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How liberal/conservative is YOUR lawmaker?

By Josh Richman
Thursday, February 6th, 2014 at 10:01 am in U.S. House, U.S. Senate.

Here’s how Northern California’s Congressional delegation stacks up in the National Journal’s annual ranking of most liberal/most conservative lawmakers, published today. Seeing as how we’re in the Bay Area, we’ll use the “most liberal” scale; some members are tied, hence the same numbers.

In fact, of seven House members across the nation who tied for 1st place in the “most liberal” ranking, three are from the Bay Area:

HOUSE
1. Sam Farr, D-Santa Cruz
1. Mike Honda, D-San Jose
1. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael
28. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland
31. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento
44. Mike Thompson, D-Napa
48. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto
49. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo
63. George Miller, D-Martinez
66. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco
86. Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton
99. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose
152. John Garamendi, D-Fairfield
171. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton
178. Ami Bera, D-Rancho Cordova
187. Jim Costa, D-Fresno
222. David Valadao, R-Hanford
223. Jeff Denham, R-Modesto
256. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia
328. Tom McClintock, R-Granite Bay
386. Doug LaMalfa, R-Oroville

SENATE
16. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.
22. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

On the methodology: For the 2013 ratings, National Journal examined all of the roll-call votes in the first session of the 113th Congress—641 in the House and 291 in the Senate—and identified the ones that show ideological distinctions between members. Many votes did not make the cut—those that involve noncontroversial issues or that fall along regional lines, for instance. In the end, 117 votes in the Senate and 111 votes in the House were selected and were categorized as economic, foreign, or social.

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  • Willis James

    Good God, when you see Barbara Lee at #28, it makes you wonder what it took for Mike Honda to get to #1

    How marketable to Republicans and independents will he be in November?
    Seems to leave Khanna a much wider swath of voters to appeal to.
    Look at the South Bay. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose who comes in at #99.

    Everyone says Mike Honda is a nice guy.
    He’d better be really nice to overcome his rather extreme ranking.

    I’m wondering what the percentage breakdown of independents and Republicans is in the district.

    Interesting that fellow #1 Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, came out publicly last year and said Khanna shouldn’t run against Honda.

    Headline from last April in local paper—
    “Jared Huffman rips Ro Khanna bid in South Bay”

    Seemed to think that no one should challenge a incumbent. But for goofy Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma retiring, Huffman would still be cooling his heals while playing the waiting game.

  • http://www.ibabuzz.com/politics Josh Richman

    As of one year ago (the most recent statistics available from the Secretary of State’s office), CA17 was registered 44.44 percent Democrat, 18.87 percent Republican and 31.52 percent no party preference. That’s the highest percentage of nonpartisan voters of any congressional district in California.

  • Willis James

    Thanks for the details Josh.

    Here is the difficult path for a Honda victory in November. He needs to get the following

    70% of the Democrats

    40% of the No Party Preference

    20% of the Republicans

    50% of the rest of the voters

    If he can do that, he gets 51% of the vote.

    However we know that some groups turn out in higher and lower levels on election day.

    I believe that difference would mean that the 51% victory, turns into a defeat.

    My guess is that Republicans turn out at a higher rate. Not sure of past history, but this year won’t have many big draws for turn out. The Gov race will be non-competitive.
    No senators up for election. Most important, no presidential race.
    One exception. A large draw, similar to 2008. Indian Americans will turn out in huge numbers and regardless of party affiliation, and will vote for Khanna.

    Will uninterested Democrats turn out?
    Can Honda get 70% of Democrats?

    Why are there so many “independents” in the district? Perhaps the huge, relatively new ethnic groups, are far less loyal to parties, often being from the first generation to arrive.

    Thank you Abel Maldonado; we have a real election.

  • http://www.ibabuzz.com/politics Josh Richman

    Here’s a story I wrote in 2012 about Cupertino, the state’s most nonpartisan city. Cupertino falls in CA17, and the story discusses connections between its nonpartisan streak and its heavy Asian-American presence; CA17 is the first majority Asian-American district in the lower 48.
    http://www.mercurynews.com/top-stories/ci_21504283/cupertino-most-nonpartisan-city-california

  • Elwood

    Three questions:

    1. How accurate is this method? Bobbie Lee #28? George Miller #63? Puleez!

    2. How many people will ever see this listing?

    3. How many of those actually give a ****?

  • http://bit.ly/Swalwell2014 DanvilleDemocrat

    Memo to any Ellen Corbett supporters: Congressman Eric Swalwell boasts a more liberal voting record than Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz . . . who also is chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

    Clearly, the #TrueProgressive — to borrow Ellen’s silly hashtag — is the incumbent.

  • Marga

    Khanna still needs to make it past June. To me it’s not completely clear that he will, with Singh taking the Republican vote and splitting the Indian-American vote.

    If he does, things get really interesting. The only poll numbers we’ve seen have Honda getting about 50% of the vote. Honda touted those numbers when they came out, because Ro only had 15%, but Ro’s numbers reflect the lack of name recognition he has in the district. In reality, nobody but political junkies start paying attention to a non-presidential election until March or April, so Ro’s numbers don’t mean much. But I would imagine that you would expect an incumbent’s numbers to be higher than 50%. That, Josh, is what you need to check with the experts.

    50% doesn’t give Honda much of a margin of error, and it might explain why he’s already made this campaign about Khanna’s potential flaws rather than about his own strengths – something you don’t expect to see from an incumbent.

    Finally, I’m not sure why it matters that CD17 be a majority-Asian district. The majority of people eligible to vote are still white, and whites votes at a significantly higher rate than Asians – though turnout in Santa Clara county is so high that that may not make as much of a difference as elsewhere. Republicans/Democrats vote about the same, with declines to state about 10 points lower.

  • JohnW

    I know boundaries have changed due to redistricting, but isn’t this the district that, in past years, elected Republicans like Pete McCloskey and Tom Campbell and ex-Republican Leon Panetta?

  • JohnW

    Yesterday’s (2/6/14) New York Times had a front page story on RoK and all the support he is getting from the tech industry movers and shakers.

  • RRSenileColumnist

    Bay Area Dems–the nicest throwbacks to the ’60s you’ll ever meet.