Some pundits were amazed that Sen. Robert Bennett was denied re-nomination by a GOP convention in Utah. After all, they said, Bennett earned an American Conservative Union rating of 84 in 2009. How much more should Utah Republicans expect? A lot more in a State that is staunchly Republican and cast more than 62 percent of its votes for McCain in 2008 (trailing only Oklahoma at 66 percent and Wyoming at 65 percent).
It turns out that Bennett’s lifetime ACU rating (83.63) earned him 27th place among the 40 Republicans who sat in the Senate at the end of 2009:
|ACU Lifetime Ratings through 2009: GOP Senators|
Obviously, it would be more difficult — and even foolhardy — for Maine Republicans to eject Senators Collins and Snowe, but there are plenty of firmly-Red States whose GOP constituencies aren’t getting their votes’ worth out of their senators. For example, the following States gave their electoral votes to the not-very-stellar Republican candidates in the last three presidential elections, and yet those States have GOP senators with ACU lifetime ratings below 90:
Alabama — Richard Shelby (75.43 ACU rating)
Alaska — Lisa Murkowski (70.19)
Arizona — John McCain (81.97)
Georgia — Sonny Isakson (89.09)
Kansas — Pat Roberts (86.86)
Kentucky — Mitch McConnell (89.66)
Mississippi — Thad Cochran (80.13)
South Carolina — Lindsey Graham (89.68)
South Dakota — John Thune (87.97)
Tennessee — Lamar Alexander (79.00), Bob Corker (83.33)
Texas — Kay Bailey Hutchison (89.77)
Utah — Orrin Hatch (89.15)
I’ve used bold type to highlight the weakest of the lot, though I’m certainly not enamored of the rest — several of whom (e.g., Thad Cochran, Lindsey Graham, Orrin Hatch, and Kay Bailey Hutchison) hold safe seats and could earn much higher ACU scores, if they chose to do so.
By the way, I have reviewed the ACU’s positions on the votes considered in rating senators for 2009. As a pro-life libertarian hawk, I find myself in agreement with the ACU’s positions on those votes and in agreement with the ACU’s principles.