In Tight Senate Votes, McCain Not a Maverick
When it matters the most, he seldom bucks his own party
Over the years, Sen. John McCain has publicly condemned Republican Party leaders and occasionally voted against the GOP on selected issues.
But an Arizona Republic analysis of his Senate votes on the most divided issues in the past decade shows that McCain almost never thwarted his party's objectives.
The presumptive Republican nominee arguably cast the decisive vote 14 times since 1999 to ensure Republicans got their way, and he had five other close cases where his vote may have made a difference, Senate records show. By comparison, McCain effectively handed Democrats a win on roll-call votes four times in the same period. On one of those occasions, Republicans could still have won if Vice President Dick Cheney had cast a tie-breaking vote.
The numbers are based on a review of Senate roll-call votes since 1999 that ended in a tie or were settled by one vote. The closest votes in that period included momentous, partisan-charged legislation, such as President Bush's tax cuts. More often, they were procedural votes on deal-breaking amendments to bills that would otherwise pass.
They partly reflect how rarely Senate votes come down to a single person, even though the chamber has been narrowly divided on party lines most of the past decade. But the votes also suggest that when McCain broke from Republicans, others often joined him, keeping the votes from being so close.
And his chronic absence in the Senate has seldom come in the most divided debates, the records show. ...(more)