American Conservative Union Announces Inaugural Conservative Ratings of the Georgia General Assembly

July 9, 2012

ATLANTA, GA – The American Conservative Union (ACU) today announced its inaugural ACU Ratings of the Georgia General Assembly during an event in Atlanta, Georgia, honoring the Peach 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 2012 Georgia Legislative Ratings Guide is now available online at

“On behalf of the American Conservative Union, I am pleased to present our 2012 State Legislative Ratings for members of the Georgia General Assembly,” said ACU Chairman Al Cardenas. “For 40 years ACU has set the gold standard for Congressional ratings, and we are now able to offer that same level of unbiased and transparent information to the voters of the Peach State so they can hold their elected officials accountable at the state level as well.”

Last year, 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 the battleground states of Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and the Commonwealth of Virginia. In the second year of this new program, the ACU is issuing these ratings in fifteen states, based on the legislators’ votes on conservative issues.

The ACU Ratings of the Georgia 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 Peach 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, a strong national defense and traditional values. The votes selected for our inaugural State Legislative Ratings were chosen to create a clear ideological distinction among those casting them.

Chairman Al Cardenas today recognized the winners of the “Defender of Liberty” award, given to those members of the Georgia General Assembly who were present and cast a vote for each adjudicated roll call and scored 100 percent on the ACU 2012 State Legislative Ratings. In the State Senate, these members included John Albers, Charlie Bethel, Mike Crane, Steve Gooch, Bill Heath, William T. Ligon, Jr., Barry Loudermilk, Jeff Mullis, Jack Murphy, Chip Rogers, David Shafer, Lindsey Tippins and Renee S. Unterman. In the House, they are Stephen Allison, Alex Atwood, Paul Battles, Tommy Benton, Ellis Black, Buzz Brockway, Jon G. Burns, John Carson, Amy Carter, David Casas, Mickey Channell, Mike Cheokas, Josh Clark, Doug Collins, Kevin Cooke, Christian Coomer, Katie M. Dempsey, Robert Dickey, Mike Dudgeon, Delvis Dutton, Terry England, Mark Hamilton, Bob Hanner, Buddy Harden, Michael Harden, Brett Harrell, Dustin Hightower, Calvin Hill, Doug Holt, Billy Horne, Penny Houston, Rick Jasperse, Roger Lane, Edward Lindsey, Billy Maddox, Gene Maddox, Judy Manning, Howard Maxwell, John Meadows, Greg Morris, Jay Neal, Randy Nix, Majority Leader Larry O’Neal, B.J. Pak, Butch Parrish, Allen Peake, Tom Rice, Jay Roberts, Carl Rogers, Terry Rogers, Donna Sheldon, Barbara Sims, Lynn Smith, Willie Talton, Darlene Taylor, Sam Teasley, Ben Watson, Chuck Williams, Bruce Williamson and Speaker Pro Tempore Jan Jones.

The winners of the “ACU Conservative” award – given to those members who scored 80 percent or higher – in the State Senate are Don Balfour, John Bulloch, Buddy Carter, Ronnie Chance, Bill Cowsert, John Crosby, Frank Ginn, Greg Goggans, Tim Golden, Johnny Grant, Bill Hamrick, Jack Hill, Judson Hill, Bill Jackson, Rick Jeffares, Joshua McKoon, Fran Millar, Butch Miller, Cecil Staton, Jesse Stone, Ross Tolleson, John Wilkinson and President Pro Tempore Tommie Williams. In the House, winners include: Amos Anderson, Lee Anderson, Paulette Braddock, Charlice Byrd, Valerie Clark, Brooks Coleman, Sharon Cooper, Steve Davis, Tom Dickson, Matt Dollar, Emory Dunahoo, Earl Ehrhart, Bubber Epps, Harry Geisinger, Rich Golick, Gerald E. Greene, Ben Harbin, Matt Hatchett, Bill Hembree, Susan Holmes, Mike Jacobs, Sean Jerguson, Tom Kirby, David Knight, Chuck Martin, Tony McBrayer, Tom McCall, Doug McKillip, Chad Nimmer, Don Parsons, Alan Powell, Jay Powell, Jimmy Pruett, Ann Purcell, Matt Ramsey, Lynne Riley, Ed Rynders, Martin Scott, Ed Setzler, Jason Shaw, Richard H. Smith, Tommy Smith, Kip Smith, Ron Stephens, Jan Tankersley, Tom Taylor, Andrew J. Welch, Tom Weldon, Joe Wilkinson, Wendell Willard, Roger Williams and John P. Yates.

In the Senate, the members who scored an atrocious “zero” on the ratings earned “True Liberals of the Peach State” awards, including: Vincent Fort, Lester Jackson, Donzella James, Miriam Paris. “True Liberals” in the House included: Roberta Abdul- Salaam, Stacey Abrams, Sharon Beasley- Teague, Simone Bell, James Beverly, Tyrone Brooks, Roger Bruce, Dee Dawkins – Haigler, Hugh Floyd, Virgil Fludd, Gloria Frazier, Keith Heard, Joe Heckstall, Michele Henson, Carolyn Hugley, Lynmore James, Darryl Jordan, Dar’shun Kendrick, Pedro Marin, Howard Mosby, Yasmin Neal, Sandra Scott, Pam Stephenson, Rashad Taylor, Keisha Waites, David Wilkerson and “Coach” Williams.

Last month, Chairman Cardenas announced that the legendary Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is going back on the road this fall, hosting the second in a series of 2012 regional CPACs in Denver, Colorado. Scheduled for Thursday, October 4, 2012, at the Crowne Plaza Denver International Airport, CPAC Colorado will energize and mobilize Mountain West conservatives, giving them the tools needed to defeat the liberal agenda in 2012, while also highlighting rising conservative stars and issues in the region. Online registration is now available at

Founded in 1964, the ACU represents the views of Americans who are concerned with economic growth through lower taxes and reduced government spending and the issues of liberty, personal responsibility, traditional values and national security. ACU first began rating members of Congress on key conservative voting issues in 1971, and since then their ratings system has become the most important conservative measuring stick in American politics.

For more information on the American Conservative Union or to download the full 2012 Georgia Legislative Ratings Guide, please visit our website at


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Founded in 1964, the American Conservative Union (ACU) is the original conservative organization in the nation. For more than fifty years, ACU has served as an umbrella organization harnessing the collective strength of conservative organizations fighting for Americans who are concerned with liberty, personal responsibility, traditional values, and strong national defense. As America's premier conservative voice, ACU is the leading entity in providing conservative positions on issues to Congress, the Executive Branch, State Legislatures, the media, political candidates, and the public. Read More

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