Monday, May 05, 2008

WI Legislative Clean Government Rankings

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign just ranked Wisconsin legislators based on support for clean government reforms. Not surprisingly, Democrats did far better than Republicans, and in general progressive Dems did better than moderate/conservative Dems. But there are some interesting exceptions, so I made the chart below to make them easier to see. Click on it for a larger version.

My chart is identical to the original WDC chart except that I color coded the legislators by party, blue for Democrats and red for Republicans. The rankings are somewhat coarse, and legislators who received identical rankings are listed alphabetically, so I encourage you to look at WDC's full report before you reach conclusions about particular senators or representatives.

A couple of things did catch my eye. Milwaukee senator Lena Taylor, who is actually quite progressive, was in the lowest category of Democratic senators. She voted for all the reform bills, but the rankings also include bill sponsorship, and Senator Taylor didn't cosponsor of any of them. My understanding is that sponsorship was weighted less heavily than votes, but it was still enough to drag Taylor way down. I have a call into Senator Taylor's office, and I'll post her response when I get it.

Two other Democratic senators, Russ Decker and Jeff Plale, received the same low score as Taylor. Decker's district is fairly conservative, so that's an excuse, sort of, but Plale is from a solidly Democratic district. Senator Plale has a rather sordid voting history, and is probably the number one target for a primary challenge next cycle.

The very worst Democrat, by a very significant margin, is Representative Bob Ziegelbauer. Ziegelbauer basically votes like a Republican, but his district is extremely conservative, so even with his poor voting record it's still better to have a Democrat then a Republican in that seat.

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