Friday, April 15, 2011

Rep. Quayle Most Absent Member Of Congress; Unfair Statistic?

The front page of the very non-partisan GovTrack.US website shows freshman Arizona Rep. Ben Quayle (R-CD3) in a very unfavorable light. And, likely an unfairly unfavorable light. "The highest percentage of missed votes" dubious distinction belongs to Quayle, having missed 58 votes since being sworn in three months ago - 22%.

But, a review of the voting records show that Rep. Quayle only missed a Friday-Saturday debate on the 2011 spending in February (18th-19th) - the voting that continued the issue to last weekend when a government shutdown was averted at the last moment. (Quayle voted against that budget deal earlier today.)

During those two days, the House voted 58 times - almost entirely on various amendments.  Quayle has not missed a vote before or since.

His percentage of missed votes is also higher than others who may have missed those two days (including Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who is recovering from the January 8 assassination attempt) because GovTrack calculates the percentage for the Congressperson's entire tenure.  For example, Senator John McCain is the only other Arizonan on the list, and he has missed 10% of votes dating back to his first day i the House (representing much of the same district Quayle currently represents, by the way) in 1983.

It is unclear why Quayle was not there, or where he was.  Our records show no scheduled constituent events, his website yields no clues, he did Tweet several times on the 18th but do not answer the question, and his spokesperson has not responded to Arizona's Politics e-mailed request.

Regardless, statistics can often be painful, but much of that pain can be dulled once the evidence behind the statistic is looked at more closely.  Nevertheless, it is not hard to imagine that the missed votes from those two days may find their way into some political ads next year.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.


Pamela Gorman said...

I inquired when he missed that important vote and was informed he was attending a funeral.

Mitch M. said...

Freaky! At about the same moment you commented, I was reading the Republic report(from Wednesday) on the 3 House freshmem and saw that it mentioned Quayle missed the vote for a funeral. I came over to the computer to send his office another e-mail to confirm. (Thanks, you're the second source! ;-))

Thanks, Ms. Gorman. I appreciate that you're reading the blog, that you're contributing, and that you're keeping an eye on your Representative/former competition.

Unknown said...

Perhaps this is not a foreshadowing, however he was also law associate who took 5 years to pass the bar. So not a particularly auspicious beginning for the silver spoon fed congressman.

Mitch M. said...

I don't think I follow your point, Thomas. Especially given Pam's comment above.

(btw, I apologize for the typos in my 4/16 comment.)