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

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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