ACU legislator ratings: TN Senate more conservative than House

The American Conservative Union Foundation has produced its rating of Tennessee legislators for 2017, giving the state Senate an overall average score of 86 and the House an average of 70 percent in voting the way the group wanted on selected issues.

The average for Republicans in the Senate was 91 percent; for Democrats 57 percent. In the House, Republicans averaged 82 percent; Democrats 34 percent. One could thus draw the not-too-surprising inference that the Senate is notably more divided on a partisan basis than the House — and overall more conservative.

Highest rated Republicans in the Senate (100 percent) were Sens. Paul Bailey of Sparta, Delores Gresham of Somerville, Brian Kelsey of Germantown and John Stevens of Huntington. The lowest rated Republican was Sen. Steve Dickerson of Nashville at 78 percent. (Note: That was up from his 2016 rating of 73 percent, while running for reelection – post at the time, HERE.)

The highest rated Senate Democrat was Sen. Thelma Harper of Nashville at 79 percent. The lowest rated Democrat was Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris of Memphis at 44 percent. (Note: The Tennessean did a story focused on Harper being rated more conservative than Dickerson, HERE.)

In the House, no legislator achieved 100 percent perfection under the ACU’s criteria. Only two Republicans were deemed deserving of the ACU’s “award for conservative excellence” – requiring a score of higher than 90 percent. Top rating went to Rep. Bud Hulsey of Kingsport (92 percent), edging out Rep. Ron Lollar of Bartlett (91 percent).

Lowest rated Republican was Rep. Kelly Keisling of Byrdstown, pegged with going along with the ACU agenda just 72 percent of the time. He barely edges Reps. Mike Sparks of Smyrna and Dan Howell of Georgetown, both at 73.

Top House Democrat from the ACU perspective: Rep. John DeBerry of Memphis, given a 71 percent rating and thus barely behind Keisling. The ideologically-abhorrent legislator, from the ACU perspective, was Democratic Rep. Harold Love Jr. of Nashville, who scored just 18 percent.

Note: The overall ACU ratings list for 2017, with some explanation of how it was done, is HERE. The vote rating criteria used by ACU are perhaps somewhat curious. For one example, the House vote on an amendment to gut Gov. Bill Haslam’s gas tax bill (the IMPROVE Act) is included as a ACU-supported good vote while the vote approving the overall bill – following rejection of that amendment – is not mentioned as either good or bad.

2 Responses to ACU legislator ratings: TN Senate more conservative than House

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    Stuart I. Anderson says:

    For conservatives in the Sixth Congressional District interested in sending a PROVEN conservative to congress please note that the American Conservative Union gives Judd Matheny a lifetime score of 88 while John Rose hasn’t spent a minute in elective office but is apparently very well thought of by the Republican establishment, especially Bill Haslam.

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    Steve L. says:

    Not sure I am impressed with ACU rankings calculations. How Senator Briggs can rank so high but is for in-state tuition for illegal immigrants is confusing. His rationale for that position points to his likely support for a DACA amnesty package. Both of those positions imply a great deal of progressive ideology in his legislative politics. And the voter audit by the Trump administration was roundly rejected by Briggs and Bill Dunn on the behalf of Tennesseans. I contacted them several times to no avail. So I am just not sure about the ACU. Perhaps it is a RINO group certifying other RINO’s. Do they have ratings for Flake, McCain, and the like?

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