American Conservative Union, the folks who put on the CPAC conventions and who have since 1971 been rating the conservatism of members of Congress have rated the conservatism of New Jersey’s state legislators.
ACU tracked the votes on 11 pieces of legislation for Assembly members and 9 votes in the Senate. Those who voted the way ACU favored 100% of the time were declared “Defenders of Liberty.” Those who voted with ACU on 80% or more of the bills earned the designation “ACU Conservative.”
Those legsilators who never voted the way ACU favored, most of the Democrats, earned the designation “True Liberals of the Garden State.”
Some of the results in the Monmouth County delegation, Districts 11, 12, 13 and 30, are surprising. At least they are to me.
If you asked me to predict who among the Monmouth County delegation would have earned a 100% conservative, “Defender of Liberty” designation I would have guessed only 11th District Assemblywoman Caroline Cassagrande. I would have guessed wrong. Cassagrande didn’t even make the 80% “ACU Conservative” cut. She voted the ACU way 8 of 11 times for a 73% rating. The 3 votes Cassagrande cast that did not meet ACU approval were for 1) for legislation that requires businesses to post notices that employees have the right to be free from gender inequality, 2) for legislation that would ban treating waste water from fracking and 3) a bill that provided tax credits for electric car charging stations.
30th District Assemblymen Sean Kean and Dave Rible earned the “Defender of Liberty” designation. I wouldn’t have guessed that Kean or Rible would have voted 100% with ACU.
13th District Senator Joe Kyrillos sold himself as a moderate during his recent U.S. Senate campaign against Bob Menendez. His voting record in the legislature says otherwise. Kyrillos is an ACU Conservative with a 100% rating. His two missed votes, on the gender inequaltiy notices and the fracking water treatment ban, cost him the Defender of Liberty designation.
11th District Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini is an ACU Conservative with a 100% rating. I wouldn’t have guessed that either. Angelini’s missed vote on same sex marriage cost her the Defender of Liberty designation.
12th District Assemblymen Rob Clifton and Ronald Dancer each earned 82% rankings, making them ACU Conservatives. Both men voted for the fracking water ban and the electric car charging station tax credits. 12th Distirct Senator Sam Thompson earned a 100% rating but missed the fracking vote, making him an ACU Conservative rather than a Defender of Liberty.
13th District Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon voted 7 of 8 times with ACU for an 88% rating and a ACU Conservative designation. O’Scanlon voted for the fracking water treatment ban and missed the same sex marriage and electric car charging station votes. Also in the 13th, Assemblywoman Amy Handlin earned a 90% rating with 9 or 10 votes going the ACU way. Handlin missed the vote on a resolution that opposed the Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision on campaign finance and urge the U.S. Congress to amend the Constitution to overturn the decision. Handlin voted the fracking water treatment ban.
Two senators in the Monmouth delegation did not earn either the Defender of Liberty or the ACU Conservative designations. Robert Singer (30th District) voted 7 of 9 times with ACU for a 78% rating. Singer voted for the gender inequality notices and for the fracking water treatment ban. Jennifer Beck (11th District) 67% rating is the result of her voting for the fracking water treatment ban, for same sex marriage and for a $7.5 million appropriation for Planned Parenthood and other groups that provide abortions.
The entire ACU rating of the New Jersey legislature can be found here.