Key Votes 2019: How vulnerable members voted

They’re facing tough races in November, but not all bucked their parties much

Maine Sen. Susan Collins went against a majority of her fellow Republicans on 60 percent of key votes in 2019, according to a CQ Roll Call analysis. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Maine Sen. Susan Collins went against a majority of her fellow Republicans on 60 percent of key votes in 2019, according to a CQ Roll Call analysis. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Posted January 28, 2020 at 5:00am

The Senate held 10 votes identified by CQ Roll Call as “key votes” for 2019, and the House had a dozen. Below is a selection of members projected by Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales to have competitive races, the percent they stuck with their party on those votes and their overall unity score for 2019.

[CQ Roll Call’s Key Votes in 2019]

[Key Votes 2019: Amid partisan acrimony, legislative wins in Congress were hard to come by]

Senate

Susan Collins, R-Maine

Race: Tilts Republican

Party Unity on Key Votes: 40%

Overall Party Unity: 78%

Collins’ bid for a fifth term could prove to be her toughest campaign yet. She has historically bucked her party at one of the highest rates among Republicans, and on key votes, she was no exception — on 60 percent of those votes in 2019, she went against a majority of Republicans, including a resolution that would have terminated President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency along the southern border and one to end U.S. military involvement in Yemen.

Collins was one of two Republican votes to go against the successful Republican effort to dramatically reduce post-cloture debate time on presidential nominees.

Cory Gardner, R-Colo.

Race: Toss-up

Party Unity on Key Votes: 90%

Overall Party Unity: 96%

Perhaps the most vulnerable Republican in the Senate, Gardner bucked his party just once on key votes. It was on the measure disapproving of Trump’s lifting of sanctions against Russian companies. He missed a key vote warning against “precipitous withdrawal” from Syria and Afghanistan. On the other eight votes, he did not vote once in opposition to the president’s position.

Martha McSally, R-Ariz.

Race: Toss-up

Party Unity on Key Votes: 90%

Overall Party Unity: 97%

Like Gardner, McSally faces a tough test in her 2020 election. While she joined Gardner on the Russian sanctions measure, she too has voted mostly in lockstep with her party.

Doug Jones, D-Ala.

Race: Leans Republican

Party Unity on Key Votes: 70%

Overall Party Unity: 57%

Among Democrats, Jones is easily the most vulnerable, and he parted with his party on three of the ten key votes: The confirmation of William Barr as attorney general and a vote to repeal the Clean Power Plan. He was also one of only three Democratic “no” votes on the Green New Deal. The rest of the party skipped that vote, decrying it as a Republican stunt.

Gary Peters, D-Mich.

Race: Leans Democratic

Party Unity on Key Votes: 100%

Overall Party Unity: 96%

While Peters is favored for a second term, he’s still running in a state Trump won in 2016. But his voting record would suggest he thinks he has little to worry about. On the 10 key votes identified by CQ Roll Call for 2019, he joined a majority of his party on each of them.

House

Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J.

Race: Tilts Republican

Party Unity on Key Votes: 83% (as a Democrat)

Overall Party Unity: 83% (as a Democrat)

Before he switched his affiliation to Republican late last year, the 2nd District freshman was a fairly reliable Democratic vote. Of the 12 key votes, he went against the majority of the Democratic Party just twice, voting “no” on the two articles of impeachment against Trump.

Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn.

Race: Tilts Democratic

Party Unity on Key Votes: 75%

Overall Party Unity: 79%

The 15-term congressman continues to win in Minnesota’s 7th District, which, in most cases, would be represented by a Republican. There’s a good reason for that. He bucked his party three times on key votes, most prominently on the two articles of impeachment against Trump. He also voted against a bill to expand background checks on guns.

Jared Golden, D-Maine

Race: Tilts Democratic

Party Unity on Key Votes: 75%

Overall Party Unity: 87%

The freshman from Maine’s 2nd District joined Peterson in voting against expanded background checks and on the second article of impeachment — obstruction of Congress. He also voted against the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade pact.

Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa.

Race: Tilts Republican

Party Unity on Key Votes: 58%

Overall Party Unity: 54%

Fitzpatrick has broken with his party the most in 2019, and key votes were no exception. On disapproving of the national emergency along the southern border, expanded background checks, a bill to prohibit the U.S. from exiting the Paris climate accord and a bill to prohibit discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation, the 1st District congressman bucked the majority of his party to join with Democrats. He also voted to condemn Trump’s rhetoric as racist.

Rodney Davis, R-Ill.

Race: Toss-up

Party Unity on Key Votes: 100%

Overall Party Unity: 81%

Davis, who is running in the competitive 13th District, did not break with his party on any key votes in 2019, though his overall unity score — 81 percent — is lower than the average member score of 92 percent.

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