To the right of Attila? ACU rates Florida lawmakers very conservative

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Almost two thirds of the members of the Florida Legislature — including all but three Republicans and no Democrats — were rated as conservatives in a new report card issued Tuesday by the American Conservative Union, reports the News Service of Florida. The organization, which sponsors the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, unveiled the inaugural Florida rankings as part of a rollout of similar initiatives in five states. There were 14 senators and 52 House members that got a 100 percent score on the nearly 20 bills scored by the ACU, and 11 senators and 29 House members who voted with the group at least 80 percent of the time — high enough to rank as a conservative on the organization’s scale — despite Florida’s reputation as a swing state. “The Legislature is certainly not a swing legislature. … This has been by far the most conservative state we’ve been to,” said Al Cardenas, chairman of the ACU, who stopped by the Capitol to unveil the ratings and meet with lawmakers who made the grade. Of the 11 senators who fell short of a perfect score, three did so because of opposition to an immigration bill that narrowly passed the Senate but died in the House. The organization also designated 18 lawmakers — three senators and 15 House members — as “true liberals” for voting against the ACU 100 percent of the time. The only Republicans to not score at least an 80 were Sens. Paula Dockery of Lakeland, Dennis Jones of Seminole and Evelyn Lynn of Ormond Beach. The highest score for a Democrat was 71 percent by Rep. Leonard Bembry of Greenville; in the Senate, the 53 percent rating by Sen. Gary Siplin of Orlando was tops for Democrats.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.