Published Date: 
Thu, 2014-02-06

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Conservative Union (ACU) today announced its 2013 ACU Ratings of the New Jersey Legislature, honoring the Garden 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 New Jersey 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 New Jersey Legislature,” 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 New Jersey so they can hold their elected officials accountable at the state level as well. Conservatives in the New Jersey Legislature are to be commended for opposing a laundry list of liberal bills in 2013 that weaken Second Amendment rights, give unions control over state projects and increases taxpayer funding of abortions.”

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, New Jersey, North Carolina 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 New Jersey Legislature will include scores for each individual member in both the State Senate and Assembly, a description of the votes scored and lists of members receiving special recognition as “Defenders of Liberty,” “ACU Conservatives,” or “True Liberals of the Garden 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 New Jersey 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 New Jersey Legislature who scored 100 percent on the ACU New Jersey 2013 State Legislative Ratings. In the State Senate, recipients are: Michael Doherty, Steven Oroho, Kevin O’Toole and Joseph Pennacchio.

“Defenders of Liberty” in the Assembly include: Mary Pat Angelini, Jon Bramnick, Tony M. Bucco, Michael Patrick Carroll, Caroline Casagrande, Robert Clifton, John DiMaio, DiAnne Gove, Amy Handlin, Gregory McGuckin, Nancy Munoz, Declan O’Scanlon, Jr., Erik Peterson, Scott Rumana, David Russo, Bob Schroeder, Donna Simon and Jay Webber.

The winners of the “ACU Conservative” award – given to those members who scored 80 percent or higher – in the Senate: Dawn Marie Addiego, Christopher Bateman, Jennifer Beck, Anthony R. Bucco, Gerald Cardinale, Christopher Connors, James Holzapfel, Thomas Kean, Jr., Joseph Kyrillos, Jr. and Samuel Thompson.

"ACU Conservatives” in the Assembly include: Jack Ciattarelli, Ronald Dancer, BettyLou DeCroce, Sean Kean, Alison Littell McHose, David Rible, Scott Rudder, Brian Rumpf, Holly Schepisi, Parker Space and David Wolfe.

The members who scored an atrocious “zero” on the ratings, earning “True Liberals of the Garden State” awards, are – in the Senate: James Beach, Barbara Buono, Richard Codey, Sandra Cunningham, Nia Gill, Robert Gordon, Linda Greenstein, Raymond Lesniak, Fred Madden, Jr., Donald Norcross, Nellie Pou, Ronald Rice, M. Teresa Ruiz, Paul Sarlo, Nicholas Scutari, Bob Smith, Brian Stack, Stephen Sweeney, Shirley Turner, Joseph Vitale, Loretta Weinberg and Jim Whelan.

The “True Liberals” in the Assembly are: Peter Barnes, III, Daniel Benson, John Burzichelli, Ralph Caputo, Marlene Caride, Upendra Chivukula, Herb Conaway, Jr., Christopher Connors, Craig Coughlin, Joseph Cryan, Wayne DeAngelo, Patrick Diegnan, Jr., Joseph Egan, Timothy Eustace, Angel Fuentes, Thomas Giblin, Jerry Green, Louis Greenwald, Reed Gusciora, Mila Jasey, Angelica Jimenez, Gordon Johnson, Pamela Lampitt, Charles Mainor, John McKeon, Paul Moriarty, Gabriela Mosquera, Jason O’Donnell, Sheila Oliver, Vincent Prieto, Annette Quijano, Ruben Ramos, Jr., Celeste Riley, Gary Schaer, Troy Singleton, L. Grace Spencer, Linda Stender, Shavonda Sumter, Cleopatra Tucker, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Connie Wagner, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Gilbert Wilson, Benjie Wimberly and John Wisniewski.

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