Americans United for Change launches Tea Party scorecard

Progressive group Americans United for Change is launching a new campaign that seeks to tie vulnerable Republicans in swing districts to the Tea Party.

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The group is making the connection between the swing-district Republicans and the conservative movement, which Democrats believe is politically advantageous because of the Tea Party’s low popularity nationwide, with a new scorecard that ranks lawmakers by votes AUFC sees as aligned with Tea Party values.

The group included 48 House votes, many of which appear on the scorecards of major conservative groups like Americans for Prosperity or the Club for Growth. Some of the votes, however, aren’t typically scored by those groups.

It includes, for instance, every vote taken during the government shutdown to fund some parts but not all of the government, a tactic proposed by House Republicans largely as a symbolic response to public backlash over the shutdown and a way to get Democrats on record on tough votes.

Vulnerable Reps. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), Gary Miller (R-Calif.), Joe Heck (R-Nev.), Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) and Scott Rigell (R-Va.), all of whom represent districts Obama won last cycle, have ratings higher than 80 percent on the scorecard.

“Voters deserve better. Whether they embrace the Tea Party ideology or despise it or fall anywhere in between, they have a right to know where their elected representatives fall on the Tea Party spectrum - not where they say they fall, but how they actually vote,” said AUFC President Brad Woodhouse in a statement.

"That is what the Tea Party Scorecard provides. What it proves, unfortunately for non-extremists who are represented by Republicans, is that there is no longer a meaningful distinction between the Tea Party and the Republican Party in American politics today," he added.

A December Gallup poll showed the Tea Party’s favorability at 30 percent, an all-time low for the movement.

The scorecard is the start of a major offensive effort from AUFC against the Tea Party. The group is promising an extended campaign with on-air attacks and further polling to fight back against the Tea Party heading into the 2014 elections.

National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Tyler Houlton suggested in a statement that the scorecard was an attempt by Democrats "to cover up their support for ObamaCare and the disastrous consequences it's having" on families and small businesses.

“Washington Democrats have no room to talk when they voted to put their loyalty to ObamaCare ahead of supporting funding for our troops, veterans, and cancer research for children," he said.

--This piece was updated at 3:45 p.m. to reflect comment from the NRCC.