Senators miss votes while campaigning for new job

FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2012 file photo, votes are tallied during a caucus of precinct 42 near Smithland, Iowa. More than 40 years ago, a scheduling quirk vaulted Iowa to the front of the presidential nominating process, and ever since most White House hopefuls have devoted enormous time and money to a state that otherwise would get little attention. (AP Photo/Dave Weaver, File)

AUSTIN (KXAN/AP) — As presidential candidates face their first 2016 election contest in Iowa, the four U.S. Senators in the race for the presidency are also missing more votes in Washington.

KXAN News analysed the voting records of Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Ted Cruz, and Sen. Bernie Sanders using GovTrack data for roll call votes. The numbers show the four candidates missed a combined 92 votes in the last three months of 2015. All of them saw a higher percentage of missed votes in the period than normal.

Rubio saw the highest percentage of missed votes, missing 58.2 percent — 29 out of 67 votes. Cruz missed 20 votes, or about 30 percent of them. Paul missed 14 votes — 20.9 percent. Sanders, a democrat, missed 19 votes, coming in one below Cruz.

“I think the voters are intelligent enough to really look at it and decide if they feel like [Sen. Cruz] missed out on important fights,” said James Dickey, chairman of the Travis County Republican Party. “I don’t get the sense that that’s the case so far.”

Cruz and Sanders have missed the same amount of votes so far this year, missing eight out of nine each, according to GovTrack data. Rubio has missed seven votes this year, and Paul has missed three.

“I think Bernie’s record was good through most of last year, but as we get closer to Iowa all of the candidates are going to see their voting percentage drop,” said Ed Espinoza, executive director of Progress Texas.

A missed vote

In a recent debate, Rand Paul turned his attention to the issue of one missed vote in particular — a vote on auditing the Federal Reserve.

After answering a question about his father, Paul then pivoted to blast Cruz for not showing up to make a vote in the Senate on auditing the Federal Reserve. Cruz says he missed it in order to make a town hall meeting in New Hampshire, but he looks forward to signing a bill to audit the Fed as president.

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