The National Journal does an annual vote rating of Congress members (methodology), then it ranks the representatives and senators on "liberal" and "conservative" scales. And this year, in National Journal's estimate, Chris Gibson ranked as the most liberal House Republican -- with a voting record more liberal than that of 10 House Democrats.
From an accompanying article about Gibson:
Gibson placed the furthest left of all House Republicans in National Journal's 2012 ideological vote ratings. Whether that means he is the most liberal, the most moderate, or perhaps just the least conservative member of the GOP conference is in the eye of the beholder. The way Gibson sees it, he landed near the middle of both ratings in his first term because he balances a pro-growth and an anti-debt agenda, all while representing a district (New York's 19th) that Obama carried twice.
"This is the kind of representation that gets things done, that creates jobs," Gibson said. "We can bring people together in an era rife with partisanship and divide."
After the jump, a quick scan of the ratings for other regional Congress members, and little more about the NY 20th, which Gibson represented until the most recent redistricting. (We'll just say it now... yes, there's a graph.)
Quick ratings on other Congress members
Ratings from the National Journal. The lower the ranking, the more liberal or conservative -- the higher the score, the more liberal or conservative.
Chuck Schumer: 21st most liberal (79.2 score) / 79th most conservative (20.8)
Kirsten Gillibrand: 13th most liberal (84.7 score) / 86th most conservative (15.3)
Paul Tonko: 98th most liberal (78.5 score) / 324th most conservative (21.5)
Chris Gibson: 174th most liberal (57.8 score) / 248th most conservative (42.2)
Bill Owens: 169th most liberal (59.7 score) / 253rd most conservative (40.3)
*Gillibrand's 2008 rating is missing scores in two categories -- her averages here are based on the scores she did have. (So, that year should be taken with even more grains of salt.)
The New York 20th Congressional District -- which Gibson represented until redistricting this past year -- has been an interesting one over the last decade. Republicans had a firm grip on the many iterations of the district for pretty much the previous century, featuring hard-core conservatives such as Gerald Solomon. John Sweeney is said to have proclaimed that "no Republican can ever lose" the district.
Until Sweeney did, in 2006, losing to Kirsten Gillibrand -- despite Republicans having a roughly 80,000 enrolled voter advantage over Democrats. (We were covering the Saratoga County Republicans that night. The mood at the election results party was... downcast.) And you know how things have shaken out since then: KG wins re-election, she gets appointed to the Senate, Democrat Scott Murphy wins the special election, and then Chris Gibson beats Murphy in 2010.
Of course, the lines shifted again for this past election. And Chris Gibson found himself running for very different district in terms of enrollment -- the New York 19th (his new district) had roughly the same number of Democrats and Republicans. So staking out a position toward the center probably isn't a bad idea, politically.
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