Home General Assembly How Do State Senate, House of Delegates Members’ 2024 VAPLAN Scores Match...

How Do State Senate, House of Delegates Members’ 2024 VAPLAN Scores Match Up To Their Districts’ Progressive “Leans?”

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Yesterday, Cindy/VAPLAN came out with her eagerly anticipated, annual progressive scorecard for all Virginia General Assembly members. As always, there is a TON of information to digest in all of this. Of course, as Cindy has pointed out, there are numerous caveats to these scores, for instance that members “have different opportunities to vote on various bills, by virtue of the committee assignments they have.” I’d also add that different members have different roles, with those in leadership, for instance, not necessarily working to optimize their OWN scores, but instead (or at least somewhat) focusing on racking up wins for the “team.” Regardless, Cindy/VAPLAN does amazing work, with the scorecard she produces every year being the most authoritative/definitive one out there for the Virginia legislature (also note: Cindy follows the Virginia General Assembly arguably closer than almost anyone else in Virginia, and maybe in the country when it comes to state legislatures).

With that, I wanted to compare the 2024 VAPLAN scores to district “leans,” along the lines of what Progressive Punch has been doing for years. Basically, the thinking is to try and measure how progressive a member’s voting record is compared to how progressive one would have expected that record to be, all else being equal, based on the progressive “lean” of each member’s district.

To measure the district’s “leans,” I took the 2017 margins in each district for Mark Herring. I used that metric because I wanted a relatively generic statewide race to compare things to, without a third-party candidate or strong “native son” effect (e.g., Northam in the Hampton Roads area). Also note that the redistricting “special masters” in their final memo on 12/7/21 used the 2017 Attorney General’s race to evaluate their newly drawn districts. Of course, 2017 was a strong “blue wave” election year, so one could argue that we should use another statewide election year, such as 2021 (which was a strong Republican year), but in the end, there’s simply no way to find the “perfect” comparison year, and regardless, all the members’ scores are *relative* to their district leans, and then ranked accordingly, so it might not make much of a difference anyway.

I then ranked the districts based on Mark Herring margins, giving an expected progressive rank, and compared those numbers to VAPLAN’s actual progressive rankings for each legislator. Finally, I produced the following graphics (click on them to enlarge), which show how much MORE or LESS progressive than one would expect – based on district lean – each member of the House of Delegates and State Senate ended up scoring in the 2023 General Assembly session.

With that, here are some highlights.

  • In the State Senate, 18 members scored less progressive than expected based on their districts’ “leans,” while 19 members scored more progressive than expected based on their districts’ “leans,” and 3 members (Republican Senators Tammy Mulchi and Danny Diggs; Democratic Senator Jeremy McPike) scored exactly as one would expect based on their districts’ 2017 AG race outcomes.
  • Among Senate Democrats, the members who voted less progressively than their districts’ progressive “leans” would imply are: Lamont Bagby (expected rank was 1, actual rank was 15, for a MINUS 14 score); Angelia Williams Graves (expected rank was 4, actual rank was 18, for a MINUS 14 score); Dave Marsden (expected rank was 9, actual rank was 21, for a MINUS 12 score); Adam Ebbin (expected rank was 2, actual rank was 12, for a MINUS 10 score); Mamie Locke (expected rank was 5, actual rank was 11, for a MINUS 6 score); Louise Lucas (expected rank was 11, actual rank was 16, for a MINUS 5 score); Scott Surovell (expected rank was 7, actual rank was 10, for a MINUS 3 score); Saddam Salim (expected rank was 6, actual rank was 9, for a MINUS 3 score); Barbara Favola (expected rank was 3, actual rank was 5, for a MINUS 2 score).
  • Among Senate Republicans, the members who voted less progressively than their districts’ progressive “leans” would imply are: Emily Jordan (expected rank was 21, actual rank was 34, for a MINUS 13 score); Bill DeSteph (expected rank was 26, actual rank was 39, for a MINUS 13 score); Christie New Craig (expected rank was 28, actual rank was 37, for a MINUS 9 score); John McGuire (expected rank was 35, actual rank was 40, for a MINUS 5 score); Glen Sturtevant (expected rank was 27, actual rank was 32, for a MINUS 5 score); Ryan McDougle (expected rank was 29, actual rank was 33, for a MINUS 4 score); Bryce Reeves (expected rank was 32, actual rank was 36, for a MINUS 4 score); Tara Durant (expected rank was 25, actual rank was 28, for a MINUS 3 score); Christopher Head (expected rank was 36, actual rank was 37, for a MINUS 1 score).
  • Among Senate Democrats, the members who voted more progressively than their districts’ progressive “leans” would imply were: Lashrecse Aird (expected rank was 16, actual rank was 4, for a PLUS 12 score); Ghazala Hashmi (expected rank was 13, actual rank was 2, for a PLUS 11 score); Jennifer Carroll Foy (expected rank was 10, actual rank was 1, for a PLUS 9 score); Stella Pekarsky (expected rank was 14, actual rank was 7, for a PLUS 7 score); Suhas Subramanyam (expected rank was 12, actual rank was 5, for a PLUS 7 score); Creigh Deeds (expected rank was 15, actual rank was 8, for a PLUS 7 score); Aaron Rouse (expected rank was 18, actual rank was 12, for a PLUS 6 score); Jennifer Boysko (expected rank was 8, actual rank was 3, for a PLUS 5 score); Danica Roem (expected rank was 19, actual rank was 14, for a PLUS 5 score); Schuyler VanValkenburg (expected rank was 22, actual rank was 20, for a PLUS 2 score); Russet Perry (expected rank was 20, actual rank was 19, for a PLUS 1 score).
  • Among Senate Republicans, the members who voted more progressively than their districts’ progressive “leans” would imply are: Todd Pillion (expected rank was 40, actual rank was 26, for a PLUS 14 score); Mark Peake (expected rank was 38, actual rank was 25, for a PLUS 13 score); Bill Stanley (expected rank was 39, actual rank was 27, for a PLUS 12 score); Richard Stuart (expected rank was 31, actual rank was 24, for a PLUS 7 score); Travis Hackworth (expected rank was 34, actual rank was 29, for a PLUS 5 score); Mark Obenshain (expected rank was 37, actual rank was 34, for a PLUS 3 score); David Suetterlein (expected rank was 24, actual rank was 22, for a PLUS 2 score); Timmy French (expected rank was 33, actual rank was 31, for a PLUS 2 score).

  • In the House of Delegates, 56 members scored less progressive than expected based on their districts’ “leans,” while 43 members scored more progressive than expected based on their districts’ “leans” – and one member (Democrat Rae Cousins) scored exactly as would be predicted by her district’s partisan “lean.”
  • Among House of Delegates Democrats, members who voted significantly less progressively than their districts’ progressive “leans” would imply include the following: Jackie Glass (expected rank was 10, actual rank was 49, for a MINUS 39 score); Charniele Herring (expected rank was 2, actual rank was 38, for a MINUS 36 score); Destiny Levere Bolling (expected rank was 9, actual rank was 43, for a MINUS 34 score); Betsy Carr (expected rank was 13, actual rank was 44, for a MINUS 31 score); Michael Jones (expected rank was 14, actual rank was 44, for a MINUS 30 score); Jeion Ward (expected rank was 7, actual rank was 34, for a MINUS 27 score); David Bulova (expected rank was 26, actual rank was 51, for a MINUS 25 score); Bonita Anthony (expected rank was 6, actual rank was 31, for a MINUS 25 score); Delores McQuinn (expected rank was 27, actual rank was 46, for a MINUS 19 score); Adele McClure (expected rank was 4, actual rank was 24, for a MINUS 19 score); Cliff Hayes (expected rank was 16, actual rank was 34, for a MINUS 18 score); Paul Krizek (expected rank was 23, actual rank was 40, for a MINUS 17 score); Vivian Watts (expected rank was 20, actual rank was 37, for a MINUS 17 score); Mark Sickles (expected rank was 15, actual rank was 31, for a MINUS 16 score); Karrie Delaney (expected rank was 35, actual rank was 49, for a MINUS 14 score); Alfonso Lopez (expected rank was 3, actual rank was 14, for a MINUS 11 score), etc.
  • Among House of Delegates Republicans, members who voted significantly less progressively than their districts’ progressive “leans” would imply include the following: Amanda Batten (expected rank was 56, actual rank was 87, for a MINUS 31 score); Wendell Walker (expected rank was 69, actual rank was 93, for a MINUS 24 score); Geary Higgins (expected rank was 60, actual rank was 79, for a MINUS 19 score); Robert Orrock (expected rank was 59, actual rank was 78, for a MINUS 19 score); Phillip Scott (expected rank was 81, actual rank was 99, for a MINUS 18 score); Thomas Wright (expected rank was 74, actual rank was 90, for a MINUS 16 score); Thomas Garrett (expected rank was 79, actual rank was 94, for a MINUS 15 score); Buddy Fowler (expected rank was 73, actual rank was 88, for a MINUS 15 score); Otto Wachsmann (expected rank was 57, actual rank was 72, for a MINUS 15 score); Nick Freitas (expected rank was 83, actual rank was 97, for a MINUS 14 score); Mark Earley (expected rank was 71, actual rank was 84, for a MINUS 13 score); Tony Wilt (expected rank was 63, actual rank was 75, for a MINUS 12 score); Paul Milde (expected rank was 65, actual rank was 76, for a MINUS 11 score); etc.
  • Among House of Delegates Democrats, members who voted significantly more progressively than their districts’ progressive “leans” would imply include the following: Nadarius Clark (expected rank was 48, actual rank was 2, for a PLUS 46 score); Joshua Cole (expected rank was 51, actual rank was 6, for a PLUS 45 score); Kelly Convirs-Fowler (expected rank was 42, actual rank was 6, for a PLUS 36 score); Phil Hernandez (expected rank was 46, actual rank was 12, for a PLUS 34 score); David Reid (expected rank was 36, actual rank was 9, for a PLUS 27 score); Amy Laufer (expected rank was 45, actual rank was 18, for a PLUS 27 score); Rip Sullivan (expected rank was 38, actual rank was 14, for a PLUS 24 score); Joshua Thomas (expected rank was 49, actual rank was 25, for a PLUS 24 score); Marty Martinez (expected rank was 41, actual rank was 18, for a PLUS 23 score); Kannan Srinivasan (expected rank was 29, actual rank was 8, for a PLUS 21 score); Alex Askew (expected rank was 39, actual rank was 18, for a PLUS 21 score); Michelle Maldonado (expected rank was 44, actual rank was 23, for a PLUS 21 score); Rozia Henson (expected rank was 24, actual rank was 4, for a PLUS 20 score); Irene Shin (expected rank was 22, actual rank was 3, for a PLUS 19 score); Laura Jane Cohen (expected rank was 30, actual rank was 14, for a PLUS 16 score); Kathy Tran (expected rank was 33, actual rank was 18, for a PLUS 15 score); Debra Gardner (expected rank was 40, actual rank was 25, for a PLUS 15 score); Rodney Willett (expected rank was 54, actual rank was 40, for a PLUS 14 score); Holly Seibold (expected rank was 17, actual rank was 5, for a PLUS 12 score); etc.
  • Among House of Delegates Republicans, members who voted more progressively than their districts’ progressive “leans” would imply included the following: Terry Kilgore (expected rank was 100, actual rank was 59, for a PLUS 41 score); Terry Austin (expected rank was 89, actual rank was 57, for a PLUS 32 score); James Morefield (expected rank was 99, actual rank was 67, for a PLUS 32 score); Wren Williams (expected rank was 94, actual rank was 65, for a PLUS 29 score);  Israel O’Quinn (expected rank was 96, actual rank was 71, for a PLUS 25 score); Eric Phillips (expected rank was 86, actual rank was 64, for a PLUS 22 score); Ellen Campbell (expected rank was 78, actual rank was 58, for a PLUS 20 score); Keith Hodges (expected rank was 87, actual rank was 67, for a PLUS 20 score); Jed Arnold (expected rank was 98, actual rank was 82, for a PLUS 16 score); Rob Bloxom (expected rank was 64, actual rank was 53, for a PLUS 11 score); etc.

Anything else jump out at you?

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