Presidential candidates vote party lines, miss votes

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11884148749016.jpg’, ‘Photo courtesy of‘, ‘U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-New York) voted with the Democratic Party 96 percent of the time.‘);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-118841496216481.jpg’, ‘Photo courtesy of‘, ‘U.S. Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) voting record in congress is one of the most conservative among his colleagues, while at the same time, voting with the Republican Party only 75 percent of the time.‘);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-118841518816567.jpg’, ‘Photo courtesy of’, ‘In the Senate, presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) voted with his party colleagues 96 percent of the time and ranked No. 9 overall among Democratic senators.‘);

Looking for a president with more of an independent mind or one who will actually show up when it counts? Based on their voting records from the latest congressional session, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), respectively, could be your pick.

Paul ranks No. 1 among the 10 presidential candidates serving in Congress in not voting with his or her party, while Clinton ranks No. 1 in fewest votes missed. Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) votes with his party more than any other presidential candidate, while Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has the highest percentage among candidates of missed votes.

Presidential candidates McCain, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), Biden, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) rank 2-6, respectively, overall in the 100-seat Senate in missed votes. The only senator with a higher percentage of missed votes is Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), who suffered a brain hemorrhage Dec. 13, 2006, and missed 100 percent of his votes. McCain has missed 48.1 percent of his votes, Brownback 39.7 percent, Biden 25.2 percent, Dodd 23.9 percent and Obama 19 percent.

Clinton has missed 3.5 percent of her votes in the Senate, below the averages of 4.6 percent missed among all senators, 4.9 percent missed by Democratic senators and 4.5 percent missed by Republican senators.

Among representatives running for president, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) has missed the fewest percentage of votes at 8.4 percent. Paul has missed 20 percent, Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) 26.6 percent and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) 28.8 percent. The average in the House of votes missed is 3.7 percent overall, 4.3 percent among Republicans and 3.1 percent among Democrats.

Paul, who has voted with his party 75 percent of the time, is No. 4 overall in the 435-seat House of Representatives in not voting with his party. The only representatives who have a lower percentage of voting with their party are Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-Md.), 67.8 percent; Rep. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.), 74.2 percent; and Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), 74.5 percent.

Among other representatives running for president, Tancredo has voted with his party 80 percent of the time, Hunter 89.7 percent and Kucinich has voted with his party the most among representatives running for president at 92.3 percent. Average in the House of voting with a party is 88.5 percent overall, 92.6 percent among Democrats and 83.8 percent among Republicans.

In the Senate, presidential candidates Biden, Clinton, Obama and Dodd rank the highest among senators who vote with their party. Biden is No. 2 overall, voting with his party 97.4 percent of the time; Clinton No. 4 overall, voting with her party 97 percent of the time; Obama No. 9 overall, voting with his party 96 percent of the time; and Dodd No. 10 overall, voting with his party 95.8 percent of the time.

Brownback votes with his party 92 percent of the time while McCain votes with his party the least among senators at 87 percent of the time. Averages in the Senate of voting with a party are 85.4 percent overall, 90.2 percent among Independents, 88.8 percent among Democrats and 81.8 percent among Republicans.

For reference, congressmen representing the Rockford area vote as follow: U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D) votes with his party 98 percent of the time and has missed just 1 percent of his votes; Obama votes with his party 96 percent of the time and has missed 19 percent of his votes; and U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo (R-16) votes with his party 91.1 percent of the time and has missed 0.9 percent of his votes.

Voting with party

What follows is a ranking of how often candidates running for president who are serving in Congress voted with their parties, from least often to most often, with overall averages in italics:

1. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), 75 percent

2. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), 80 percent

Overall Senate average, 85.4 percent

3. Sen. John McCain, 87 percent

Overall House average, 88.5 percent

4. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), 89.7 percent

5. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), 92 percent

6. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), 92.3 percent

7. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), 95.8 percent

8. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), 96 percent

9. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), 96 percent

10. Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), 97.4 percent

Missing votes

What follows is an overall ranking of the 10 presidential candidates serving in Congress and how they compare when it comes to the percentage of votes missed. Names are listed with the lowest percentage of missed votes first and highest percentage last, and the averages in the House and Senate in italics.

1. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), 3.5 percent

Overall House average, 3.7 percent

Overall Senate average, 4.6 percent

2. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), 8.4 percent

3. Sen Barack Obama (D-Ill.), 19 percent

4. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), 20 percent

5. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), 23.9 percent

6. Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), 25.2 percent

7. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), 26.6 percent

8. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), 28.8 percent

9. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), 39.7 percent

10. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), 48.1 percent

Voting with party/ missing votes average

With their ranking of voting with their party and missing votes averaged, the presidential candidates line up as follows with their average rating listed after their names:

1. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), 2.5

2. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), 4

3. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), 4.5

4. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), 5

5. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), 5.5

6. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), 6

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), 6

7. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), 6.5

8. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), 7

9. Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), 8

Voting record information courtesy of

from the Aug. 29-Sept. 4, 2007, issue

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