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How GOP leadership candidates voted on key issues

There are five declared candidates for the top three leadership positions in the Senate Republican Conference.

As a reminder, the declared candidates for GOP leader are Senate Minority Whip John Thune and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). Senate GOP Conference Chair John Barrasso is running unopposed thus far for whip. And Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) are running for conference chair, the No. 3 position.

One of the many factors that GOP senators will be considering as they mull who to choose for these roles is their voting record. A major criticism of the Mitch McConnell era has been the longtime GOP leader’s willingness to cut deals with Democrats even when it splinters the Republican Conference.

This frustration reached a boiling point after the first two years of Joe Biden’s presidency, which saw the Senate pass several landmark bipartisan bills that united — or nearly united — Democrats but brought along just a sliver of Republicans necessary to overcome a filibuster.

So we thought it would be useful to show how each of the candidates voted on these and other important issues: certifying the 2020 election, same-sex marriage, the $95 billion foreign aid package, the debt-limit deal, CHIPS, infrastructure and the bipartisan gun safety bill.

This is an especially important metric for conservatives, who opposed nearly all of these measures.

“This opportunity to choose a new leader doesn’t come around very often,” said Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.). “We’ve got to be moving forward with broader support from our conference on things.”

Conservatives are looking toward next Wednesday’s GOP Conference meeting where senators will discuss what they want to see in their next leader. Schmitt said this gathering should help Republicans unite around an agenda that can alleviate those concerns.

And it’s not just past votes that GOP senators will be looking at when evaluating the leadership candidates. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has already telegraphed a return to bipartisan legislating after Congress funds the government for the rest of the fiscal year.

So there could be votes on everything from railway safety and cannabis banking legislation to the House’s tax bill. There’s also pending bipartisan legislation on bank executive clawbacks.

— Andrew Desiderio

Presented by The Coalition to Project American Jobs

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Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.