Home Abigail Spanberger How Much of a Progressive “Punch” Does Virginia’s U.S. House Delegation Pack?

How Much of a Progressive “Punch” Does Virginia’s U.S. House Delegation Pack?

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It’s been a while since I’ve checked Progressive Punch’s Congressional scores, but the other day I was curious about Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s scores (for the record, she ranks as the 146th-most-progressive member of the U.S. House, with an “F” progressive score relative to “District Tilt”), so I was poking around in there. Also, now that Virginia’s freshmen members of Congress – Elaine Luria (D-VA02), Denver Riggleman (R-VA05), Ben Cline (R-VA06), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA07) and Jennifer Wexton (D-VA10) – have been there for almost ten months, they have enough votes to make their scores meaningful. So it’s probably not a bad time to look at their numbers. With that, here are the Progressive Punch scores for the entire Virginia U.S. House delegation, with some commentary on each.

VA-01/Rob Wittman (R): For a guy who loves pretending (absurdly) to be some sort of moderate, Wittman’s voting record definitely doesn’t at all reflect that. Instead, Wittman ranks #294 most progressive in the U.S. House, clocking in at a pathetic 2.70% progressive votes in this Congress, and just 4.28% progressive “Crucial Votes” lifetime. For the record, Wittman the supposed “moderate” ranks even worse than such right-wingnut luminaries as the odious Louie Gohmert (#266), Paul Gosar (#263), Jim Jordan (#281), Mark Meadows (#268), etc. Oh, and Wittman gets an “F” in terms of his progressive voting score relative to the “District Tilt” of VA01, with a voting score that’s a massive 66 points less progressive than the district’s political composition would indicate. In other words, whatever the hell Wittman’s actually doing in Congress, it most certainly is *not* representing how the majority of his district wants him to vote.

VA-02/Elaine Luria (D; first elected in November 2018): Luria has a reputation for being a relatively conservative Democrat, and her Progressive Punch scores jibe with that. Thus, Luria ranks as the #222th-most-progressive member of the U.S. House, ahead of just a handful of other Democrats. On the other hand, according to Progressive Punch, Luria has voted 88.47% of the time with the progressive position, which seems pretty solid to me. On yet *another* hand (how many hands do we have here, anyway? LOL), Luria only scores 40% when it comes to her votes on “Crucial” bills. And finally, Luria is about 37 points below the “District Tilt” of VA02, giving her an “F” grade from Progressive Punch. So…for anyone who (laughably) claims that Luria is a “puppet of Pelosi” or a “far-left liberal” or whatever, basically they’re completely full of it. In fact, Luria is a relatively “moderate” or even conservative Democrat, at least based on her Progressive Punch scores.

VA-03/Bobby Scott (D): Scott has a reputation of being a strong, progressive Democrat, and the Progressive Punch scores certainly bear that out. In fact, according to Progressive Punch, Scott is the most progressive member of Virginia’s U.S. House delegation, ranking #89 overall in the U.S. House, with a 92.24% lifetime progressive voting record and a “C” score (I’d give him an “A” or “B”) relative to his strongly Democratic “District Tilt.” Nice job!

VA-04/Donald McEachin (D): McEachin ranks third-most progressive in Virginia’s U.S. House delegation, with an overall Progressive Punch ranking of #128 in the U.S. House and a 95.35% lifetime progressive score. I must say, I’m kind of scratching my head as to how McEachin can get an “F” relative to his “District Tilt,” especially given that Hillary Clinton won VA-04 by a 10-point smaller margin than she won VA-03. Got me on that one; I’d give him an “A” or “B” grade, including for his leadership on climate and other issues.

VA-05/Denver Riggleman (R – first elected in November 2018): Riggleman’s a real piece of work. I mean, this is a guy who pretends to have a “libertarian” streak (whatever that means exactly), and likes to pose as relatively reasonable and level-headed (note: if you listen to him on right-wing talk radio, you can hear his inner extremist come out and roar!), yet his Progressive Punch scores are horrendously bad. Let’s go to the scorecard, which shows Riggleman at #354 in the entire U.S. House, and the furthest right of anyone – including his godawful Republican colleagues Ben Cline, Morgan Griffith and Rob Wittman – in Virginia’s U.S. House delegation. Riggleman has voted progressive just 6.20% of the time during his not-so-illustrious Congressional career, with a pathetically bad 2.22% “Crucial Votes” percentage. And finally, Riggleman scores 68 points lower than you’d expect given VA-05’s “District Tilt,” giving him a well-deserved “F” score. In 2020, we really need to replace this guy with a Democrat.

VA-06/Ben Cline (R – first elected in November 2018): Cline’s Progressive Punch scores are about as horrendous as I thought they’d be, given his hard-right rhetoric and actions. Thus, Progressive Punch has Cline #290 overall in the U.S. House, with just a 3.22% overall lifetime progressive voting score and an “F” rating (66 points below where you’d expect him) relative to “District Tilt.” In other words, if you thought Cline’s predecessor Bob Goodlatte (or “Badlatte” as I call him) was awful, Cline’s no improvement, except that he has a lot less power than “Badlatte” had to do…well, bad.

VA-07/Abigail Spanberger (D – first elected in November 2018): Spanberger is a “Blue Dog Democrat” with a reputation for being relatively conservative, and her Progressive Punch scores mostly bear that out. On the positive side, Spanberger mostly votes the right way – 89.78% in the progressive direction, although just 35.56% on “Crucial Votes.” Relative to her purplish district, Spanberger is about 41 percentage points less progressive, which gives her an “F” from Progressive Punch (which I’d argue is a ridiculous grade; I’d give her a “B” or “C” at worst). Personally, I’d focus on the nearly 90% voting in the progressive direction, although the 36% on “Crucial Votes” is somewhat concerning. Still, Spanberger is very impressive in many ways, and of course INFINITELY better than having a Republican like Dave Brat misrepresenting the district. Which is why we definitely need to reelect Spanberger, “Blue Dog” that she is, in 2020!

VA-08/Don Beyer (D): Beyer ranks as the 99th-most-progressive overall in the House and as the third-most-progressive member of Virginia’s U.S. House delegation (behind Bobby Scott and Donald McEachin), with a lifetime 95.93% voting in the progressive direction, and 84.12% on “Crucial Votes.” Relative to the very Democratic “District Tilt” of VA-08, Progressive Punch gives Beyer a “C” grade, which again I’d seriously question (as too low).

VA-09/Morgan Griffith (R): Griffith acts like a far-right wingnut, and Progressive Punch’s scores (ranks #241 in the House; votes progressive just 7.6% of the time; 55 percentage points below “District Tilt” and a well-deserved “F” grade) certainly indicate that to be the case. I’d say we need to get him outta there in November 2020, except that VA-09 is one of the most “Trumpy” in the country. So, sadly, this embarrassment to Virginia is likely to be in Congress as long as he wants. Ugh.

VA-10/Jennifer Wexton (D – first elected in November 2018): Wexton represents a blue-leaning district, and her voting record mostly reflects that. According to Progressive Punch, Wexton ranks #148 in the House overall, having voted progressive 97% of the time overall, and 76% on “Crucial Votes.” Yet again, I don’t agree with Progressive Punch’s “F” grade relative to “District Tilt,” as it seems like Wexton’s actually voting about as you’d expect a Democratic representative to vote in VA-10.

VA-11/Gerry Connolly (D): Connolly ranks ahead of Reps. Luria and Spanberger in the Virginia delegation, and #163 overall in the U.S. House, with a lifetime progressive voting percentage of 91.26% (and 71.68% on “Crucial Votes”). According to Progressive Punch, Connolly votes about 12 percentage points less progressive than his “District Tilt” would indicate, giving him an “F” grade, which again I think is not an accurate reflection of Connolly’s generally strong performance in Congress.