The Texas Assoc. of Business released its scorecard of the 85th Legislature (PDF), grading House members for their votes on 17 bills and senators for their votes on 15 bills. The group rated 10 representatives at 90% or better and another 65 representatives scored at least 80%. Twelve senators scored at least 80% but none were rated at 90% or better.
The top rankings went to a combination of Republicans and Democrats. Rep. Oscar Longoria (D-Mission) was the only legislator to score a perfect 100%. The top eight House Republicans are, or are expected to be, targeted by movement conservative groups for their alignment with Speaker Straus or their more moderate voting record. They are Reps. Cindy Burkett (R-Sunnyvale), Sarah Davis (R-Houston), Gary Elkins (R-Houston), Dan Huberty (R-Humble), Linda Koop (R-Dallas), Hugh Shine (R-Temple), Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) and Paul Workman (R-Austin).
The group rated members of the House Freedom Caucus below many Democrats. Reps. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park), Mike Lang (R-Granbury), Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving), Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler), Matt Shaheen (R-Plano), Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford), Valoree Swanson (R-Spring) and Tony Tinderholt (R-Arlington) scored a 53% or lower. The group rated 38 House Democrats higher than 55%.
In the upper chamber, Sens. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) and Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) rated highest at 87%, and Sens. Konni Burton (R-Colleyville) and Bob Hall (R-Edgewood) rated the lowest.
The ratings contrast sharply with scorecards issued by movement conservative groups such as Texans for Fiscal Responsibility/Empower Texans and Young Conservatives of Texas. The eight Republican representatives ranked lowest by the Texas Assoc. of Business were the highest ranked representatives by Empower Texans, all scoring at least a 99, and among the nine highest-rated representatives by Young Conservatives of Texas, all scoring at least a 95. Davis, one of the top-rated members by the business group, was the lowest-rated Republican by both movement conservative groups, even ranking below two Democrats on Empower Texans’s scorecard.
Jeff Moseley, TAB’s chief executive, said it would be more involved in primary elections than in recent election cycles. The group’s PAC spent just over $45K during the first six months of 2016 but endorsed 98 candidates, including four Republicans challenging Freedom Caucus members in the primary. Only one of those challengers prevailed.
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