Fact Check: Attack ad on Rep. Angie Craig's voting record isn't the whole story

A Republican attack ad alleges that Democratic U.S. Rep. Angie Craig is a rubber stamp for her party, but the claim doesn't tell the whole story, a FOX 9 Fact Check finds.

Craig, who faces one of the country's most-watched congressional races against Republican Tyler Kistner this fall, has long promoted her bipartisanship. In 2018, she criticized then-U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis for a lack of working across party lines, pledging that she would be different.

But the Republican Congressional Leadership Fund ad says Craig hasn't lived up to her promises.

Craig's voting record

The ad starts with a clip from an August 2017 speech Craig gave outside Lewis's congressional office. 

"If you agree with your own party 95% of the time, you are the wrong member of Congress for the second congressional district," Craig said at the time.

The ad uses Craig's own words against her.

"Then Angie Craig went Washington, voting 100% of the time with (House Speaker Nancy) Pelosi," the ad says.

It's true that Craig is a reliable vote for her party -- as are the vast majority of members of Congress. Craig voted with President Joe Biden's position 100% of the time, while some Republicans vote with Biden's position less than 10% of the time, according to data on members' voting records maintained by FiveThirtyEight.

It's also true that Craig and Pelosi have been in unison on every vote they've taken since January 2021, according to ProPublica's tracker

But this isn't the best comparison because speakers of the House don't often vote. Pelosi has voted just 119 times during the current Congress, while Craig has cast more than 850 votes.

A better, though less politically salient, comparison is to match Craig against the number two House Democrat, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. The two have taken more than 800 votes and were in alignment on 97% of them, ProPublica's data show.

Other measures of bipartisanship

Voting records don't tell the whole story of how partisan or bipartisan a member of Congress is. 

The Lugar Center at Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy publishes a "Bipartisan Index" that measures how many times a member sponsors or co-sponsors legislation with a member from the other party.

Here, Craig ranks in the top 15% in the current Congress -- 65th out of 435 members. She was 92nd during her first term, which is in the top quarter of all members.

Craig's campaign pointed to a second ranking from the independent Common Ground Committee that puts her in the top 20 among all members. Common Ground Committee says it includes a variety of measures, not just whether a lawmaker introduces legislation with a member from the other party. Lawmakers get points for joint events held across the political aisle or membership in bipartisan congressional caucuses. Craig is a member of the Bipartisan Working Group.

Craig's votes

The ad also criticizes two measures where Craig voted in lockstep with her party, the 2021 stimulus law and the recently passed climate, health care, and tax law.

"Millions wasted, and a new tax hike that experts say will take billions from those making less than $200,000," the ad says.

This is misleading. The "millions wasted" is a reference to the 2021 stimulus, which sent $350 billion to state and local governments to plug budget holes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some local governments are under fire for questionable spending that resulted from that cash infusion. Broward County, Florida officials have faced scrutiny for building a high-end hotel.

But such projects represent a tiny fraction of a $1.9 trillion law that also sent $1,400 direct payments to most Americans, extended unemployment benefits, and expanded the child tax credit.

The "new tax hike" references the Democrats' 2022 climate law. The law doesn't directly raise taxes on individuals. It does include a tax hike on large corporations.

Independent congressional scorekeepers have said that could lower corporate profits and, indirectly, lead companies to cut employees' wages.

The law also includes tax credits on purchases, including electric vehicles or energy-efficient home upgrades, that will help Americans financially, Politifact has found.

FOX 9 Fact Check: Here's our rating system

  • True: accurate information that requires little or no additional context
  • Needs clarification: mostly accurate information that leaves out context that would be helpful to voters
  • Not the whole story: the information presented leaves out a significant amount of context that could lead voters to a different conclusion
  • Misleading: partial information presented in a way that misleads voters
  • False: inaccurate information, or information presented out of context

View other FOX 9 Fact Checks here.