In the free-market Club for Growth's just-released 2009 Congressional Scorecard, the average score for Michigan's Republican members of Congress is more than a dozen percentage points below the average score of 82.7 percent posted by all GOP members in Congress.

U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland, scored 85 percent. His score is the best from Michigan and the only one to exceed the Republican national average. This is the fifth year in a row that Hoekstra has exceeded the GOP national average, going back to 2005, the first year that the Club's scorecard was tabulated. If Hoekstra's score is removed from the most recent ranking, then the remaining average for the six other Michigan Republicans drops to just 68.2 percent.

The average 2009 score for all U.S. House members, regardless of party, is 39.5 percent.

Each spring, the D.C.-based advocacy group provides a ranking for the previous year of legislative activity in Congress. For 2009, 27 criteria were used, including 24 key roll call votes impacting economic freedom. The Club assigns a weighted scale, based upon the benefit provided or damage done by each action. As examples, highly important matters such as federalized health care and cap-and-trade legislation were worth 10 points each for a "no" vote, while a less consequential vote to reign in a prevailing wage law was worth just one point for a "yes" vote.

In addition to the Congressional Scorecard, the Club is also known for its "RePork Card" ranking of earmark spending, which has been the subject of previous Michigan Capitol Confidential articles. (See and

But the Club's most significant impact has been at the ballot box, where the group has aggressively targeted politicians of both parties who fail to measure up to its free-market principles. Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah and Republican-turned-Democrat Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania are the most recent lawmakers who will not be returning to Congress in 2010 due to significant financing provided by the Club for Growth to defeat them.

The Washington Post on May 8 specifically credits them with doing in Bennett:

"While state Republicans had expressed uneasiness with Bennett, it was the DC-based Club for Growth that helped crystallize that opposition. The Club spent more than $200,000 on a combination of television ads, direct mail pieces and phone calls designed to influence the 3,500 (or so) delegates who attended Saturday's state convention."

The next-best GOP score from Michigan in the 2009 Congressional Scorecard is U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, at 82 percent. The worst GOP score is U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Twp., at 60 percent.

Retiring Congressman Bart Stupak, D-Menominee, is the highest scoring Democrat at 13 percent. Both of Michigan's Democrat U.S. senators scored just 3 percent, and three of Michigan's U.S. House Democrats earned a zero percent.

Hoekstra's 2009 score is five points short of the 90 percent cutoff required for the Club's "Defender of Economic Freedom" award, which was won this year by 58 U.S. Representatives and 22 U.S. Senators — all Republicans. Overall, nine Republicans from the U.S. House and six from the Senate scored a perfect 100 percent.

"2009 was a tough year for the cause of limited government and economic liberty, but the Club's scorecard shows a silver lining," said Club President Chris Chocola. "Many Republicans are starting to rediscover their pro-growth, pro-freedom roots. Hopefully, all of Washington will start to realize the benefits of expanding economic freedom, and the costs of expanding government."

The ranking for each of the Michigan members in Congress is listed below.

Contact information for all lawmakers is at


2009 Club for Growth Congressional Scorecard Rankings for Michigan Delegation:

Average of all Republicans in U.S. House = 82.7%

Average of all members in U.S. House = 39.5%










Hoekstra, Peter






Rogers, Michael J.






Camp, Dave






Upton, Fred






McCotter, Thaddeus






Ehlers, Vernon






Miller, Candice






Stupak, Bart






Peters, Gary






Schauer, Mark






Levin, Sander






Kilpatrick, Carolyn






Dingell, John






Conyers, John






Kildee, Dale



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