Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


A Profile of the Tea Party Caucus

Bookmark and Share

Caucus members skew southern, average 10 years of service in the House, won their '08 races by 29 points, and represent districts with an average GOP tilt of +14 points

Representative Michele Bachmann's (MN-06) announcement this week of the new Tea Party Caucus in the U.S. House reintroduces the country to some of the more colorful members of Congress.

The most buzzworthy members of the caucus are, of course, Bachmann herself, along with Joe Wilson (SC-02), whose interruption of Barack Obama's address before a Joint Session of Congress last fall led to an extremely lucrative fundraising campaign, and Joe Barton (TX-06), whose apologetic defense of BP during a congressional hearing earlier this summer made him a front page story for a few days.

Smart Politics assembled a collective profile of the 40 Representatives identified as members of the Caucus by Congresswoman Bachmann in a news release updated late Thursday afternoon:

Geography. Twenty-one members hail from the southern region of the country, including 10 members from Texas and four from Georgia. Another ten members represent districts in the Midwest with nine in western states.

Average years of service. The average length of service in the U.S. House for Tea Party Caucus members is 9.9 years (near five full terms).

The most senior members of the caucus are 15-term Congressman Ralph Hall (pictured, TX-04, 29.5 years) and 14-term Representative Dan Burton (IN-05, 27.5 years).

The junior members of the caucus are Freshmen Tom Graves (GA-09), who won a special election last month to fill the vacancy after Nathan Deal decided to run for governor, and Tom McClintock (CA-04), Mike Coffman (CO-06), Lynn Jenkins (KS-02), John Fleming (LA-04), and Cynthia Lummis (WY-AL).

2008 Margin of Victory. As a whole, the caucus represents districts that voted Republican by very comfortable margins in the 2008 election cycle, with an average victory margin of 29.2 points.

Two members did not even face Democratic challengers: Rodney Alexander of Louisiana's 5th CD ran unopposed in 2008, while Louie Gohmert (TX-01), won by 75.2 points over an independent.

Six members of the caucus, however, did face competitive races in 2008 - the aforementioned freshmen Fleming (LA-04, 0.4 points), McClintock (CA-04, 0.6 points), Jenkins (KS-02, 4.8 points), and Lummis (WY-AL, 9.8 points) as well as Bachmann (3.0 points) and Wilson (7.5 points).

District Partisan Voting Index. Another way to illustrate just how far the districts of Tea Party Caucus members tilt Republican is through their Partisan Voting Index (PVI) scores. These 40 districts have an average PVI of +14 GOP, which means they voted 14 points more Republican than the nation as a whole during the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections.

The caucus boasts members from three of the Top 10 most Republican leaning districts in the country: Tom Graves' GA-09 (pictured, +28 GOP, #4), Randy Neugebauer's TX-19 (+26 GOP, #5), and Adrian Smith's NE-03 (+24 GOP, #9).

Twenty-nine of the 40 members represent districts with a PVI of at least +10 Republican. The caucus member representing the district with the smallest Republican tilt is Gus Bilirakis from Florida's 9th CD (+6 GOP, #158).

It is worth noting that Bachmann - who spearheaded this very conservative caucus - represents a district that is just the 142nd most Republican in the country (+7 GOP), and has been the 11th most competitive district since new lines were drawn in 2002. Bachmann's 6th CD in Minnesota has had an average victory margin of just 10.3 points over the last four election cycles including 8.1 points in 2004, 8.0 points in 2006, and 3.0 points in 2008.

Bachmann's '08 victory was the narrowest of all Republican incumbents who won reelection that year.

Exiting Members. At least four members of the caucus will not return to the U.S. House next year. John Shadegg (AZ-03) is retiring, while Jerry Moran (KS-01), Todd Tiahrt (KS-04), and Pete Hoekstra (MI-02) opted to make bids for higher office (U.S. Senate, U.S. Senate, and governor respectively).

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Is Tim Pawlenty Running for a 3rd Term?
Next post: The $32 Million Victory: Wins Not Coming Any Easier for High Payroll Minnesota Twins

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Is There a Presidential Drag On Gubernatorial Elections?

Only five of the 20 presidents to serve since 1900 have seen their party win a majority of gubernatorial elections during their administrations, and only one since JFK.

Political Crumbs

Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting