Election update: ‘Radical centrist’ Sen. Mark Warner rated bullish on tax hikes

Election update: ‘Radical centrist’ Sen. Mark Warner rated bullish on tax hikes

Sen. Mark Warner, the self-proclaimed “radical centrist,” isn’t so middle-of-the-road when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars. The Virginia Democrat, seeking re-election this year, received an “F” from the National Taxpayers Union.

The NTU ranked his votes on fiscal bills at 14%. That’s hardly moderate in a Harry Reid-run Senate where the average score was 42%, and where Republicans are in the minority.

Warner’s voting record has been nothing if not consistent. He pulled down two D’s and two F’s in the past four years. His highest score in the NTU rankings was 19%.

“Our ratings show Senator Warner may well be a ‘radical centrist’ — radical when it comes to taxing and spending taxpayer dollars, moderate when it comes to saving them,” NTU spokesman Doug Kellogg told this reporter.

One of the most telling, and crucial, votes by the senator was on the Internet sales tax mandate. Warner co-sponsored the Marketplace Fairness Act, which passed the Senate last year and is now in the House Judiciary Committee.

Said Kellogg:

Votes in favor of MFA were the second most heavily and negatively weighted in our rating,” . It was second only to the continuing budget resolution, which Warner also supported.

Ed Gillespie, Warner’s Republican opponent in the fall election, derided Warner’s campaign as a bipartisan pose. Gillespie spokesman Paul Logan noted:

Mark Warner said he would be an independent voice and a pro-business Democrat, but he votes with President Obama 97% of the time for job-killing policy after job-killing policy.

His partisan voting record shows that Mark Warner is not the senator he said he would be.

Logan said Gillespie supports a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis argues that neither major-party candidate passes the fiscal test. Sarvis said Warner’s failing grade “is another strong indicator that he hasn’t been the ‘radical centrist’ he promised.”

But, he added:

If you look back at past NTU scorecards, you can see why Ed Gillespie [former chairman of the Republican National Committee] can’t be trusted to rein in big government.

In 2013, the average score for Republican senators was 81, but in 2008, it was just 57, and was never higher than 73 while George W. Bush was office.

The Senate needs leaders who will stand up to bloated budgets, no matter who is in the White House.

Nicholas Cote, spokesman for Sarvis’ campaign, says the Libertarian is the only candidate in the race opposing the Marketplace Fairness Act.

Virginia freshman Sen. Tim Kaine, another self-styled moderate Democrat, also earned an F grade from NTU. His score was 11%.

Neither Warner nor Kaine responded to requests for comment.

Read more by Kenric Ward at Watchdog.com.

Kenric Ward

Kenric Ward

Kenric Ward is a national correspondent and writes for the Texas Bureau of Watchdog.org. Formerly a reporter and editor at two Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers, Kenric has won dozens of state and national news awards for investigative articles. His most recent book is “Saints in Babylon: Mormons and Las Vegas.”


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