The American Conservative Union is out with new scores for various state legislatures around the country. Conservatives should be quite pleased with North Carolina: our State Senate averaged a conservatism score of 71%, and our State House scored 62%. Legislatures in our neighboring states of Virginia and South Carolina received much lower rankings. (On the other hand, our legislature is full of granola-eating liberals compared to Tennessee.)
A number of legislators – all Republicans, of course – received a perfect score. In the Senate, those were: Kathy Harrington, Joyce Krawiec, Mike Lee, Buck Newton (running for Attorney General), and Dan Soucek (retiring). 100% conservatives in the House: Marilyn Avila, Mark Brody, and Jonathan Jordan.
Then there are the legislators who scored a big fat 0. All Democrats of course, and all in the State House: Shelly Willingham, Darren Jackson, Paul Luebke, and Robert Reives. In the more conservative Senate, Democrats were more conservative as well, with none scoring a 0. The lowest scoring was Val Foushee, who received a score of 11%.
In the Senate, the lowest scoring (most moderate) Republican was Fletcher Hartsell, who scored 56%. No wonder he found himself in a competitive primary contest. With Hartsell out, his successor is likely to be much more of a conservative – or less willing to be bipartisan, depending on which description you prefer.
The highest scoring Democrat was Ben Clark, who represents a majority black district based around Fayetteville. He scored a 78%, an eye-popping number from a Democrat. Not surprisingly, he’s also facing a primary.
In the House, the lowest scoring Republican was Charles Jeter, who frequently is the lone GOP vote against numerous bills. Like him or not, Jeter’s moderate record makes him the only possible Republican who can get reelected in his Democratic-leaning seat.
And the highest scoring Democrat, not surprisingly, was William Brisson, one of the last of a dying breed of yellow dog conservative Democrats. Brisson’s seat is the GOP’s for the taking once he leaves. Heck, he’s practically a Republican already.
The new ratings can be found here. Expect primary challengers, especially on the GOP side, to cite these numbers as they move forward with their campaigns.
John Wynne is the “conservative voice” at PoliticsNC, where he also provides polling analysis and commentary on legislative campaigns. When not writing about politics, he enjoys gardening and listening to opera. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.