Friday, March 7, 2008

Magazine ranks Westmoreland ‘Most Conservative’ in House

National Journal magazine ranked U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland in a tie for first place as the “most conservative” member of the House of Representatives based on 2007 voting. Under National Journal’s formula, first place went to eight members with a composite conservative score of 93.3 percent.

“In previous years, when I’ve finished in the top 10 most conservative, I’ve assumed there must be some ‘hanging chad’ problem that messed up the vote tallies,” Westmoreland said. “I think this year’s ranking is most accurate. I represent one of the most conservative districts in one of the most conservative states in the country. I’ve always promised my constituents that I won’t forget where I come from. Georgians in the 3rd District want a congressman who’ll fight for their conservative principles of smaller government, less spending, a strong defense, low taxes and family values. This year’s ranking shows I’ve kept my promises and that I’m on the front lines of the fight for conservatism.”

Westmoreland shares the top spot with seven other Republican members, including two Georgians: Phil Gingrey (11th District) and John Linder (7th District). Even when categorized into economic, social and foreign policy votes, Westmoreland tied for most conservative.

The Georgia Republican delegation, known as the G-7, ranked as the most conservative in the Congress, with a combined conservative score of 90 percent.

“I have long said that the G-7 is the most conservative Republican delegation in the House,” Westmoreland said. “We are a tight-knit group. We meet every single week that we’re in session to talk and coordinate on issues important to Georgia, but we also discuss votes. It serves as a form of accountability to each other. We weigh the pros and cons together and more so than any other delegation we come down on the side of conservatism. The record shows that we don’t always take the most politically easy route. I’m proud that we stand together for fiscal responsibility even on very tough votes, such as when all seven of us opposed the stimulus package last month that was funded purely with more deficit spending. I think most Georgians would agree that the nation would be in much better shape financially if the Congress ran the United States the way that we run Georgia. We may be a lone voice in the wilderness sometimes, but we’re fighting tooth and nail to bring ‘The Georgia Way’ to Washington.”

The National Journal explains it’s tabulations as follows:

The vote ratings were calculated by a panel of National Journal editors and reporters, who compiled a list of 109 key House of Representatives roll-call votes for 2007, and classified them as relating to economic, social, or foreign policy. The votes in each issue area were then subjected to a principal-components analysis, a statistical procedure designed to determine the degree to which each vote resembled other votes in the same category. The yea and nay positions on each roll call were then identified as conservative or liberal.

Each roll-call vote was assigned a weight from 1 (lowest) to 3 (highest), based on the degree to which it correlated with other votes in the same issue area. A higher weight means that a vote was more strongly correlated with other votes and was therefore a better test of economic, social, or foreign-policy ideology. Members were then ranked from the most liberal to the most conservative in each issue area. These rankings were used to assign liberal and conservative percentile ratings to all members of Congress. The conservative figure means that the member voted more conservative than that percentage of his or her colleagues.
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