Campaign Notebook

Analysis backs Scott Brown’s bipartisan claims

Senator Scott Brown has a new piece of evidence to bolster his argument that he is more than willing to cross party lines in the Senate.

Brown, a Republican who is locked in a tough reelection battle with Democrat Elizabeth Warren, is pointing to an analysis that found that, when the parties have split in the Senate, he has voted with Democrats 53 percent of the time since January 2011.

The analysis, based on data from Bloomberg Government, is one of several surveys that have attempted to quantify how frequently Brown and others cross the aisle.


The review compared every vote in the 112th Congress when a majority of one party voted one way and a majority of the other party voted the other way. Bloomberg calls these “party unity votes” and they include parliamentary motions and legislative proposals where a majority of each parties’ members disagree. Votes that a member missed were not included in the calculation.

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The analysis found that Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, crossed party lines most frequently and voted with Democrats 55 percent of the time. Brown, who voted with Democrats 53 percent of the time, was second on the list, followed by Olympia Snowe, a Maine Republican who sided with Democrats 47 percent of the time, and Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican who sided with Democrats 34 percent of the time.

Joe Manchin III of West Virginia was the Democrat who crossed party lines most frequently, siding with Republicans 27 percent of the time. He was followed by Ben Nelson, a Nebraska Democrat who voted with the GOP 25 percent of the time, and Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat who voted with the GOP 23 percent of the time. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, by contrast, voted with Republicans only 5 percent of the time.

Brown’s campaign argues the analysis shows Brown is effectively the most bipartisan member of the Senate because he and Snowe are closest to the 50/50 split. He alluded to the study during a campaign stop in Dorchester on Friday.

“I’m proud of my record of bipartisanship, and I will continue to be an independent voice for Massachusetts who always puts progress ahead of partisanship,” Brown said in a statement Monday. “During these challenging times, it takes moderate and independent voices to break through partisanship and make progress for our country.”


In May, the Globe reported that, on the most important, news-generating votes since he arrived in office in early 2010, Brown joined Republican leaders 76 percent of the time, according to an analysis by Project Vote Smart, a nonpartisan organization.

Brown has often cited a Congressional Quarterly study that found that, in the year 2011, he was the second-most bipartisan senator.

That study found Brown voted with his party 54 percent of the time and with President Obama’s stated positions 70 percent of the time. Congressional Quarterly’s count, like the Bloomberg analysis, tabulated only roll-call votes when Democrats and Republicans were at loggerheads.

The Congressional Quarterly study uses a different methodology than a Washington Post review that found that Brown voted with his party 66 percent of the time. The Post counted all votes, including many that had bipartisan support.

Patrick visits press room, defends out-of-state travels

Governor Deval Patrick, who has been criticized by Republicans for his out-of-state political travel, dropped by the State House press gallery Monday, insisting he is fully engaged in the business of governing.


The rare visit by the governor came after three days that saw him travel to New York City for a gay rights gala and to North Carolina and Virginia to campaign for President Obama.

Republicans had argued that Patrick should be spending more time in Massachusetts, helping to manage the crisis at the state drug lab, which could result in the release of hundreds of inmates.

On Monday, Patrick shot back at his critics.

“I’m glad they missed me,” he said, while sitting on the edge of a battered metal desk in the cluttered press room.

“I’m governor all the time,” Patrick continued. “I’m connected and involved and engaged all the time. And the folks who are playing politics with my doing the political part of my job, I guess I would ask them whether they are making time for their jobs. They should do theirs. I’m going to worry about mine.”

The governor has been traveling frequently this year, attending dozens of Democratic events from California to Minnesota to South Carolina. Along the way, he has spoken to activists and donors from across the country, hoping to fire them up on behalf of Obama’s reelection campaign.

Asked what prompted Monday’s visit with the State House press, Patrick said it had nothing to do with the criticism he has received.

He insisted he wanted to speak to the press “because I missed you,” he said to the journalists. “That’s it.”