Six Florida lawmakers — Sen. Rick Scott, Rep. Matt Gaetz, Rep. Byron Donalds, Rep. Kat Cammack, Rep. Bill Posey, and Rep. Greg Steube — received the Conservative Political Action Conference award for conservative excellence on Wednesday by virtue of scoring higher than 90 percent on the committee’s annual conservative rating.
Donalds scored the highest of the group, receiving a perfect 100 percent, followed closely by Matt Gaetz and Rick Scott with 92 percent and 90 percent, respectively.
“The stakes could not be higher as we head into the 2022 midterms: runaway inflation, a border crisis, spiking crime rates, and a gruesome war abroad, said American Conservative Union Foundation Chairman Matt Schlapp. “While the path forward will not be easy, this year’s ratings provide hope for our future. For example, nine freshmen lawmakers earned a 100% rating, a feat not achieved since 2007. In addition, the freshman Republican class earned, on average, a 10 percent higher rating than the Republicans they replaced (86 percent vs 76 percent).”
To produce this year’s scorecard, the CPAC’s Center for Legislative Accountability analyzed every vote taken during the last session, and selected a wide array of issues relating to fiscal, tax, regulatory, education, defense, environment, Second Amendment rights, election security, life, and government integrity. The CPAC Scorecard includes an extensive compilation of over 20,000 votes cast in the last federal session by all 535 members of Congress across the full spectrum of policy issues.
“The good news for Americans is that there are already dozens of conservative leaders in Congress, ready to implement policies that will reverse the disasters of Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi,” said Schlapp. “These ratings are the most comprehensive measure of how committed elected officials are to advancing freedom and opportunity, and we look forward to welcoming more conservative lawmakers next year.”
The average Republican House member score (82 percent) was found to be slightly higher than that of the average Senator (77 percent) while Democrats, on average, received a 6 percent rating in both the House and the Senate. The highest-rated Democrat, according to CPAC metrics, is West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin at 32 percent.
Despite his high rating, Gaetz is in the throes of a contentious election race against Rebekah Jones.
A poll conducted last month shows Jones leading Gaetz by a 53.5 percent to 45.6 percent margin. In a hypothetical standalone two-way race, the surveyed likely voters favor the challenger over the incumbent by a measure of 52.8 percent to 47.2 percent for a margin of 5.6 percent.
There was past speculation that Gaetz would forego another election cycle, with the lawmaker claiming he was looking to “get out of Washington” during a rally in his hometown of Niceville last year, but upended rumors when he officially filed for candidacy three weeks ago.