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Who's Conservative? New Group Ranks Lawmakers

The Texas Conservative Roundtable's first legislative rankings are out, and the group has a different view of who is conservative and who isn't than some others who rank lawmakers.

The House chamber below a mostly empty gallery during the final days of the special session on June 27, 2011.

How you rate conservative legislators depends on what you mean by "conservative."

The Texas Conservative Roundtable issued its first legislator scorecard this morning, rating state lawmakers according to their votes on everything from the state budget to fracking to a bill on incandescent light bulbs made in Texas.

TCR is a new group started, its members said, to find consensus on issues facing the state. They aren't running a political action committee, but have said they'll be active during the political season in other ways, including social media and advertising. They've also said they weren't invented as a foil for other groups; that said, their rankings differ significantly from those of some other conservative outfits.

Their top scores went to members who weren't in the top tier of some other conservative report cards — like Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, and Rep. Todd Smith, R-Euless, for example — and some of the regular aces on other reports weren't at the top of the class in this one — a group that includes people like Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, and Rep. Ken Paxton, R-McKinney.

Their rankings, full lists and the explanation of the votes they used are here. For a contrast from another conservative group, take a look at the scorecard issued last year by Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. Or this one, compiled by the Texas Association of Business.

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