Dayton v. Kennedy

Returning Senator Mark Dayton to the Ranks of the Idle Rich in 2006


Minnesota Congressional Scorecard (Poor Man's Version)

National Journal came out yesterday with their annual congressional rankings for House and Senate -- and TBFKADVK doesn't have a subscription. Donations are welcome.

Having said that, You're in the Right Place blog has assembled a scoring system of their own that aggregates several congressional scoring systems into one:

Shortly after the 2004 election cycle ended and the make-up of the new Congress was decided, I began to ponder a meaningful way to rate the various Senators and House Members. After searching for information about the voting records of the various members of Congress over the years, I found what seemed to me to be the three most cited sources for rating them: One on the right - The American Conservatives Union; one on the left - Americans for Democratic Action; and one independent - The National Journal. I next came up with a mathematical formula that combined the three into what I felt was a fair and accurate measure of a given politician's voting record.

The formula I used for computing the scores was as follows:

American Conservatives Union (ACU) Lifetime Rating [thru 2003] {see here}
[Note: It has since been updated to include 2004!]

+ National Journal Composite Conservative (NJCC) Score [2003 only] {see here; via Project Vote Smart}

- Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) Rating [2003 only] {see here and here}

Or, to express it more simply: (ACU + NJCC) - ADA = RPI*
[*the Right Place Index]

The higher the score, the more conservative a given member of Congress is.

The lower the score, the more liberal a given member of Congress is.

Large negative numbers are bad. Very bad. If a Senator or Representative should register a -70 or below on the scale (which means averaging 10/10/90 (ACU/NJCC/ADA) or worse), I would feel quite confident in labeling them as being on the left-wing fringe. Even -40 or below (averaging 20/20/80 or worse) is pretty far out there.

Democrats who are close to a 0 RPI (35/35/70) can actually be considered to be quite reasonable much of the time and are not to be disregarded as completely partisan liberal hacks. True moderates of either party would, by definition, be somewhere in the general area of a 50 RPI (50/50/50).

Any Republican managing a 110 or better (70/70/30) gets at least a passing grade as far as I am concerned, but let us be very careful about condemning those with lower grades. A moderate Republican is far, far better for the country than any liberal Democrat who might replace them if we on the right deign to punish them by sitting out an election to "teach them a lesson."

Furthermore, 140 and up (80/80/20) generally makes one a true conservative. Anyone with a 170 or higher (90/90/10) rates as a solid conservative on practically every issue.

So how did Minnesota fare? More significantly, how did Mark Kennedy and Gil Gutknecht fare? Both with commendable scores but for the record, that's Kennedy off your starboard bow...


176 (90/91/5) Mark Kennedy (R) MN-06
167 (84/88/5) John Kline (R) MN-02
146 (94/67/15) Gil Gutknecht (R) MN-01
146 (85/76/15) Norm Coleman (R) MN Sen 2008
95 (69/51/25) Jim Ramstad (R) MN-03
22 (45/47/70) Collin Peterson (D) MN-07
-51 (10/24/85) James Oberstar (D) MN-08
-54 (9/12/75) Mark Dayton (D) MN Sen 2006
-70 (5/20/95) Martin Olav Sabo (D) MN-05
-85 (7/8/100) Betty McCollum (D) MN-04


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