Don’t know how I missed this, but the Texas Tribune released an interactive page a week or so ago purporting to show who the liberals and conservatives are in the Texas House. Let’s just say the results aren’t too surprising.
The ratings use methodology employed by Rice political science professor Mark Jones at the Baker Institute. (The web-based application is available here.)
Without endorsing their methodology, it is nonetheless an interesting look at the ideological alliances in the Texas House. They rank lawmakers as “very liberal,” “liberal,” “conservative” and “very conservative.”
Taking a look at the Republicans, a dozen are listed as “liberals.” The most liberal Republican? Deposed legislator Tommy Merritt, defeated by conservative activist David Simpson in the March primary.
Third most liberal on this ranking? Delwin Jones, also defeated in the GOP primary. Fourth? Brian McCall, who chose not to run but whose anointed candidate was handily defeated by conservative Van Taylor.
Other Republicans tagged as “liberal” include House Speaker Joe Straus, Todd Smith, Jim Keffer, Burt Solomons, Todd Hunter, Charlie Geren, Edmund Kuempel, Susan King and Mike Hamilton.
Here’s how the Baker Institute described Speaker Straus’ position in their ratings:
Only nine other Republicans possess a Lib-Cons Score that is lower (more liberal) than Straus’, while 65 have higher scores (more conservative). Given the origins of Straus’s election as speaker (i.e., based on the support of most Democrats and a handful of Republicans) this location is not surprising, but does leave him potentially vulnerable in the January 2011 speaker’s race to a more conservative challenger. (That said, at present Straus is expected be re-elected as speaker).