It wouldn’t have been a great talking point during his 2018 re-election bid, but U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has been one of the members of the Senate most often absent, according to voting records.
In 2017 and 2018 during the 115th Congress, Cruz missed 5.3 percent of roll-call votes, making him the 10th most-often-absent member in the Senate. His Texas colleague and fellow Republican Sen. John Cornyn, meanwhile, missed just 0.3 percent of votes in that period, including a perfect attendance record in 2017.
U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Plano, who retired last year after nearly 30 years in the House, missed 15 percent of votes in 2017-18, ranking him 11th in the House. He missed 6.8 percent of votes during his career, nearly triple the House median of 2.5 percent. A spokesperson, Adrienne Rimmer, told The Texas Monitor last year that hernia surgery caused Johnson to miss many votes in 2017.
On the other end of the list, several Texas members of Congress had sterling records on showing up for votes in that same period. Rep. Michael Cloud, R-Victoria, had a perfect record on casting votes in the past Congress, while Michael Conaway, R-Midland; Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth; and Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio; all missed less than 1 percent of votes over two years.
The information comes from GovTrack.us, which monitors a plethora of congressional data, ranking members of the House and Senate in a number of categories.
Cruz and Johnson have both historically been out of the office a lot. Cruz was the most often absent member of Congress in 2016 when he missed more than 32 percent of votes during his presidential run. Overall, in six years in the Senate, Cruz has missed more than 13 percent of votes, significantly higher than the median 1.4 percent for members of that body.
Billy Gribbin, a Cruz spokesperson, told The Texas Monitor via email that “while the 2018 campaign kept Senator Cruz from certain votes, he remained and continues to be a strong and consistent advocate for the issues that Texans care about most: jobs, economic opportunity, our constitutional rights and the rule of law.”
Josh Tauberer, who created GovTrack, told The Texas Monitor that, not surprisingly, members who are in the midst of campaigns tend to miss more votes than those who aren’t. Presidential candidates, in particular, “drop off the map,” he said.
In 2016, when Cruz missed the most votes in the Senate, the next two most absent members were fellow presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Bernie Sanders.
Seven other members of the Texas delegation in the U.S. House joined Johnson in the top 100 for missed votes, including:
- Ted Poe, R-Humble, at 44th (9.2 percent)
- Eddie Johnson, D-Dallas, at 52nd (8.4 percent)
- John Ratcliffe, R-Heath, and Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, at 79th (6.7 percent)
- Kenny Marchant, R-Coppell, at 89th (6.4 percent)
- Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, at 98th (6.1 percent)
- Key Granger, R-Fort Worth, at 100th (6 percent).
Johnny Kampis can be reached at [email protected].