Keeping Score on First Term GOP Senators

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A majority of the GOP Senators are in their first term. This may come as a shock to many who demand term limits comparable to the presidential term limits. It’s still true that incumbents are protected and have a lot of power. In spite of this there have been gradual shifts in the makeup of the US Senate. Currently there are 30 first term and 24 consecutive multi-term GOP Senators. Sen. Dan Coats is a special case because he has held multiple terms that are not consecutive. He is the first Republican to announce his retirement at the end of his term. There are also three Democrats who have announced their retirement at the end of their term, Barbara Boxer, Barbara Mikulski, and Harry Reid. There probably will be more announcements like this between now and the next election, November 8, 2016. Each time this happens it makes for a new first term Senator.

The senators are divided into 3 senate classes that stagger elections for all of the senators over the course of six years. The next election is for those in class 3 (34 seats), and two years later for those in class 1 (33 seats), and two years later class 2 (33 seats). Below is a list of the first term senators, and a letter grade and numeric percent score are next to each senator’s name. These scores have been determined by Conservative Review.

Senate class 3 freshmen [next regular election:Tuesday 8 November 2016]

  • UT Sen. Mike Lee A 100%
  • OK Sen. James Lankford A 100%
  • KY Sen. Rand Paul A 95%
  • SC Sen. Tim Scott B 88%
  • FL Sen. Marco Rubio B 80%
  • WI Sen. Ron Johnson C 72%
  • PA Sen. Pat Toomey D 65%
  • KS Sen. Jerry Moran D 64%
  • OH Sen. Rob Portman F 58%
  • AR Sen. John Boozman F 51%
  • NH Sen. Kelly Ayotte F 44%
  • MO Sen. Roy Blunt F 38%
  • IL Sen. Mark Kirk F 31%
  • ND Sen. John Hoeven F 26%
  • Senate class 1 Freshmen [next regular election:Tuesday 6 November 2018]

  • TX Sen. Ted Cruz A 96%
  • NE Sen. Deb Fischer F 58%
  • NV Sen. Dean Heller F 54%
  • AZ Sen. Jeff Flake F 43%
  • Senate class 2 Freshmen [next regular election:Tuesday 3 November 2020]

  • NE Sen. Benjamin Sasse A 100%
  • AK Sen. Dan Sullivan A 100%
  • GA Sen. David Perdue A 100%
  • IA Sen. Joni Ernst A 100%
  • NC Sen. Thom Tillis A 100%
  • MT Sen. Steve Daines A 100%
  • AR Sen. Tom Cotton A 100%
  • LA Sen. Bill Cassidy A 100%
  • CO Sen. Cory Gardner F 50%
  • SD Sen. Mike Rounds F 50%
  • WV Sen. Shelley Capito F 50%
  • Overall the scores for the first term Senators are better than for the multi-term Senators. The scores are currently determined by 43 key votes. Those votes had a conservative position of NO for 30, and a conservative position of YES for 13. The only Senators who had an opportunity to vote on all 43 have been in the Senate since January 2011, and the ones who have only been in the Senate since January 2015 had an opportunity to vote on only the last two key votes. There will be more key votes between now and the next election, and the scores will change some more.

    Let’s focus on just the first term Senators in Senate Class 3, and just on the 13 key votes that had a conservative position of YES. The following is a list of the 13 key votes.

  • Advance the Repeal of Obamacare Vote Result Date: 2/2/2011
  • Balanced Budget Amendment Vote Result Date: 3/2/2011
  • Defund Planned Parenthood Vote Result Date: 4/14/2011
  • $1 Billion Spending Cut on funding for the Rural Development Agency Vote Result Date: 11/1/2011
  • Prohibit Earmarks Vote Result Date: 2/2/2012
  • Term Limits Vote Result Date: 2/2/2012
  • This amendment proposed would extend Fourth Amendment guarantees to electronic communications and requires specific warrants granted from specialized intelligence courts in order to obtain this information. Vote Result Date: 12/27/2012
  • Balance Budget in 5 years Vote Result Date: 3/23/2013
  • Reduce Foreign Aid to Hostile Countries Vote Result Date: 3/23/2013
  • Mike Lee Transportation Empowerment Act Vote Result Date: 7/29/2014
  • A motion to strip a provision expanding existing national parks, creating 8 new parks, designating 245,000 acres as federal wilderness, and removing another 299,000 acres from natural resource production. Vote Result Date: 12/12/2014
  • The Cruz point of order to the FY 2015 “Cromnibus” bill would have declared this action unconstitutional, thereby sending the bill back to the House of Representatives to fix the offending Constitutional violation, funding unlawful executive amnesty. A yes vote was a vote to declare Obama’s amnesty unconstitutional. Vote Result Date: 12/14/2014
  • Approve Keystone XL Pipeline Vote Result Date: 1/29/2015
  • The results tabulated from this subset of key votes makes a clear divide between the 10 at the top and the four at the bottom of first term Senators. The worst of the four at the bottom are Roy Blunt and John Hoeven. While I may not agree with some votes by Kelly Ayotte and Mark Kirk, I acknowledge the fact that Illinois and New Hampshire are more liberal states than Missouri and North Dakota. Ayotte and Kirk also were consistent in their voting. For example, they both voted NO on the Cruz point of order to the FY 2015 “Cromnibus” bill and YES on final passage of the “Cromnibus”. Hoeven and Blunt, on the other hand, voted YES on the Cruz point of order to the FY 2015 “Cromnibus” bill and YES on final passage of the “Cromnibus”. That is not consistent or principled voting by Blunt and Hoeven.

    The following are the stats in the form of a batting average for the 14 Senators.

    Mike Lee went 13/13 1.000
    Rand Paul went 13/13 1.000
    Tim Scott went 6/6 1.000
    James Lankford went 1/1 1.000
    Ron Johnson went 11/13 .846
    Jerry Moran went 10/13 .769
    Marco Rubio went 9/12 .750
    John Boozman went 9/12 .750
    Pat Toomey went 9/13 .692
    Rob Portman went 9/13 .692
    Kelly Ayotte went 7/13 .538
    Roy Blunt went 7/13 .538
    John Hoeven went 5/13 .385
    Mark Kirk went 3/10 .300

    Let’s detail exactly which of these votes with the conservative position of YES the bottom 4 Senators cast a NO vote.

    The 8 NO votes by John Hoeven:

  • $1 Billion Spending Cut on funding for the Rural Development Agency
  • Prohibit Earmarks
  • Term Limits
  • This amendment proposed would extend Fourth Amendment guarantees to electronic communications and requires specific warrants granted from specialized intelligence courts in order to obtain this information.
  • Balance Budget in 5 years
  • Reduce Foreign Aid to Hostile Countries
  • Mike Lee Transportation Empowerment Act
  • A motion to strip a provision expanding existing national parks, creating 8 new parks, designating 245,000 acres as federal wilderness, and removing another 299,000 acres from natural resource production.
  • The 6 NO votes by Roy Blunt:

  • $1 Billion Spending Cut on funding for the Rural Development Agency
  • Prohibit Earmarks
  • This amendment proposed would extend Fourth Amendment guarantees to electronic communications and requires specific warrants granted from specialized intelligence courts in order to obtain this information.
  • Balance Budget in 5 years
  • Reduce Foreign Aid to Hostile Countries
  • Mike Lee Transportation Empowerment Act
  • The 7 NO votes by Mark Kirk:

  • Defund Planned Parenthood
  • $1 Billion Spending Cut on funding for the Rural Development Agency
  • Balance Budget in 5 years
  • Reduce Foreign Aid to Hostile Countries
  • Mike Lee Transportation Empowerment Act
  • A motion to strip a provision expanding existing national parks, creating 8 new parks, designating 245,000 acres as federal wilderness, and removing another 299,000 acres from natural resource production.
  • The Cruz point of order to the FY 2015 “Cromnibus” bill would have declared this action unconstitutional, thereby sending the bill back to the House of Representatives to fix the offending Constitutional violation, funding unlawful executive amnesty. A yes vote was a vote to declare Obama’s amnesty unconstitutional.
  • The 6 NO votes by Kelly Ayotte:

  • $1 Billion Spending Cut on funding for the Rural Development Agency
  • This amendment proposed would extend Fourth Amendment guarantees to electronic communications and requires specific warrants granted from specialized intelligence courts in order to obtain this information.
  • Balance Budget in 5 years
  • Reduce Foreign Aid to Hostile Countries
  • A motion to strip a provision expanding existing national parks, creating 8 new parks, designating 245,000 acres as federal wilderness, and removing another 299,000 acres from natural resource production.
  • The Cruz point of order to the FY 2015 “Cromnibus” bill would have declared this action unconstitutional, thereby sending the bill back to the House of Representatives to fix the offending Constitutional violation, funding unlawful executive amnesty. A yes vote was a vote to declare Obama’s amnesty unconstitutional.
  • If anyone has the ear of local Republican party officials in Missouri or North Dakota, then they should provide them with these details. If you are a single issue pro life voter, then Roy Blunt is with you. If you are a single issue increase natural gas and oil pipelines voter, then John Hoeven is with you. Other than that those two are not with conservatives.

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