With the 2023 Virginia General Assembly session concluded, we can now look at statistics in a variety of areas, including “Party Unity in Floor Votes,” courtesy of VPAP. See below for the party unity distributions for House Democrats, Senate Democrats, House Republicans and Senate Republicans. Also, see below the graphics for a few examples of specific/detailed things that jumped out at me…including some surprises.
But first, see below for a few top-line numbers/takeaways. As you look through these statistics, keep in mind that these are just FLOOR votes, so by definition these are bills that made it out of committees, where a HUGE amount of the important action happens. That includes the vast majority of extreme Republican bills in the 2023 session being killed by Senate Democrats…meaning that very few if any really bad bills ever made it to the Senate floor. In fact, according to VPAP’s analysis, of the 2,200 bills introduced in the 2023 General Assembly session, 1,297 were killed – and of those, the vast majority (1,095) were killed in committee*. This means that most bills that made it to the House or Senate floor were non-controversial or minimally controversial. Given that, it’s arguably MUCH more reflective of what actually happened in the session – and how to rate legislators’ performance – to analyze what went on in committees than on the floor, as Cindy does in her VAPLAN scorecard).
With that intro, here are some top-line takeaways.
- Only two House Democrats out of 48 scored below 80% when it comes to “Party Unity in Floor Votes.” The lowest score was by Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler (72.9%), followed by Del. Cia Price (77.6%), then Del. Marcus Simon (82.4%) and Del. Sam Rasoul (83.8%). The highest unity score was by Del. Dawn Adams (96.7%), followed by first-term Del. Holly Seibold (96.5%), Del. Irene Shin (96.1%), Del. Alfonso Lopez (96.0%), Del. Charniele Herring (96.0%), Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (95.6%), Del. Rodney Willett (95.2%), Del. Elizabeth Bennett-Parker (95.2%), Del. Mike Mullin (94.6%), Del. Luke Torian (94.5%) and Del. Cliff Hayes (94.0%).
- Only three Senate Democrats out of 22 scored below 80% when it coms to “Party Unity in Floor Votes.” Those three were Sen. Creigh Deeds (74.6%), Sen. Scott Surovell (77.1%) and Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Mamie Locke (78.3%). At the top of the “unity” scores were Sen. George Barker (97.5%), Sen. Barbara Favola (95.0%), Sen. Janet Howell (94.2%), Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (94.1%), Sen. Dave Marsden (93.3%) and Sen. John Bell (92.4%).
- Only six House Republicans out of 52 scored below 80% when it comes to “Party Unity in Floor Votes.” The lowest score was by right-wing Del. Nick Freitas (R), who was at just 59.4%, followed by Del. Phillip Scott at 67.2%, insurrectionist Del. John McGuire at 72.5%, far-right-extremist Del. Dave LaRock at 77.5%, hard-core right winger Del. Marie March at 79.4% and Del. Matt Fariss (who is facing felony charges) at 79.4%. Speaker Gilbert scored 92.2%, while Majority Leader Terry Kilgore scored 94.9%.
- Only three Senate Republicans out of 18 scored below 80% when it comes to “Party Unity in Floor Votes.” The lowest score BY FAR was by far-right/insurrectionist Sen. Amanda Chase (53.8%), followed by Sen. Dave Suetterlein (74.9%) and Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant (79.4%). Scoring at the top was Sen. Frank Ruff (94.2%), followed by Sen. Bryce Reeves (93.0%), Sen. Steve Newman 90.4%), etc. Minority Leader Sen. Tommy Norment clocked in at a score of 88.0% “Party Unity in Floor Votes.”
- To compare to last year’s VPAP “party unity on floor votes” scores, click here.
- Senators Scott Surovell and Joe Morrissey, both attorneys, scored at just 64.6% and 67.3%, respectively, on party unity in floor votes strictly for Courts issues.
- On energy issues, Republican Del. Lee Ware was a wild outlier, with just 33.3% party unity on floor votes. The vast majority of his Republican colleagues were at 83.3% or 100% floor-vote party unity on energy issues.
- On business/commerce issues, far-right Del. Nick Freitas (R) was at just 42.3% party unity on floor votes, while the majority of his House of Delegates Republican colleagues were over 90%. Freitas also was at just 36.0% party unity on natural resource issues, 60.0% on health care issues, 41.4% on taxation issues,
- On education issues, far-right Del. Marie March (R) was at just 65.4% party unity on floor votes, while the majority of her House of Delegates Republican colleagues were over 90%.
- Republican Sen. Emmett Hanger, a relatively moderate Republican who’s probably going to be retiring (although it’s still possible he’ll try to run for reelection), scored just 55.6% party unity on floor votes when it comes to courts issues, 40.0% on consumer issues, 30.8% on transportation issues, 61.5% on natural resource issues, 23.1% on elections, etc.
What jumped out at you? This was just a quick/cursory look at the statistics; I’m sure there’s a LOT more interesting information in there!