WASHINGTON — Who has the most liberal voting record of the Minnesota Congressional delegation? The answer shouldn’t surprise you.
Rep. Keith Ellison, the co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, was not only the most liberal member of the Minnesota Congressional delegation in 2011 but is tied as the most liberal member of the whole House of Representatives, according to the National Journal’s annual Vote Ratings. He has a 93.3 “composite liberal score,” the same as 19 other Democrats and the highest in the House, according to the National Journal.
On the Republican side, John Kline is considered the most conservative member of the delegation, clocking in with a “composite conservative score” of 81.7. He was the 60th most conservative member of the House. Michele Bachmann, who had been the most conservative Minnesotan each of the last three years, finished with a score of 76.7 (which essentially means her voting record is more conservative than 76.7 percent of the House).
In the Senate, Sen. Al Franken was rated the 13th most liberal senator, with a score of 81.3. Amy Klobuchar finished with a score of 70.
The National Journal has been ranking Congressional partisanship for 30 years. They based this year’s rating on 105 House and 97 Senate votes considered to be especially partisan in nature.
Overall, the magazine found that Congress is staggeringly polarized right now, a conclusion that shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s paid attention to Congress this session. No senator of either party was deemed to have a voting record more conservative or liberal than a member of the opposite party, and only 16 House members had voting records between the most liberal Republican and the most conservative Democrat.
Among Minnesotans, there haven’t been any major swings toward either the right or left over the past five years. The average composite score for conservatives this year was 74.7, the lowest it’s been since 2008. Democrats averaged a score of 75.4, well in line with their scores going back to 2007.
Here are the liberal or conservative composite scores and their corresponding rankings, by party, for members of the Minnesota delegation:
Amy Klobuchar (D): 70.0 liberal score (34th most liberal)
Al Franken (D): 81.3 (13th)
Tim Walz (D): 64.3 (161st)
John Kline (R): 81.7 conservative score (60th most conservative)
Erik Paulsen (R): 76.3 (107th)
Betty McCollum (D): 85.8 (61st)
Keith Ellison (D): 93.3 (1st)
Michele Bachmann (R): 76.7 (101st)
Collin Peterson (D): 57.5 (183rd)
Chip Cravaack (R): 64.2 (170th)
Devin Henry can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @dhenry