By Robert J. McCarthy
A group dedicated "to advance a progressive agenda in Congress" has ranked Rep. Tom Reed as leader of New York congressmen in voting to support tea party issues in Washington.
In its Tea Party Scorecard, Americans United for Change gave Reed a 75 percent rating for backing the conservative movement's agenda. The group said Reed's score would have approached 80 percent if he had not voted for "parochial" bills related to relief from Hurricane Sandy.
The scorecard measures tea party "loyalty" based on 48 votes appearing the scorecards of Americans for Prosperity or Freedomworks, described by the group as representing tea party values.
Last year, the Corning Repubican announced he had joined a group called "No Labels," a bipartisan movement aimed at problem-solving rather than opponent-bashing.
“When you involve yourself in a group like No Labels, a large, bipartisan group whose sole purpose is to bring people together from the Senate and the House who work across the aisle, I think that’s a positive step in the right direction of trying to get things done and remove the roadblocks we see in Washington, D.C., when it comes to partisan divides,” Reed said then.
Still, The Buffalo News reported at the time Reed’s embrace of the centrist organization didn’t sit well with his critics from both right and left.
“It bothers me,” said New York Tea Party leader Rus Thompson. “He won’t have my support again.”
Reed’s 2012 campaign opponent, Ithaca Democrat Nate Shinagawa, said then he was stunned at Reed’s announcement.
“If he were truly a no-labels person, he wouldn’t have been going to tea party rallies the last three years,” Shinagawa said.
Reed is expected to face tough opposition again this year from Martha Robertson, the Democratic chairwoman of the Tompkins County Legislature.