The 2018 Oklahoma Conservative Index
Oklahoma's Conservative Newspaper since 1979
This issue of the Oklahoma Constitution presents the 40th annual Oklahoma Conservative Index, rating our state legislators. Members of each house of the Oklahoma Legislature were rated on ten key votes. A favorable vote on these issues represents a belief in fiscal responsibility, individual liberty, free enterprise, and constitutional government.
After taking suggestions from conservative leaders, the staff of the Oklahoma Constitution submitted bills to a vote of the membership of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee (OCPAC) to determine the ten key votes. The legislators were rated based on their votes on bills involving taxes, interference in free markets, protecting liberty, and the right to keep and bear arms.
To determine this year’s rating, 10 points were earned for each conservative vote (designated by a C), and no points are awarded for a liberal vote (indicated by an L). Each failure to vote (recorded as a Z) provides only three points. When the rating system was created in 1979, it was decided that there should be a difference between voting liberal, and missing a vote. A legislator absent for all the votes could only score 30%, which is our recommended score for seeking a replacement.
Thus, a legislator voting conservative on eight votes, liberal on one, and failing to vote on another, would receive eighty plus three, or an 83% conservative rating.
This year’s conservative rating was averaged with the legislator’s scores from any previous years of service to obtain the Cumulative Average score for all the years that legislator has been rated. With term limits, we have moved into a period when no legislator will have a cumulative score based on a period longer than twelve years. However, a few former legislators with service prior to the term limits law were later elected to their current positions. The scores of legislators with previous service are included in their cumulative average.
By examining this year’s score in relation to the Cumulative Average, the voting pattern of a particular legislator can be determined. While most score nearly the same, year after year, others trend upward or downward from their average. If your legislator is trending toward conservatism, please offer you encouragement and support. If your legislator is exhibiting a leftward trend, it is time to express your disappointment and suggest the need for a replacement if the trend is not reversed.
The average score in the House this year was 43%, compared to 32% last year. The Senate averaged 48% conservative this year, compared to 33% last year. There were 21 legislators who scored 70%, or better this year, compared to only 12 who scored 70%, or better, last year. We suggest you commend all of these lawmakers.
Readers should consider replacing those who scored 30%, or less, while giving close scrutiny to those who scored between 30% and 70%.
There were a few vacancies during the legislative session due to the resignation of a legislator. Since those legislators were not present for all of the votes, they were not rated. Newly elected Rep. Brad Boles (R-Marlow), and Sen. David Holt (R-OKC) who resigned after being elected Oklahoma City mayor, were vacant for part of the session. They were not rated, although there votes on the bills for which they were present are included. The votes on bills that occurred when there seats were vacant are recorded with a V.
The Top Conservative and Top Liberal legislators were selected by their scores on the Index. Making the Top Conservatives list were those lawmakers who scored 80%, or better. On the Top Liberals list were those making less than 20%.
THE TOP CONSERVATIVES
Three legislators, two in the House and one in the Senate, scored a perfect 100% conservative rating this year. House members scoring 100% were Tom Gann (R-Inola) and Jason Murphey (R-Guthrie). Senator Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) also scored 100%.
The next highest score was 93%, made by Representative Chuck Stohm (R-Jenks) and Anthony Sykes (R-Moore)of the Senate. Scoring 90% were Jeff Coody (R-Grandfield) and Sean Roberts (R-Hominy) of the House, and Josh Brecheen (R-Coalgate) of the Senate. Kevin Calvey (R-OKC), George Faught (R-Muskogee) and Rick West (R-Heavener) of the House all scored 83%.
Representative Travis Dunlap (R-Bartlesville), Mike Ritze (R-Broken Arrow), and Kevin West (R-Moore) of the House scored 80%, along with Rob Standridge (R-Norman) of the Senate, completing the list of Top Conservatives.
THE TOP LIBERALS
While no legislators scored zero conservative this year, two legislators, both in the Senate only scored a dismal 3 percent conservative: Kay Floyd (D-OKC) and John Sparks (D-Norman). Kevin Matthews of Tulsa scored a mere 6 percent conservative. Other low scores were compiled by Representatives Mickey Dollens (D-OKC), and Jason Dunnington (D-OKC), both making only 9%. Other legislators who scored less than 20% conservative on this year’s Index included Forrest Bennett (D-OKC), William Fourkiller (D-Stilwell), Claudia Griffith (D-Norman), Katie Henke (R-Tulsa), Ben Loring (D-Miami), Jason Lowe (D-OKC), Mark McBride (R-Moore), Monroe Nichols (D-Tulsa), Brian Renegar (D-McAlester), Emily Virgin (D-Norman), Collin Walke (D-OKC), and George Young (D-OKC), of the House and Michael Brooks (D-OKC), Anastasia Pittman (D-OKC), and Ervin Yen (R-OKC) of the Senate.