LABI’s Legislative Scorecard Is Out, And There Are Some Horrible Republican Scores In It

We don’t have a quintessential “conservative” scorecard covering the Louisiana legislature at this point, though our pal Jeff Sadow has a pretty good one he puts a lot of work into. Instead, what a lot of people will do to analyze the legislative record of Louisiana’s Senators and House members is to consider the Louisiana Family Forum’s scorecard as a barometer of social conservatism and the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry’s scorecard as a record of economic conservatism.

The latter is not a perfect measure, of course, because what LABI’s ratings really measure is how “pro-business” the legislators’ voting records are, and there are occasions – manifested far more often in Washington with the crony-capitalist hijinks of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce than here in Louisiana with LABI – where a “pro-business” vote isn’t strictly speaking a vote for economic freedom.

This year, though, those occasions were fairly rare. LABI had a fairly large agenda, and there were a sizable numbers of votes scored – 27 in the House and 21 in the Senate – on a host of issues, from tort reform to energy exploration to education to the minimum wage to lots of others. Outside`of the Common Core fight, in which LABI was in favor and some of the more activist conservatives were opposed, there were few issues on which a positive LABI score on a vote wouldn’t be considered as taking a conservative position.

So when the LABI scorecard comes out today, it starts to become clear that what we’ve been warning is true: Louisiana might have a Republican legislature, but it certainly doesn’t have a particularly conservative one.

There isn’t a single member of the Louisiana Senate who managed a perfect score from LABI this year, and only eight of the 39 Senators were above a 90. Those eight:

John Alario – 98
Bret Allain – 98
Gerald Long – 98
Barrow Peacock – 98
Neil Riser – 97
Mike Walsworth – 97
Dan Claitor – 96
Ronnie Johns – 96

All eight are Republicans, and there were a few other senators who came close to 90, thus just missing “All-Star” status by LABI’s designation…

Robert Adley – 88
Paige Cortez -88
Gary Smith – 87 (a Democrat)
David Heitmeier – 85 (a Democrat)
Norby Chabert – 84
Bodi White – 83
John Smith – 82
Jack Donahue – 81

So 14 of the 26 Republicans scored 80 or above this year, according to LABI. Here’s how the 12 who didn’t rate that high did…

Sherri Smith Buffington – 76
A.G. Crowe – 75
Elbert Guillory – 75
Blade Morrish – 74
Conrad Appel – 68
Dale Erdey – 65
Jody Amedee – 59
Rick Ward – 55
Fred Mills – 54
Danny Martiny – 50
Johnathan Perry – 47
Bob Kostelka – 36

There were some Democrats scoring a lot higher than some of the Republicans…

Eric LaFleur – 79
Francis Thompson – 77
Greg Tarver – 73

The worst state senator, according to LABI, is Louisiana Democrat Party chair Karen Carter Peterson. She had a 17. Two other black Democrats, Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb and Edwin Murray, scored 21’s.

In the House there were actually four legislators who managed to vote with LABI on all 27 questions being scored. Seimone Champagne, Nancy Landry, Richie Burford and Lenar Whitney had 100 ratings.

After that, there were 19 who received “All-Star” designation for having scored 90 or above. All are Republicans.

Stuart Bishop – 98
Steve Carter – 98
Barry Ivey – 98
Alan Seabaugh – 98
Scott Simon – 98
Chris Broadwater – 97
Stephen Pugh – 96
Joel Robideaux – 95
Jeff Thompson – 94
Lance Harris – 93
Nick Lorusso – 93
Julie Stokes – 93
Tim Burns – 92
Thomas Carmody – 92
Ray Garofalo – 91
Frank Hoffman – 91
Erich Ponti – 91
Henry Burns – 90
Gordon Dove – 90

The rule with LABI is you want to score a 75 or better over the course of your term or else they won’t endorse you, with an implicit “threat,” if you will, that they might decide one of your challengers is more worthy of their imprimatur and PAC money.

And while some of these Republicans might have scores above 75 all told since the last election, they definitely didn’t help their causes much this year…

Greg Miller – 72
John Guinn – 71
Franklin Foil – 70
Kevin Pearson – 70
Bubby Chaney – 69
Brett Geymann – 67
Joe Harrison – 67
Hunter Greene – 66
Jim Morris – 64
Joe LoPinto – 62
J. Rogers Pope – 62
Patrick Connick – 60
Chris Hazel – 57
Eddie Lambert – 56
Frank Howard – 50
Tom Willmott – 35

How bad is Willmott’s 35? Unfathomably bad. If you want to know how bad a 35 is, consider that Ted James, widely considered one of the most economically-illiterate members of the state legislature, scored a 37.

If Willmott is in the legislature as a Republican next year, something very, very wrong has taken place. Willmott has a bad district, to be sure – Obama won it in 2012 with 51.2 percent of the vote – but a 35 would seem to be overdoing it, no?

There are a lot more Democrats than James who score better than Willmott. Here are the Democrats who managed to double his score…

Mike Danahay – 78
Sam Jones – 77
Major Thibaut – 77

Who’s the Karen Carter Peterson of the House? That would be Terry Landry, at 23. A.B. Franklin, who checks in at 25, is next-worst. Bernie LeBas and Robert Johnson were a little better at 26, while Democrat gubernatorial candidate John Bel Edwards was at 27. Barbara Norton and Katrina Jackson had 28’s.

The overall lesson here? If you’re an economic conservative this is not a legislature you should be satisfied with, and there are a good many Republicans who need a challenger next year.

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