Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) is a grassroots organization that has been heavily involved with progress causes since its founding in the 1940’s. In addition to is grassroots action, the scorecard ADA releases every year based on crucial votes in Congress has also become something that’s really examined by leaders on both sides of the aisle to see were certain legislators fall. Especially when you consider that many people who were in Virginia’s Congressional delegation in 2010, I was especially anxious to see the scores and analysis that were just released.
Considering how the Tea Party has gained a significant amount of power in the Republican, it shouldn’t be too surprising that the average score of Republicans in the House were even lower this year than in 2009. Virginia’s Republicans had extremely low scores, but were only slightly below the national average for Republicans in the House – 5%. This is because while Eric Cantor and Bob Goodlatte scored a zero, Randy Forbes and Rob Wittman scored a 5%, and Frank Wolf scored a 10%.
As far as Virginia’s Democratic House delegation in 2010, the overall average was 77%. Among those who are left in 2011, the average was a 95%. Here’s how the individual members scored:
Rick Boucher 55%
Gerry Connolly 85%
Jim Moran 100%
Glenn Nye 45%
Tom Perriello 75%
Bobby Scott 100%
On the Senate side of things, Webb scored 85% and Warner scored an 80%.
It’s worth noting here that the three who scored the lowest (Nye, Boucher, and Perriello) are the ones who lost their seats during the 2010 elections. While Perriello actually scored 5 points better than he did during 2009, both Boucher and Nye scored significantly worse. What this shows is that even when Republicans are making grounds, it doesn’t make electoral sense for Democrats to bail on their values just because it’s a tough political situation. In fact, you could argue that it’s actually the Democrats that stand their ground who are rewarded by the voters.
With that in mind, these scores could also give us a glimpse into some of the people who could potentially run for Webb’s seat in 2012. In a sign that many of his votes might have been to appease the Tea Party activists who were working heavily against him, Perriello received a low score primarily because he voted in favor of big business instead of regulations that would benefit the working class. He voted against legislation that would better regulate Wall Street (HR 4173), one that would remove the $75 million liability cap on marine oil spills (HR 3534), and one that would allow the FDA to directly recall tainted products, rather than rely on manufacturers’ voluntary cooperation (HR 2751). These votes will not sit well with the volunteers who knock on doors for Democratic candidates and will be hard to explain to potential donors.
Bobby Scott, who has also been gaining momentum as a potential candidate, on the other hand, proved to have a very progressive voting record. Although he represents a district that is designed to elect a Democrat, it’s also worth noting that he received over 70% of the vote in a year where Republicans made sweeping gains. His total was even about 10 points higher than Jim Moran, who represents a district that many consider the most progressive in Virginia. What this means is that he has a voting record that could inspire the Democratic base and knows how to run a good campaign.
UPDATE: To give you a glimpse of the national glimpse, here’s a “snapshot” that ADA put out along with the report.