Published Date: 
Thu, 2013-11-21

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Conservative Union (ACU) today announced its first annual ACU Ratings of the Minnesota State Legislature, honoring the North Star 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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota State 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 Minnesota so they can hold their elected officials accountable at the state level as well. In our second year rating the North Star State, we applaud conservatives in the Minnesota State Legislature, who continue to take a stand against Obamacare and continue to fight for education reform, Second Amendment rights, and lower taxes.”

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. Last year, ACU graded state legislators in 15 critical states and this year they are expanding their ratings to 20 states. The ACU Ratings of the Minnesota State Legislature 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 North Star 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 Minnesota Legislative Ratings were chosen to create a clear ideological distinction among those casting them.

ACU today recognized the winners of the “Defender of Liberty” award, given to those members of the Minnesota State Legislature who were present and cast a vote for each adjudicated roll call and scored 100 percent on the 2013 State Legislative Ratings. In the House of Representatives, the recipients are Tony Albright, Mark Anderson, Paul Anderson, Sarah Anderson, Michael Beard, Mike Benson, Kurt Daudt, Matt Dean, Bob Dettmer, Steve Drazkowski, Sondra Erickson, Dan Fabian, Mary Franson, Steve Green, Glenn Gruenhagen, Tom Hackbarth, Jerry Hertaus, Mary Liz Holberg, Joe Hoppe, Brian Johnson, Ernie Leidiger, Kathy Lohmer, Pam Myhra, Jim Newberger, Bud Nornes, Tim O’Driscoll, Joyce Peppin, John Petersburg, Cindy Pugh, Duane Quam, Linda Runbeck, Peggy Scott, Chris Swedzinski, and Anna Wills. In the State Senate, the recipients are Bruce Anderson, Michelle Benson, David Brown, Roger Chamberlain, Michelle Fischbach, Paul Gazelka, Dan Hall, David Hann, Karin Housley, Bill Ingebrigtsen, Mary Kiffmeyer, Warren Limmer, Scott Newman, Sean Nienow, Julianne Ortman, David Osmek, Eric Pratt, David Sanjem, and Dave Thompson.

The winners of the “ACU Conservative” award – given to those members who scored 80 percent or higher – in the House of Representatives are Bob Barrett, Tony Cornish, Greg Davids, David FitzSimmons, Pat Garofalo, Bob Gunther, Jeff Howe, Tim Kelly, Andrea Kieffer, Debra Kiel, Ron Kresha, Jennifer Loon, Tara Mack, Joe McDonald, Denny McNamara, Marion O’Neil, Tim Sanders, Joe Schomacker, Tama Theis, Paul Torkelson, Mark Uglem, Dean Urdahl, Kelby Woodard, Kurt Zellers, and Nick Zerwas. In the State Senate, the recipients are Gary Dahms, Jeremy Miller, John Pederson, Branden Petersen, Julie Rosen, Carrie Ruud, and Bill Weber.

The members who scored an atrocious “zero” on the ratings, earning “True Liberals of the North Star State” awards, are – in the House of Representatives – Tom Anzelc, Joe Atkins, John Benson, Connie Bernardy, Lyndon Carlson, Sr., Raymond Dehn, Andrew Falk, Mike Freiberg, Alice Hausman, Debra Hilstrom, Frank Hornstein, Melissa Hortman, Clark Johnson, Sheldon Johnson, Phyllis Kahn, Carolyn Laine, Ann Lenczewski, John Lesch, Carlos Mariani, Carly Melin, Will Morgan, Michael Paymar, John Persell, Joe Radinovich, Steve Simon, Erik Simonson, Linda Slocum, Mike Sundin, and Paul Thissen. The true liberals in the State Senate are Thomas Bakk, Jim Carlson, Bobby Joe Champion, Richard Cohen, D. Scott Dibble, Kari Dziedzic, Chris Eaton, Kent Eken, Barb Goodwin, Foung Hawj, Jeff Hayden, Alice Johnson, Tony Lourey, John Marty, James Metzen, Sandra Pappas, Roger Reinert, Tom Saxhaug, Matt Schmit, Kathy Sheran, Katie Sieben, Rod Skoe, David Tomassoni, Patricia Torres Ray, Charles Wiger, and Melissa Wiklund.

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