A Few Observations from the 2017 Conservative Index

The legislature’s shift to the left is reflected in the precipitous decline of the members’ scores on the 2017 Conservative Index (see the scores here), published annually by The Oklahoma Constitution. The Index is not exhaustive but provides a snapshot of how your representatives voted over the last year. We at OCA have dissected the scores, and here are a few observations.

  • The average lifetime score for current State Legislators is 46.7, meaning they voted in a conservative fashion 46.7% of the time. For 2017, that average score fell to 31.2, meaning that in 2017, members of the House and Senate voted for limited government 15% less often than usual.
  • Most of the blame lies with the so-called Republicans. While the Democrats’ average barely moved from 36.5 lifetime to 35.8 for 2017, the average Republican score fell by nearly 20 points! (49.6 lifetime to 31.2 for 2017)
  • 16 Republicans dropped by 40 or more points from their lifetime scores, including Speaker of the House Charles McCall (R-Atoka), while 10 Democrats increased their scores, some to over 50%.
  • The Democrats who represent Norman now appear to be far from the most liberal members of the Legislature: In 2017, 48 House and Senate Republicans voted less conservative than Claudia Griffith (D-Norman) and a whopping 57 voted less conservative than Emily Virgin (D-Norman).
  • For some Republicans, like Ervin Yen (R-OKC), John Enns (R-Enid), Mark McBride (R-Moore), and Tess Teague (R-Choctaw), their most conservative votes recorded in the Index were those they missed.

When the Republicans cast such liberal votes and there are so few Democrats in the State Senate that they can carpool to work in one vehicle, the Republican Party needs to get its act together or it owns all of the big government mess that comes out of 23rd and Lincoln.

—OCA Board

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