The Club for Growth, an outside group with a long history of supporting economically conservative candidates in primaries against more moderate candidates, released its assessment of the 2013 voting records of members of Congress yesterday. Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee top the upper chamber’s ranking, with 100 percent ratings, but other stop scorers may be more surprising: Texas senior senator John Cornyn got a 93 percent, tying him for eighth in the chamber of 100 — and he’s being challenged (and labeled “liberal John Cornyn”) by Republican congressman Steve Stockman, who placed 39th out of his chamber of 435, and got a rating of just 87 percent. (The scores are not precisely comparable since the House and Senate take different votes.)
Mike Enzi, the Wyoming senator whom former State Department official Liz Cheney challenged earlier this year (before she dropped out of the race) is also a top performer: He got a 94 percent, tying him for 4th in the Senate.
Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who’s facing a primary challenge from a Kentucky businessman, does fairly well: He’s the 14th best senator by the Club’s rankings, with an 87 percent this year.
Not all the GOP senators facing primary challenges have flattering scores: Six-term Mississippi senator Thad Cochran has a 56 percent, earning him 43rd place (his lifetime rating is a bit better), and South Carolina senator Lindsay Graham comes in 39th, with a 65 percent (his lifetime rating is also better).
Gary Peters, interestingly, the Democratic Michigan congressman running for the state’s empty Senate seat, is tied for the worst voting record in the whole House, at just 3 percent, as is Bruce Braley, who’s running for Senate in Iowa.
The Club’s scoring methodology is here — it tends to differ from Heritage Action, another conservative group that tries to hold incumbents to account, in that it emphasizes key policy-related votes over procedural and tactical issues (Heritage Action’s scores are thus a bit tougher and lower).