Published Date: 
Tue, 2014-02-04

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Conservative Union (ACU) today announced its 2013 ACU Ratings of the North Carolina General Assembly, honoring the Tar Heel State’s true conservatives. The nation’s oldest and largest grassroots conservative organization began a new initiative to expand the highly touted ACU Congressional Ratings program to state legislatures, grading members on their votes on key conservative issues. The North Carolina 2013 State Legislative Ratings guide is now available online at

“On behalf of the American Conservative Union, I am pleased to announce the winners of our 2013 State Legislative Ratings for members of the North Carolina General Assembly,” said ACU Chairman Al Cardenas. “For 42 years, ACU has set the gold standard for Congressional ratings, and we are now able to offer that same level of transparent information to the voters of North Carolina so they can hold their elected officials accountable at the state level as well. Legislators in North Carolina are to be congratulated on passing a solid conservative agenda in 2013 that should be a model for the nation.  The list includes broad-based tax relief including repeal of the Death Tax, ending taxpayer funding of abortion, strengthening Second Amendment rights and taking steps to preserve voting integrity, including the elimination of same-day registration.  We urge the Senate to take up HB 8 in their short session to restrict the use of eminent domain to public purposes which passed the House by an overwhelming margin.”

In 2011, the American Conservative Union launched a new initiative to bring its annual Ratings of Congress – considered the gold standard of conservative voter education guides – to the state level, issuing inaugural ratings of state legislators in five battleground states: Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia. In 2012, ACU graded state legislators in 15 critical states and in 2013, they expanded their ratings to 20 states.

The ACU Ratings of the North Carolina General Assembly will include scores for each individual member in both the State Senate and House of Representatives, a description of the votes scored and lists of members receiving special recognition as “Defenders of Liberty,” “ACU Conservatives,” or “True Liberals of the Tar Heel State.”

The ACU tracks a wide range of issues before state legislatures to determine which issues and votes serve as a clear litmus test separating those representatives who defend liberty and liberal members who have turned their backs on our founding principles – constitutionally limited government, individual liberty, free markets, and traditional values. The votes selected for North Carolina 2013 State Legislative Ratings were chosen to create a clear ideological distinction among those casting them.

The ACU “Defender of Liberty” award goes to those members of the North Carolina General Assembly who scored 100 percent on the ACU North Carolina 2013 State Legislative Ratings. In the State Senate, recipients are: Austin M. Allran, Tom Apodaca, Chad Barefoot, Phil Berger, Stan Bingham, Andrew C. Brock, Harry Brown, Peter S. Brunstetter, Bill Cook, David L. Curtis, Jim Davis, Thom Goolsby, Rick Gunn, Kathy Harrington, Ralph Hise, Neal Hunt, Brent Jackson, Wesley Meredith, Louis Pate, Ronald J. Rabin, Shirley B. Randleman, Norman W. Sanderson, Dan Soucek, Jeff Tarte, Jerry W. Tillman, Tommy Tucker and Trudy Wade.

“Defenders of Liberty” in the House include: Dean Arp, Marilyn Avila, John R. Bell, IV, William Brawley, Mark Brody, Rayne Brown, Rob Bryan, Dana Bumgardner, Justin Burr, Jeff Collins, Debra Conrad, N. Leo Daughtry, Ted Davis, Jr., Jimmy Dixon, Nelson Dollar, John Faircloth, Carl Ford, Mike Hager, Jon Hardister, Mark Hollo, Bryan R. Holloway, D. Craig Horn, Julia C. Howard, Pat B. Hurley, Frank Iler, Bert Jones, Jonathan C. Jordan, Donny Lambeth, James Langdon, Jr., Chris Malone, Susan Martin, Pat McElraft, Allen McNeill, Tim D. Moffitt, Tim Moore, Tom Murry, Michele D. Presnell, Dennis Riddell, Stephen M. Ross, Jason Saine, Ruth Samuelson, Jacqueline Michelle Schaffer, Mitchell S. Setzer, Phil Shepard, Michael Speciale, Paul Stam, Edgar V. Starnes, Bob Steinburg, Sarah Stevens, Mike C. Stone, John Szoka, John A. Torbett, Rena W. Turner and Harry Warren.

To be consistent with past ratings, we honor Speaker Thom Tillis as a "Defender of Liberty." It is customary that the Speaker of the House does not cast a vote for every piece of legislation.

The winners of the “ACU Conservative” award – given to those members who scored 80 percent or higher – in the Senate: Tamara Barringer, Warren Daniel, E.S. “Buck” Newton, Bill Rabon and Bob Rucho.

"ACU Conservatives” in the House include: Hugh Blackwell, John M. Blust, James L. Boles, Jr., C. Robert Brawley, Brian Brown, Rick Catlin, George G. Cleveland, Josh Dobson, Jerry C. Dockham, Jeffrey Elmore, Jim Fulghum, Kelly E. Hastings, Charles Jeter, Linda P. Johnson, David R. Lewis, Chuck McGrady, Chis Millis, Larry G. Pittman, Nathan Ramsey, Andy Wells, Roger West and Chris Whitmire.

The members who scored an atrocious “zero” on the ratings, earning “True Liberals of the Tar Heel State” awards, are – in the House: Nathan Baskerville, Susan C. Fisher, Rosa U. Gill, Larry D. Hall, Pricey Harrison, Verla Insko, Paul Luebke, and Deborah K. Ross.

In the Senate: Angela R. Bryant, Daniel G. Clodfelter, Don Davis, Joel D.M. Ford, Malcolm Graham, Eleanor Kinnaird, Floyd B. McKissick, Jr., Martin L. Nesbitt, Jr., Earline W. Parmon, Gladys A. Robinson and Mike Woodard.

For more information on the American Conservative Union or to download the full North Carolina 2013 State Legislative Ratings Guide, please click here or visit our website at