GOP tops legislative effectiveness rankings

Republican lawmakers get top marks in effectiveness following takeover of the General Assembly.

Posted Updated

Mark Binker

Republican lawmakers shot to the top of the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research effectiveness rankings after taking over both the House and Senate in 2011.

“Being a member of the political party which has a majority in the legislature is one of four factors that

historically lead to a higher effectiveness ranking – but only one factor,” Ran Coble, who heads the center, said in a news release. That said, it is hard for members of the party out of power to move legislation -- and therefore rise in the rankings -- if it is out of step with the wishes of the majority.


Before 2011, it had been more than a century since Republicans controlled both the House and Senate. Republicans had outright control of the House for four years during the 1990s. 

Coble says the other factors that influence an individual lawmaker's rankings are "how long someone serves in the legislature, whether they chair a committee, and their personal skills in moving bills successfully through the legislature.”

The center's rankings are based on surveys of lawmakers, lobbyists and the media representatives who regularly cover the General Assembly.

On the Senate side, where the GOP holds a veto-proof majority, Republicans take up all the spots in the top 10. Sen. Phil Berger, an Eden Republican and the president pro tempore, holds the top spot followed by Sen. Tom Apodaca, a Hendersonville Republican and Rules Committee Chairman who is widely seen as Berger's top lieutenant. 

Senator2011 NCCPPR RankPhil Berger, R-Rockingham 1Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson 2Richard Stevens, R-Wake 3Pete Brunstetter, R-Forsyth 4Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg 5Harry Brown, R-Onslow 6Fletcher Hartsell, R-Cabarrus 7Jerry Tilliman, R-Randolph 8Neal Hunt, R-Wake 9David Rouzer, R-Johnson 10The top-ranked Democrat in the Senate is Sen. Martin Nesbitt of Asheville who serves as minority leader. Republican, Sen. Jim Davis of Franklin, ranked 41st in the survey, the only Republican to place in the bottom 10 in terms of effectiveness.

On the House side, the results were a bit more interesting. House Speaker Thom Tillis, a Cornelius Republican, placed first followed by Rep. Harold Brubaker, an Asheboro Republican former House Speaker and Budget Committee Chairman. 

Rep. Joe Hackney, a Chapel Hill Democrat and former House Speaker, ranked 13th, but he was not the highest rated member of his party. 

Rep. Jim Crawford, an Oxford Democrat, placed 7th in the House survey, the only Democrat to breach the top 10. Crawford was one of the "gang of five" who voted to override Perdue's budget veto and may have been the highest profile. Other members of the gang placed relatively high as well: Bill Owens of Elizabeth City ranked 14, William Brisson of Dublin ranked 25, Timothy Spear of Creswell ranked 31 and Dewey Hill of Lake Waccamaw checked in at 33. 

It's worth noting those that Hill, Owens and Spear are not running for re-election and that Brisson and Crawford both face primary challenges.

House member2011 NCCPPR RankThom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg 1Harold Brubaker, R-Randolph 2Paul "Skip" Stam, R-Wake 3Tim Moore, R-Cleveland 4David Lewis, R-Harnett 5Mitch Gillespie, R-McDowell 6Jim Crawford, D-Granville 7Dale Folwell, R-Forsyth 8Julia Howard, R-Davie 9Nelson Dollar, R-Wake 10 


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