Presidential candidates missed the most votes in Congress last year

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Posted: Jan 19, 2017 2:53 PM
Presidential candidates missed the most votes in Congress last year

The thing about running for president is you’re going to miss a lot of work.

The annual report card for the 114th Congress from congressional tracking website GovTrack.us shows that the three U.S. senators who tried to move from the Capitol to the White House also missed the most votes in 2016.

AP photo

ABSENT: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, missed nearly a third of Senate roll call votes while running for president in 2016.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, lead the way by missing 32.3 percent of the 502 votes cast in 2016, followed by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., with 31.3 percent. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders from Vermont, an independent who’s actually among the most liberal members of the Senate, missed 28.5 percent of the votes.

Josh Tauberer, creator of GovTrack, told Watchdog.org that’s a very common occurrence during a presidential election.

“Everybody, when they run for president, they stop voting because they’re campaigning,” he said.

Among the senators in the top 10 for missed votes were three who left the Senate after the 114th Congress: Sen. David Vitter, R-La., with 15.1 percent (fifth), Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., 13.3 percent (sixth) and Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., 12.2 percent (seventh).

Those members of Congress who aren’t running for re-election are no longer beholden to voters, though Tauberer said he hasn’t examined the numbers closely enough over the years to see if there’s a pattern of high numbers of missed votes for those leaving office.

Twelve senators missed no votes in 2016, including such notables as Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who hasn’t missed a vote in 23 years, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

View the total missed votes for each member of the Senate here, and for the House here.

Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., was not present for 29.3 percent of 1,325 House votes cast last year, topping that list. She’s also out the Capitol door for the 115th Congress after losing a Senate race. So is Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., who missed 27.3 percent of votes for the dubious runner-up position.

Six representatives missed at least 20 percent of votes, while 11 missed no votes.

GovTrack notes that missed votes are not calculated for the Speaker of the House because the Speaker is not required to vote in “ordinary legislative proceedings,” according to House rules.