings going all the way back to the early 1970’s.

Ratings for 2016 have yet to be released but curiously in the 2015 ratings, despite a reputation I previously felt was well-earned for conservatism, Gwen Graham representing a GOP-leaning district in the Big Bend and Panhandle regions, Graham’s rating was a surprise. A quick glance at ACU’s 2015 ratings shows Graham with the same score as  Rep. Kathy Castor and a less conservative score than liberal-stalwart Rep. Alan Grayson.  Graham is expected to be among the growing field of Democrats running for Governor.

The assumption to this point has been that Graham represents the establishment mainstream position, while Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum represents an establishment, progressive position. Potential candidate John Morgan represents an insurgent progressive position while Orlando businessman Chris King, an announced candidate doesn’t register ideologically.  Miami Beach Mayor Phillip Levine isn’t considered by many a top-tier candidate if he chooses to run.

Graham voted with the “conservative” position just twice in 24 scored votes – granted those two (the closing of Guantanamo and the Iran Nuclear Deal) were high-profile pieces of legislation where opposition had ramifications for the ability of the United States to engage in productive diplomacy abroad.

But on domestic issues, Graham’s score was perfect from a liberal perspective based on the ACU’s votes. This is something to ponder no doubt, but inconclusive until we see the 2016 scores.

4 comments

  1. Andrew Gillum is an Establishment Status Quo candidate. He has surrounded himself with the old FDP establishment shills as well as DWS’s campaign people. Don’t judge a candidate on rhetoric alone. See who his friends are.

    1. Gillum’s rhetoric is sport on Joe – but like you I do have concerns about those surrounding him and their record for losing…that’s not ideological just a reality of the W/L record of the FDP insiders backing him or working for him.

      1. Agreed but it is ideological as well. People who have had the power of the DNC and the FPL [DWS], aren’t going to give up their power and influence easily. They will be raising money and supporting candidates that can be bought, thus fortifying the status quo.

  2. […] CONSERVATIVE WAS GRAHAM IN CONGRESS? NOT VERY ACCORDING TO A LEADING CONSERVATIVE GROUP via Kartik Krishnaiyer of The Florida Squeeze – The American Conservative Union (ACU) … used the Americans for Conservative Action (ACA) to […]

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