UPDATE: Newell’s colleague, Sen. Brophy, weighed in on her ranking, saying, “Senator Newell has such a sweet demeanor, I was surprised to see how unbelievably partisan her voting record is. She’s clearly too extreme for that swing district.”
Anyone who has gone to one of Democratic State Senator Linda Newell’s town halls knows that she loves to pontificate about how bipartisan she is. In fact, her alleged bi-partisanship is a key character in a campaign ad that makes The Innocence of Muslims look like a major studio production. The only problem? Her rhetoric is simply not true, and likely spouted because she’s one of the most partisan Democrats in the state legislature running in a district that leans Republican in performance, and is fairly evenly divided among the three parties – Republican: 31.8%, Democrats: 33.7%, and Unaffiliateds: 33.6%.
The truth is that Sen. Linda Newell is the most partisan Senator running for re-election in this cycle. No really. An analysis of partisan voting patters in the Colorado State Senate on 3rd Reading (or Final) Votes in the 2012 Session found Newell to be tied for third as most partisan Democrat Senators, having voted with her Democrats 99.2% of the time. In fact, there was only one time (out of 353 final votes) that she didn’t vote with her party, and that was on an appropriations bill that would have passed with or without her.
The other “hyper-partisan” Democrats listed in this analysis include Senators John Morse and Lois Tochtrop (tied for first place with 99.7% party loyalty), and then the three tied for third with Newell, including Senators Betty Boyd, Bob Bacon, and Brandon
Shafted Shaffer (each with 99.2% party loyalty).
Even more surprising (given her insistence that she’s a bipartisan legislator) is that Newell voted with the Democratic Party more consistently than renowned Boulder liberal Rollie Heath, or even Morgan Carroll, the Senate Democrat Caucus Chair. Newell’s lone “no” vote stands in stark contrast to a typical Republican voting ”no” 66 times, and even the least partisan Republican voted “no” 23 times.
Not only was Newell perfectly willing to carry the water for the Democratic party, but her votes were relied upon by party leadership to kill Republican Senate bills. Twenty-six Senate Republican bills were killed on straight party line votes, and six of those (or nearly 25%) were killed with Newell’s aid.
Linda Newell is purposely skewing her record so she seems more moderate, but the truth is that Newell is one of the most partisan legislators in the Colorado State Legislature. Senator Newell, let’s be honest, you’re simply a party loyalist who has found herself in a bind for this election.