Throughout his Colorado Senate campaign, GOP challenger Cory Gardner has said that his opponent, incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, voted with President Obama 99 percent of the time.
Udall tried to refute the charge by calling himself an independent Democrat who regularly stands up to the White House.
But a new study by CQ Roll Call backs up the Gardner campaign’s claims.
According to Roll Call, there were 120 votes during the last session in which Obama urged his supporters in the Senate to vote yes or no. The only time Udall disagreed with the president was when he voted against a Pennsylvania judge nominated to a federal bench.
Udall is behind in the polls less than a week before the election, but he’s not the only imperiled Democrat whose voting record anchors him to an unpopular president.
“Indeed, all of the most vulnerable Democrats voted with President Obama at least 96 percent of the time on the 120 votes on which Obama has urged a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote,” Roll Call reported.
Udall, Kay Hagen of North Carolina, Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Al Franken of Minnesota all received scores of 99 percent fealty to the president.
Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Mark Begich of Alaska voted with Obama 98 percent of the time; Mark Pryor of Arkansas agreed 97 percent of the time; and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana voted with the president 96 percent of the time.
But the Roll Call vote analysis offers some fresh context as to why — rather than blame the candidates as being rubber stamps for the president’s agenda, which their Republican opponents are happy to do, the site lays at least some blame on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s decision to avoid tough votes this year has backfired in one respect,” the site wrote. “[I]t gave his vulnerable incumbents few opportunities to show off any independence from President Barack Obama.”
“Reid clamped down on amendments more than ever this year and the bills he brought to the floor were aimed at unifying Democrats and putting Republicans on defense — like a minimum wage hike, an unemployment extension, pay equity or refinancing student loans — rather than bills that would lead to Democratic defections.”
Still, in Udall’s case, when given the opportunity during a debate to single out which items on the president’s agenda he would vote against if reelected, he dodged the question.