VOTE RATINGS - Keeping Score

Feb. 1, 2003, 7 a.m.

The Pres­id­en­tial Wanna-bes

Of the sev­en con­gres­sion­al Demo­crats who are run­ning for pres­id­ent in 2004 or have in­dic­ated they might run, Sen. John F. Kerry of Mas­sachu­setts had the most lib­er­al vot­ing re­cord last year and Sen. Bob Gra­ham of Flor­ida had the most con­ser­vat­ive, ac­cord­ing to Na­tion­al Journ­al’s vote rat­ings.

A com­pil­a­tion of the an­nu­al scores for the sev­en Demo­crats over the past 20 years shows that Kerry was the most lib­er­al throughout the peri­od. But Sen. Joe Lieber­man, D-Conn., was slightly more con­ser­vat­ive than Gra­ham over the en­tirety of their years in the Sen­ate.

With lim­ited ex­cep­tions, Kerry’s scores have con­sist­ently placed him to­ward the lib­er­al end of the Sen­ate. Gra­ham, like­wise, has al­ways been among the more con­ser­vat­ive Sen­ate Demo­crats. The rat­ings showed that he was at the ideo­lo­gic­al cen­ter of the cham­ber in 1993, when Demo­crats held the ma­jor­ity. Lieber­man’s scores have been re­mark­ably close to Gra­ham’s, but Lieber­man had an up­ward blip last year, when he earned his most lib­er­al scores of his 14 years in the Sen­ate.

Among the oth­er pres­id­en­tial con­tenders, Sen. John Ed­wards of North Car­o­lina has been in the mod­er­ate-to-con­ser­vat­ive range of Sen­ate Demo­crats dur­ing his four years in the cham­ber. The scores of Sens. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware and Chris­toph­er J. Dodd of Con­necti­c­ut-both of whom have voiced in­terest in run­ning for pres­id­ent but have not com­mit­ted them­selves-have var­ied more from year to year, al­though the av­er­age scores for each over the past 20 years place them near the cen­ter of Sen­ate Demo­crats.

Dodd, for ex­ample, was among the most lib­er­al sen­at­ors in the early 1980s, then moved to­ward the cen­ter in the early 1990s, but his scores in the past few years have been close to Kerry’s. Biden began the 20-year peri­od with more-con­ser­vat­ive scores, moved left in the early 1990s, and has re­cently settled to­ward the cen­ter of Sen­ate Demo­crats.

Rep. Richard A. Geph­ardt of Mis­souri, the only House mem­ber who has been act­ively pur­su­ing a 2004 pres­id­en­tial bid, has reg­u­larly fallen in the middle of House Demo­crats, ac­cord­ing to the rat­ings. Al­though Geph­ardt’s rank­ings can­not be dir­ectly cor­rel­ated to those of the sen­at­ors-since mem­bers are ranked re­l­at­ive only to oth­ers in the same cham­ber-it is fair to con­clude that his le­gis­lat­ive pro­file places him near the middle of the ideo­lo­gic­al pack of the oth­er Demo­crat­ic pres­id­en­tial wanna-bes.

Na­tion­al Journ­al’s vote rat­ings rank mem­bers of Con­gress on how they vote, re­l­at­ive to each oth­er on a con­ser­vat­ive-to-lib­er­al scale, in each cham­ber. The scores, which have been com­piled each year since 1981, are based on law­makers’ votes in three is­sue areas: eco­nom­ic, so­cial, and for­eign policy. The scores are de­term­ined by a com­puter-as­sisted cal­cu­la­tion that ranks mem­bers from one end of the ideo­lo­gic­al spec­trum to the oth­er, based on key votes-55 in the Sen­ate and 61 in the House-se­lec­ted by Na­tion­al Journ­al re­port­ers and ed­it­ors.

For ex­ample, the res­ults show that on so­cial policy is­sues, Ed­wards last year had a lib­er­al score of 56 and a con­ser­vat­ive score of 38. That means that Ed­wards was more lib­er­al than 56 per­cent of oth­er sen­at­ors on those is­sues and more con­ser­vat­ive than 38 per­cent; he tied the re­main­ing 6 per­cent. The scores do not mean that Ed­wards voted with lib­er­als 56 per­cent of the time, for ex­ample, nor that he was 56 per­cent “cor­rect” from a lib­er­al per­spect­ive. On eco­nom­ic is­sues, Ed­wards’s lib­er­al score was 66 per­cent and his con­ser­vat­ive score was 32 per­cent. That means that his eco­nom­ic votes placed him fur­ther to the left with­in the Sen­ate than did his votes on so­cial is­sues.

Any pres­id­en­tial can­did­ates who come from Con­gress can ex­pect that some of their le­gis­lat­ive votes will be­come cam­paign is­sues. In fact, their vot­ing re­cords will be grist for the op­pos­i­tion re­search that has be­come fun­da­ment­al to mod­ern cam­paigns.

Re­pub­lic­an polit­ic­al con­sult­ant Scott Reed, man­ager of the 1996 pres­id­en­tial cam­paign of Bob Dole, who faced a com­pet­it­ive primary while serving as Sen­ate ma­jor­ity lead­er, said that the pres­id­en­tial can­did­ates’ con­gres­sion­al vot­ing re­cords “mat­ter be­cause the ideo­lo­gic­al groups use them quite ag­gress­ively in the early primary states. And they of­ten play a role in the de­bates, where a can­did­ate has to de­fend his re­cord.”

Steph­en Wayne, a polit­ic­al sci­ence pro­fess­or at Geor­getown Uni­versity, cited the battle for the Re­pub­lic­an pres­id­en­tial nom­in­a­tion in 2000, when al­lies of George W. Bush at­tacked some en­vir­on­ment­al votes that Sen. John Mc­Cain, R-Ar­iz., had cast in Con­gress. “It cer­tainly gives the op­pos­i­tion an op­por­tun­ity to use cer­tain votes, and to typecast,” Wayne said. “One of the ad­vant­ages that gov­ernors have is that they do not have that track re­cord.”

When con­tac­ted by Na­tion­al Journ­al, aides to sev­er­al of the Demo­crat­ic pres­id­en­tial can­did­ates down­played the sig­ni­fic­ance of the vote rat­ings. Robert Gibbs, who re­cently signed on as Kerry’s cam­paign press sec­ret­ary, said that al­though Kerry’s votes may ap­pear lib­er­al, his broad back­ground as a vet­er­an, a former pro­sec­utor, and an early sup­port­er of a bal­anced budget and edu­ca­tion re­form make him dif­fi­cult to “pi­geon­hole.” Gibbs ad­ded, “Are op­pon­ents go­ing to use la­bels? Of course. I don’t know how ef­fect­ive that will be.”

A Lieber­man aide re­spon­ded that Sen­ate votes “have to be seen in con­text,” be­cause “more and more [votes] these days are not mean­ing­ful votes, but sort of party bed checks.” The aide ad­ded, “Once you get out­side the Belt­way and talk to real people, they are much less in­ter­ested in how you voted in the past than in what your vis­ion is for the fu­ture.” An Ed­wards spokes­man voiced a sim­il­ar re­ac­tion. “What mat­ters is the to­tal­ity of a per­son’s re­cord,” the aide said.

Gra­ham spokes­man Paul An­der­son, who em­phas­ized that his boss has not de­cided wheth­er to run for pres­id­ent, cau­tioned, “In every polit­ic­al cam­paign there is an at­tempt, through op­pos­i­tion re­search, to isol­ate in­di­vidu­al votes and, un­for­tu­nately, mis­rep­res­ent in­di­vidu­al votes.” Cit­ing Gra­ham’s vote last Oc­to­ber against au­thor­iz­ing the use of U.S. mil­it­ary force against Ir­aq, An­der­son said it was “not an anti-war vote,” but “a prin­cipled po­s­i­tion” that the war on ter­ror­ism should be a high­er pri­or­ity. Still, An­der­son con­ceded that Gra­ham’s Ir­aq vote could be in­terepreted in sev­er­al ways.

Geph­ardt spokes­man Erik Smith said that law­makers “have to have a vot­ing re­cord and let the chips fall where they may.” Smith noted, however, that Geph­ardt will not face one po­ten­tial prob­lem that his Sen­ate coun­ter­parts will: Be­cause of the nar­row par­tis­an mar­gin in the Sen­ate, if pres­id­en­tial can­did­ates miss votes while out cam­paign­ing, “it will hurt them with some con­stitu­en­cies,” he said.

In ad­di­tion, Smith noted that the Sen­ate’s more free­wheel­ing pro­ced­ures en­able sen­at­ors to “bring an amend­ment to the floor” to at­tempt to force a vote on nearly any is­sue. Demo­crat­ic pres­id­en­tial con­tenders could use that to their ad­vant­age to try to score polit­ic­al points-but so could Re­pub­lic­an sen­at­ors look­ing to hurt po­ten­tial rivals to Pres­id­ent Bush.

Rut­gers Uni­versity polit­ic­al sci­ence pro­fess­or Ross K. Baker, who has writ­ten widely about the Sen­ate, called it a com­mon oc­cur­rence for sen­at­ors to of­fer an amend­ment “to make a par­tis­an point, or to dam­age the can­did­acy of a par­tic­u­lar per­son.” And Reed pre­dicted that each of the sen­at­ors run­ning for pres­id­ent will “stake out some ser­i­ous turf” on a few is­sues this year to high­light their con­trasts.

Which past votes will come in­to play, and what new votes may tran­spire, can only be guessed, of course. But the thou­sands of votes that mem­bers of Con­gress cast dur­ing their ca­reers cre­ate abund­ant op­por­tun­it­ies for cam­paign mis­chief.

The Lead­ers

Con­gres­sion­al Re­pub­lic­an lead­ers op­er­ate on the ideo­lo­gic­al edge. By con­trast, most con­gres­sion­al Demo­crat­ic lead­ers fit more com­fort­ably with­in their party’s cen­ter.

As the Na­tion­al Journ­al vote rat­ings for 2002 re­veal, GOP lead­ers ranked to­ward the con­ser­vat­ive fringe of their own party and, of course, of their en­tire cham­bers. In the Sen­ate, for ex­ample, the sev­en most con­ser­vat­ive mem­bers-all Re­pub­lic­ans-in­cluded Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Bill Frist of Ten­ness­ee and Trent Lott of Mis­sis­sippi, whom Frist suc­ceeded as lead­er at the start of the new Con­gress. Also in that group were Ma­jor­ity Whip Mitch Mc­Con­nell of Ken­tucky and Don Nickles of Ok­lahoma, who was Mc­Con­nell’s pre­de­cessor in the GOP’s No. 2 lead­er­ship post. Mc­Con­nell and Nickles, in fact, were among four Re­pub­lic­an sen­at­ors who had per­fect com­pos­ite con­ser­vat­ive scores of 89 in the rat­ings. (These scores are less than 100 per­cent be­cause of ties in the rat­ings. )

The scores for House Re­pub­lic­an lead­ers demon­strated a sim­il­ar pat­tern. Rep. Roy Blunt of Mis­souri, the new ma­jor­ity whip, was one of 13 House Re­pub­lic­ans with a per­fect com­pos­ite con­ser­vat­ive score of 92 in the rat­ings. Close be­hind Blunt among the top House con­ser­vat­ives were Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Tom DeLay of Texas and Dick Armey of Texas, who was DeLay’s pre­de­cessor as ma­jor­ity lead­er, as well as J.C. Watts Jr. of Ok­lahoma, who chaired the House Re­pub­lic­an Con­fer­ence dur­ing the 107th Con­gress. (Armey and Watts re­tired at the end of 2002.) On the oth­er hand, the new con­fer­ence chair­wo­man, De­borah Pryce of Ohio, ranked near the cen­ter of House Re­pub­lic­ans. She brings a slightly more mod­er­ate bent to this year’s House GOP lead­er­ship team.

Demo­crats fell in­to a very dif­fer­ent pat­tern. In the Sen­ate, their top-two party lead­ers-Thomas A. Daschle of South Dakota and Harry Re­id of Nevada-both ranked in the middle of their party. Bar­bara A. Mikul­ski of Mary­land, the No. 3 Sen­ate Demo­crat­ic lead­er, had more lib­er­al scores; she was the 11th most lib­er­al sen­at­or over­all.

Like­wise, in the House, most of the top Demo­crat­ic lead­ers in 2002 and 2003 earned scores that placed them near the middle of House Demo­crats. Richard A. Geph­ardt of Mis­souri and Mar­tin Frost of Texas, last year’s minor­ity lead­er and Demo­crat­ic Caucus chair­man, were in that group, as well as Steny H. Hoy­er of Mary­land, this year’s minor­ity whip, and Robert Men­en­dez of New Jer­sey, the new caucus chair­man. The ex­cep­tion is Nancy Pelosi of Cali­for­nia, who has taken over as minor­ity lead­er. Her scores were among the most lib­er­al in the House.

The vote rat­ings for re­cent years have shown sim­il­ar pat­terns among the lead­er­ship of both parties. The reas­on could be that the rank and file in each party have con­trast­ing ex­pect­a­tions for their lead­ers: Re­pub­lic­ans may look to their lead­ers to serve as the party stand­ard-bear­ers, while Demo­crats prefer their lead­ers to bring to­geth­er their vari­ous view­points. If so, the Pelosi takeover may re­flect a move by House Demo­crats to take a more ag­gress­ive lead­er­ship ap­proach, while the House Re­pub­lic­ans’ se­lec­tion of Pryce could sig­nal a more cau­tious lead­er­ship style.

The Dis­con­nec­ted?

As Demo­crats waged a chal­lenge against Sen. Tim Hutchin­son, R-Ark., in last year’s elec­tion, they saw an op­por­tun­ity. Hutchin­son had ranked as the most con­ser­vat­ive sen­at­or in Na­tion­al Journ­al’s vote rat­ings in 2000, and he had tied with sev­er­al oth­ers as the most con­ser­vat­ive in the Sen­ate in 1997 and 1998. Demo­crat Mark Pry­or used the rat­ings as a weapon in his cam­paign ar­sen­al to charge that Hutchin­son had be­come too con­ser­vat­ive for his state. The home of Pres­id­ent Clin­ton, Arkan­sas has had a his­tory of close statewide elec­tions.

In 2001 and 2002, Hutchin­son’s vote rat­ings moved markedly to­ward the cen­ter of the Sen­ate, but it was too late. Pry­or won the elec­tion, 54 to 46 per­cent, and Hutchin­son re­cently joined a K Street law firm as a seni­or ad­viser.

Hutchin­son’s story serves as a les­son to mem­bers of both parties: They run the risk of los­ing their con­nec­tion to loc­al polit­ic­al sen­ti­ments if they routinely vote their con­science in­stead of their con­stitu­ency.

The 2002 NJ rat­ings show that sev­er­al mem­bers at the con­ser­vat­ive and lib­er­al ex­tremes in their cham­ber may be vot­ing out of step with their dis­tricts or states, based on the vote that George W. Bush re­ceived in 2000. Nev­er­the­less, all of those mem­bers who were up for re-elec­tion last year won.

Es­pe­cially in the House, mem­bers in “swing” dis­tricts com­monly win re-elec­tion des­pite be­ing strongly iden­ti­fied with either the Left or the Right. Some mem­bers, such as con­ser­vat­ive Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Cal­if., or lib­er­al Rep. Lane Evans, D-Ill., have con­cluded that they can win over a ma­jor­ity of loc­al voters des­pite ant­ag­on­iz­ing oth­ers. These law­makers pre­vail at home partly be­cause the power of in­cum­bency dis­cour­ages many pro­spect­ive chal­lengers from wa­ging a cam­paign and makes it dif­fi­cult for com­pet­it­ors to raise suf­fi­cient funds.

In oth­er cases, law­makers have man­aged to pro­ject a fairly mod­er­ate im­age back home, even though their votes on Cap­it­ol Hill place them at the far end of the polit­ic­al spec­trum. For ex­ample, new Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Bill Frist, R-Tenn., ranked among the most con­ser­vat­ive sen­at­ors last year. But the former heart sur­geon has pre­vailed-both with loc­al voters and with Sen­ate GOP col­leagues-by tak­ing what ap­pears to be a prag­mat­ic ap­proach in pur­su­ing his per­son­al in­terest in health care is­sues.

The Liber­tari­ans and Pop­u­lists

Con­gress is filled with lots of con­ser­vat­ives, nearly as many lib­er­als, and a shrink­ing co­ter­ie of cent­rists whose votes of­ten are up for grabs. Less fre­quently these days are mem­bers cat­egor­ized as pop­u­lists or liber­tari­ans, even though each group has played a dis­tinct­ive role in Amer­ic­an polit­ic­al his­tory.

As heirs to the 19th-cen­tury ideo­logy pro­claimed by Pres­id­ent An­drew Jack­son, most pop­u­lists sup­port an act­iv­ist gov­ern­ment role in eco­nom­ic policy, and many have also been will­ing to as­sert a fed­er­al role else­where, such as in mak­ing for­eign policy or reg­u­lat­ing in­di­vidu­al be­ha­vi­or. Liber­tari­ans, on the oth­er hand, urge a hands-off gov­ern­ment in all areas. In his New Polit­ic­al Dic­tion­ary, Wil­li­am Safire de­scribes this group as res­ist­ing “gov­ern­ment en­croach­ment on in­di­vidu­al liber­ties.” Liber­tari­ans be­lieve that pub­lic of­fi­cials should take a lais­sez-faire ap­proach to busi­ness, steer clear of en­tangling for­eign al­li­ances, and stay out of people’s per­son­al lives.

Na­tion­al Journ­al’s rat­ings, which ex­am­ine law­makers’ votes in three cat­egor­ies-eco­nom­ic, so­cial, and for­eign policy-pro­duce a list­ing of Con­gress’s liber­tari­an and pop­u­list mem­bers. Ap­ply­ing the his­tor­ic­al stand­ards, pop­u­lists reg­u­larly voted with the lib­er­als on eco­nom­ic is­sues, but with the con­ser­vat­ives on either so­cial is­sues or for­eign policy. Liber­tari­ans, on the oth­er hand, voted con­ser­vat­ive on eco­nom­ic is­sues and lib­er­al on either so­cial or for­eign policy.

In the House, all of the 20 mem­bers whose 2002 rat­ings cat­egor­ized them as liber­tari­ans were Re­pub­lic­ans. All but two of the 17 pop­u­lists in the House were Demo­crats, and about half were South­ern­ers in the tra­di­tion of “Old Hick­ory,” as Jack­son was known. The Sen­ate res­ults show three liber­tari­ans and one pop­u­list-but their par­tis­an af­fil­i­ations don’t fit the usu­al pat­tern, partly be­cause all four of them were among the hand­ful of sen­at­ors who straddled the cen­ter of that cham­ber on most is­sues.

A few law­makers could serve as mod­ern-day icons for each move­ment. Prob­ably the best ex­ample is Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who was the Liber­tari­an Party’s pres­id­en­tial nom­in­ee in 1988, when he drew 432,000 votes. Paul’s le­gis­lat­ive votes leave him in­creas­ingly isol­ated among Re­pub­lic­ans. Al­though he agrees with many of the party’s eco­nom­ic policies, he of­ten parts com­pany on oth­er is­sues-ran­ging from his votes against abor­tion re­stric­tions to his op­pos­i­tion last fall to au­thor­iz­ing the use of U.S. mil­it­ary force against Ir­aq.

On the oth­er side of the spec­trum, Demo­crat­ic Rep. Charles W. Sten­holm, also from Texas, ex­em­pli­fies pop­u­lism. He takes an act­iv­ist ap­proach to some fed­er­al spend­ing, not­ably for farm­ers, but he is more likely to side with con­ser­vat­ives on so­cial is­sues such as strict en­force­ment of crim­in­al laws and vig­or­ous sup­port for the mil­it­ary. Like Paul, Sten­holm has some­times voted in­de­pend­ently of his party es­tab­lish­ment. Dur­ing the or­gan­iz­a­tion­al pro­ceed­ings for the 108th Con­gress on Janu­ary 7, he was one of four House Demo­crats who did not cast the usu­ally routine vote for their party lead­er-Nancy Pelosi of Cali­for­nia-as speak­er.

In re­cent years, pop­u­lists and liber­tari­ans have be­come shrink­ing breeds in both cham­bers. In 1985, for ex­ample, the vote rat­ings showed 69 pop­u­lists in Con­gress (com­pared with only 18 in 2002) and 64 liber­tari­ans (com­pared with 23 in 2002). The trends re­flect polit­ic­al factors such as the de­cline in the num­ber of South­ern Demo­crats, es­pe­cially in rur­al areas, and the con­cur­rent drop in mod­er­ate Re­pub­lic­ans, par­tic­u­larly in the North­east.

Sen­ate Twins and Odd Couples

The Sen­ate, where 100 mem­bers fam­ously go their own way, has a long tra­di­tion of home-state sen­at­ors from the same party clash­ing as they sep­ar­ately strive to make their marks. New Jer­sey Demo­crat­ic Sens. Frank Lauten­berg and Robert G. Tor­ri­celli of­fer a re­cent ex­ample; their nasty-even pro­fane-battles are now part of Cap­it­ol Hill lore.

Brown Uni­versity polit­ic­al sci­ence pro­fess­or Wendy Schiller looked at such pairs of sen­at­ors in her book Part­ners and Rivals: Rep­res­ent­a­tion in U.S. Sen­ate Del­eg­a­tions. “The in­cent­ive to dif­fer­en­ti­ate with­in a Sen­ate del­eg­a­tion,” Schiller con­cluded, “is a com­bin­a­tion of elect­or­al in­cent­ives and in­sti­tu­tion­al forces that push sen­at­ors in con­trast­ing dir­ec­tions.”

Na­tion­al Journ­al’s 2002 vote rat­ings found three pairs of home-state sen­at­ors of the same party who of­ten went their sep­ar­ate ideo­lo­gic­al ways. These “odd couples” are Ari­zona’s Re­pub­lic­an sen­at­ors, con­ser­vat­ive Jon Kyl and mod­er­ate John Mc­Cain; Pennsylvania’s Re­pub­lic­an sen­at­ors, con­ser­vat­ive Rick San­tor­um and mod­er­ate Ar­len Specter; and Geor­gia’s Demo­crat­ic sen­at­ors, cent­rist Max Cle­land and con­ser­vat­ive Zell Miller.

Al­though Kyl and Mc­Cain have scores that are far apart, each has been eas­ily re-elec­ted, and they do not ap­pear to have had sig­ni­fic­ant prob­lems with each oth­er. Cle­land, however, lost re-elec­tion last Novem­ber, in part be­cause Re­pub­lic­ans un­fa­vor­ably com­pared his re­cord on vari­ous eco­nom­ic and de­fense is­sues with that of Miller, who is more pop­u­lar at home. A sim­il­ar con­flict could arise between San­tor­um and Specter, who is up for re-elec­tion in 2004. In re­cent weeks, however, San­tor­um has served his home-state col­league’s in­terests by ur­ging fel­low Re­pub­lic­ans to sup­port Specter, even though con­ser­vat­ive Rep. Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., has voiced in­terest in mount­ing a primary chal­lenge.

Mean­while, this year’s rat­ings of­fer nu­mer­ous ex­amples of home-state sen­at­ors with strik­ingly sim­il­ar vot­ing re­cords. One such pair of “twins” is Maine’s mod­er­ate Re­pub­lic­ans, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe. They rarely dis­agree on is­sues, of­ten work to­geth­er on le­gis­lat­ive pro­jects, and co­oper­at­ively seek to pro­tect their state’s pa­ro­chi­al in­terests. Like­wise, Wash­ing­ton Demo­crats Maria Can­t­well and Patty Mur­ray have nearly identic­al scores, and they have worked closely on na­tion­al and loc­al is­sues. At home, each has faced dif­fi­cult cam­paigns and has been at­tacked by Re­pub­lic­ans as too lib­er­al.

The part­ner­ship of South Dakota Demo­crats Thomas A. Daschle and Timothy P. John­son be­came polit­ic­al fod­der for the GOP in last year’s elec­tion. Re­pub­lic­ans chal­lenged John­son’s re-elec­tion by some­times at­tempt­ing to link him in neg­at­ive terms to Daschle, who was then the ma­jor­ity lead­er. Al­though John­son made sure to es­tab­lish his in­de­pend­ence for loc­al con­sump­tion, Daschle worked hard to help him win a nar­row con­test over then-Rep. John Thune, who had ex­tens­ive sup­port from Pres­id­ent Bush.

In New Hamp­shire, Re­pub­lic­ans Judd Gregg and Bob Smith also ended 2002 with nearly identic­al vote rat­ings. But their re­la­tion­ship was not so close. Smith lost his bid for the GOP Sen­ate nom­in­a­tion to then-Rep. John E. Sununu, who won the seat in Novem­ber. Gregg angered Smith by re­main­ing neut­ral in the primary.

Also in New Eng­land, Mas­sachu­setts Demo­crats John F. Kerry and Ed­ward Kennedy, the 800-pound gor­illa of Demo­crat­ic polit­ics, have had a com­plex re­la­tion­ship. As Kerry began his bid for the Demo­crat­ic pres­id­en­tial nom­in­a­tion, he sought to sep­ar­ate him­self from his home-state col­league on some is­sues, even though their 2002 vote rat­ings were nearly the same. Still, Kerry was de­lighted re­cently when Kennedy en­dorsed his can­did­acy, fol­low­ing months of doubt on both sides.

The Demo­crat­ic sen­at­ors from New York, Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton and Charles E. Schu­mer, and the Re­pub­lic­an sen­at­ors from Texas, Kay Bailey Hutchis­on and the now-re­tired Phil Gramm, have also dealt war­ily with each oth­er, des­pite sim­il­ar vot­ing re­cords.

This year’s rat­ings also show sev­er­al home-state sen­at­ors of dif­fer­ent parties whose vote rat­ings are at op­pos­ite ends of the ideo­lo­gic­al spec­trum-yet both con­tin­ue to en­joy loc­al pop­ular­ity. Iowa voters have elec­ted Demo­crat Tom Har­kin and Re­pub­lic­an Charles E. Grass­ley, and New Mex­ico voters have elec­ted Demo­crat Jeff Binga­man and Re­pub­lic­an Pete V. Domen­ici at least four times each, with the know­ledge that their le­gis­lat­ive votes of­ten can­cel each oth­er out. But in those polit­ic­al swing states, the sen­at­ors can en­sure that loc­al in­terests are pro­tec­ted, re­gard­less of which party is in con­trol.

Staff cor­res­pond­ents Dav­id Bau­mann and Kirk Vic­tor con­trib­uted to this re­port.

Richard E. Co­hen Na­tion­al Journ­al

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