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Political Notes: A new scorecard, GOP claims vindication in poll, and Perez’s new post

A view of the Maryland State House from Maryland Avenue. Photo by Danielle E. Gaines.

Congressional scorecards are a dime a dozen — though some can be more influential than others.

For decades, the annual scorecard from the American Conservative Union has been considered a top barometer for conservatives to monitor the votes of their representatives in Congress. Now the ACU, which organizes the annual, high-profile CPAC conference and has been hit by internal strife over the past several months, has some company.

A new entity known as the Institute for Legislative Analysis (ILA), set up by some ACU veterans, has just released its first congressional scorecard for 2022. The ILA intends to serve as a data and policy hub for right-of-center organizations, enabling other national advocacy groups to utilize ILA’s research platform to construct their own scorecards, helping the groups more effectively lobby lawmakers and deploy their activists.

The ILA will also tally votes in state legislatures, providing “liberty-minded groups with countless new evaluative tools including category scores for lawmakers and state-based rankings,” the ILA said in a news release. That data hasn’t been released yet.

In contrast to many interest groups, which use perhaps a dozen or so key votes to construct their congressional or legislative report cards, the ILA used over 70 votes to grade members of the U.S. House of Representatives for its first report card, and more than 40 votes for the U.S. Senate.

It will surprise no one to learn that U.S. Rep. Andy Harris (R-1st), Maryland’s only Republican in Congress, did very well in the ILA’s report card, and that the state’s nine congressional Democrats did not. But seeing where the Democrats shook out is nonetheless interesting.

Harris, a member of the arch-conservative Freedom Caucus, had the 21st best voting record in Congress during 2022, according to the ILA’s scorecard. The rest of the delegation shaped up this way:

  • Rep. David Trone (D-6th), in an eight-way tie for 291st best voting record
  • Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-5th), in a nine-way tie for 306th best voting record
  • Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-2nd), in a 20-way tie for 321st best voting record
  • Former Rep. Anthony Brown (D-4th), now the state attorney general, and Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-7th), in an eight-way tie for 430th best voting record
  • Rep. John Sarbanes (D-3rd) and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-8th), in a 27-way tie for 438th best voting reord
  • Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D), 465th best voting record
  • Sen. Ben Cardin (D), in an 11-way tie for 472nd best voting record

House GOP claims vindication in poll

Republicans in the Maryland House of Delegates say a recent poll shows their views on some policies are more in line with voters than those offered by Democrats.

The poll released by Annapolis-based Gonzales Research & Media Service claims a vast majority of those surveyed support making the possession of a stolen handgun a felony and oppose ending gas-powered vehicle sales in 12 years.

Republicans opposed the move to end gas-powered cars. They made increasing the penalties on stolen firearms one of their session priorities.

House Minority Leader Jason Buckel (R-Allegany). File hoto by Danielle E. Gaines.

House Minority Leader Del. Jason Buckel (R-Allegany) said the poll should be a caution to Gov. Wes Moore (D) and Democratic lawmakers.

Buckel offered a partisan take on how those decisions may have affected Moore’s job approval rating in the poll.

“We are in a historically Democratic state where their party controls not only the Governor’s mansion but both chambers of the legislature and voter registration runs at least 2-1 in their favor, and yet they have only garnered a 55% approval rating during the honeymoon phase of their term,” said Buckel. “The Moore Administration needs to focus on policies that work for all Marylanders, not just the radical wing of the modern Democratic Party.”

Moore’s initial job approval rating is below the stratospheric numbers enjoyed by Moore’s predecessor Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.

But Pollster Patrick Gonzales said Monday that Moore’s numbers are nothing of which to be ashamed. Moore’s 55% approval was 28 points higher than those who told Gonzales they disapproved.

“It was possible for Larry Hogan to capture the imagination of the number of Democrats he did because of just the political environment,” said Gonzales. “It is not possible in today’s environment for a Democrat to capture the percentage of Republicans necessary to get Wes Moore even with Larry Hogan. Overall, I’m kind of impressed with his approval number.”

It’s worth noting that Gonzales poll shows about the same spread between those who approve and disapprove of Moore’s performance as a Goucher College poll released in May.

“Being plus 27, effectively, looking at the approval minus disapproval, is a good place to be four months into office,” Mileah Kromer, a professor of political science and director of the Goucher College poll, said in May.

Perez back on Capitol Hill

Former Maryland gubernatorial candidate Tom Perez will join President Joe Biden’s administration as a senior advisor to lead the office of intergovernmental affairs.

Perez, a former U.S. and state labor secretary and chair of the Democratic National Committee, will replace Julie Chávez Rodriguez, who will serve as Biden’s manager for his reelection campaign and is the granddaughter of the late labor leader Cesar Chávez.

As for Perez, he will work with state, county and local government officials. He’ll also work on various labor projects and immigration topics. Perez also serves as an assistant attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice.

“He brings decades of experience to my team, having served in local, state and federal government,” according to a statement from the White House. “His perspective and relationships as a former county councilman, a top civil rights attorney, and Secretary of Labor will be invaluable as we implement our Invest in America agenda and continue to make our government work for the people and for communities across the country. I’ve known Tom for years and I look forward to working together again.”


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Political Notes: A new scorecard, GOP claims vindication in poll, and Perez’s new post