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Politics & Policy

Who’s Tops at Club for Growth?

The only senator to score a perfect 100 percent on the Club for Growth’s 2014 scorecard, which tracks how members vote on free-market legislation, is no longer a senator: that’s Oklahoma’s Tom Coburn, who retired last year and was replaced in January by James Lankford. In the House, eight congressmen emerged with 100 percent ratings: Michigan’s Justin Amash, California’s Tom McClintock, Kansas’s Tim Huelskamp and Mike Pompeo, New Jersey’s Scott Garrett, Ohio’s Jim Jordan, South Carolina’s Jeff Duncan, and Oklahoma’s James Lankford, now a member of the upper chamber. 

The scorecards were released Monday morning. Why do they matter? They suggest who’s in the Club’s good graces, and that matters. As we’ve reported, the Club has, since its founding in 1999, become the premier and predominant outside group on the right. It has proven, generally speaking, that it has both the money and the discipline to mount serious challenges to incumbents and to steer clear of candidates who don’t have a chance to win. In doing so, it has made itself a part of the conservative establishment: Just over a week ago, nearly every prospective Republican presidential candidate showed up at the Club’s economic conference to woo its donors in Palm Beach, Florida. The scorecard is one tool donors use in assessing candidates. 

“2014’s Congressional Scorecard has few surprises,” Club for Growth president David McIntosh said in a statement. “In general, those who believe in economic freedom will be recognized for their consistency and those who do not, will not. In the Senate, Harry Reid’s decision to shut down the Senate meant an unusually small pool of votes related to economic issues. While some Senators’ scores may seem out of character for 2014, those who have a long-standing commitment to free markets and pro-growth policies still have lifetime scores over 90. Club members always look at someone’s entire record when evaluating their commitment to tax cuts, entitlement reform and limited government principles.”

Some interesting tidbits: 

  • The highest rated Democrat was Senator Tom Carper (DE) with a 24 percent. The lowest rated Republican was Senator Lisa Murkowski (AK) with a 27 percent.
  • Republican Leadership scores in 2014 were: Boehner (OH-08): N/A, McCarthy (CA-23): 43 percent, Scalise (LA-01): 82 percent; McMorris Rodgers (WA-05): 62 percent.
  • Democratic leadership scores in 2014 were: Pelosi (CA-12): 4 percent, Hoyer (MD-05): 2 percent, Clyburn (SC-06): 2 percent, Becerra (CA-34): 13 percent.
  • The highest scoring House Democrat, with a 50 percent, was Jim Matheson (UT-04), who scored higher than 56 Republicans. The three lowest Republican scores were Jon Runyan (NJ-03) 19 percent, Peter King (NY-02) 22 percent, and Chris Smith (NJ-04), 26 percent.

You can see the Senate and House scorecards here. 

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