In the News
How effective are former governors as legislators in Congress?
As part of our Madison Initiative on U.S. democracy, we support a number of organizations (including those mentioned below) that work to strengthen Congress’s ability to solve problems in ways that most Americans support. Several of these organizations have honed in on the role that former governors play in the Senate and how they operate as legislators in an era of intense partisanship.
They’re less ideologically extreme (so are their donors).
- The Monkey Cage and the Legislative Capacity Working Group, a project of The R Street Institute and New America Foundation, recently published an article by political scientists Misty Knight-Finley and Alex Keena, from Rowan University and Virginia Commonwealth University, respectively. They found former governors had Party Unity Scores about eight percent lower on roll call voting than non-governors. That means the former governors voted with the other party more often than other Senators, though still relatively rarely. Examining data from the Database on Ideology, Money in Politics, and Elections developed by Adam Bonica at Stanford University, they also concluded that “former governors’ donors are less ideologically extreme than are the donors to other senators.”