National Conservative Group Rates Lawmakers on 2019 Votes

    As the 2020 Maryland General Assembly session kicked off this week, a leading national conservative group issued an exhaustive report card on lawmakers’ votes in 2019.

    The American Conservative Union Foundation took 37 state Senate votes from 2019 and 40 House votes to grade the legislature’s 188 members. The recorded votes covered everything from taxes to wages to business licenses to regulations, from same-day voter registration to gun laws to tuition benefits for immigrants to “the socialization of childcare.”

    Not surprisingly, in a legislature dominated by Democrats, the grades were pretty low.

    For the Senate, the overall average grade was 25%. For Republicans, the average was 62%. For Democrats, the average was 7%.

    Sen. Justin Ready (R-Carroll) rang up the highest score in the Senate, 76%. The highest Democrat was Baltimore County Sen. Katherine A. Klausmeier (19%). The lowest Republican was Baltimore County Sen. Christopher R. West, at 40%. The lowest score overall belonged to Sen. Benjamin F. Kramer (D-Montgomery), who was rated at 3%. Twenty-seven of the Senate’s 33 Democrats were branded part of the “Coalition of the Radical Left,” meaning they racked up scores below 10%.

    The American Conservative Union Foundation found more to like in the House of Delegates. The overall House average score was 31%. Republicans averaged 85% while Democrats averaged 7%.

    Eighteen of the GOP’s 43 delegates were given ACU’s “award for conservative excellence,” meaning they carried scores of between 90% and 100%. Del. Robert B. Long (R-Baltimore County) had the highest score, 97%. Fourteen more Republican legislators won the “award for conservative achievement,” meaning they scored between 80% and 89%.

    The lowest-scoring Republican delegate was Del. Seth A. Howard of Anne Arundel County, who voted with the ACU 63% of the time. The highest ranking Democrats were Del. Brian Crosby of St. Mary’s County and former Del. Eric Bromwell of Baltimore County, who scored 19%. Bromwell resigned in September to take a job with the Baltimore County government.

    Eighty-seven of the chamber’s 99 Democrats were dubbed part of the “coalition of the radical left,” meaning their scores were less than 10%. Freshman Del. Nick Charles (D-Prince George’s) was the only lawmaker to get a zero on the ACU scorecard.

    “The Left has renewed its commitment to advance socialism in their zeal to fundamentally transform America,” American Conservative Union Foundation Chairman Matt Schlapp said in a missive accompanying the report card. “With such an important fight ahead, it’s never been more important for our elected officials to understand the proper role of government and for Americans to defend our conservative
    values and take action to preserve liberty.”

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    Josh Kurtz
    Founding Editor Josh Kurtz is a veteran chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He was an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, for eight years, and for eight years was the editor of E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill. For 6 1/2 years Kurtz wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz regularly gives speeches and appears on TV and radio shows to discuss Maryland politics.