Sanders, Cruz leading Senate in missed votes in 2016
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Sanders missed more votes than any other senator during the first quarter of 2016, skipping 37 of the Senate's 38 roll call votes, according to GovTrack. 
 
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It's the first time Sanders has led the Senate in missed votes since announcing his presidential bid last year, and he has greatly surpassed previous candidates' records. 
 
During the same period in 2008, then-Sen. Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Don't expect a government check anytime soon Trump appointees stymie recommendations to boost minority voting: report Obama's first presidential memoir, 'A Promised Land,' set for November release MORE (D-Ill.) missed more than 36 percent of votes, and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillicon Valley: FBI chief says Russia is trying to interfere in election to undermine Biden | Treasury Dept. sanctions Iranian government-backed hackers The Hill's Campaign Report: Arizona shifts towards Biden | Biden prepares for drive-in town hall | New Biden ad targets Latino voters FBI chief says Russia is trying to interfere in election to undermine Biden MORE (D-N.Y.) missed almost 45 percent, according to GovTrack. 
 
While Sanders takes the Senate's top spot this quarter, Cruz is in a close second. The Texas Republican has missed 36 of the Senate's 38 roll call votes so far this year. 
 
His last vote was cast on Feb. 10 to crack down on North Korea after Pyongyang said it tested a hydrogen bomb. 
 
Cruz has repeatedly missed more votes than many of his Senate colleagues since launching his presidential campaign. Only Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioFlorida senators pushing to keep Daylight Savings Time during pandemic Hillicon Valley: DOJ indicts Chinese, Malaysian hackers accused of targeting over 100 organizations | GOP senators raise concerns over Oracle-TikTok deal | QAnon awareness jumps in new poll Intelligence chief says Congress will get some in-person election security briefings MORE (R-Fla.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's Campaign Report: Arizona shifts towards Biden | Biden prepares for drive-in town hall | New Biden ad targets Latino voters Senate Democrats' campaign arm announces seven-figure investment to boost Graham challenger Graham: Comey to testify about FBI's Russia probe, Mueller declined invitation MORE (R-S.C.) missed more votes in 2015. 
 
The first quarter of 2016, however, is the first time he has missed a larger percent of votes than Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe electoral reality that the media ignores Kelly's lead widens to 10 points in Arizona Senate race: poll COVID response shows a way forward on private gun sale checks MORE (R-Ariz.) did during McCain's presidential campaign.
 
Cruz missed almost 95 percent of the Senate's roll call votes during the first three months of 2016, while McCain missed almost 59 percent during the same period in 2008. 
 
The presidential election has swung into high gear, with the two senators battling for delegates across the country in each party's primary elections, fighting against front-runners Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHR McMaster says president's policy to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is 'unwise' Cast of 'Parks and Rec' reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response MORE and Clinton.
 
Many of the votes the two senators missed were either procedural or situations where their votes wouldn't have changed the outcome. But they've also skipped voting on legislation to combat opioid addiction — a major issue that has been in the spotlight during the campaign. 
 
Clinton's camp took a swing at Sanders earlier this year after he missed the vote on new sanctions against North Korea. 
 
"It is unfortunate that yet again, Sen. Sanders has shown a lack of interest in vital national security issues," Clinton campaign spokesman Jesse Ferguson said after the vote.
  
Sanders said he was "necessarily absent" during the North Korea vote, but that the increased sanctions were "absolutely essential" to ending North Korea's nuclear program. 
 
Cruz's campaign has also defended his ability to balance his job in the Senate with the presidential race. Being on the campaign trail didn't stop Cruz from temporarily blocking the Senate from confirming State Department nominees, and he also temporarily put a hold on the Senate's energy reform bill and Flint, Mich., aid package.
 
He's not the only Republican who has faced questions about his voting record. Rubio, who ended his campaign earlier this year, caught frequent flak for missing votes. 
 
The Florida Republican has defended his record, saying he votes when he believes he can make a difference in the outcome or on important pieces of legislation. Rubio is retiring at the end of his current term.
 
Rubio missed more votes than any other senator in 2015. He also comes in third — behind Sanders and Cruz — for the most votes missed during the first quarter of 2016. 
 
He returned to the Senate earlier this month and voted to hold classified ads site Backpage.com and its chief executive in contempt. 
 
The vote marked Rubio's fourth roll call vote so far this year.