Running for the presidency does not legally excuse a member of Congress from doing the job they were elected to do, but a new report from govtrack shows several Democratic candidates seeking the presidency skipping out on their responsibilities.
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and California Senator Kamala Harris have missed nearly half of the 252 votes the Senate body has taken since January, the Washington Examiner reports. Booker has missed the most, missing 47 percent of the votes taken, and Harris has miss 46 percent.
According to the report, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders—who has run for the presidency before—has missed 41 percent of the votes the chamber has taken. New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who just dropped from the 2020 campaign, also missed 41 percent.
“Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has missed 29 percent of votes, Colorado Senator Michael Bennet 28 percent, and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar 24 percent. That comes out to an average missed vote percentage of 31 percent,” the Washington Examiner continues.
Harris has been considered a key challenger to 2020 front-runner Joe Biden, though her poll numbers have flagged of late. Sanders, in his second consecutive presidential bid, has seen his numbers rise lately. A Monmouth poll released Monday that found former Vice President Joe Biden and Warren and Sanders all statistically tied for first place in their party’s presidential primary.
In 2016, all the primary candidates missed votes, though still at a lower clip than the current batch of Senate Democrats running for president. Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz missed 27%, while Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul missed 1%. Sanders, runner-up to Clinton for the 2016 Democratic nomination, only missed 4% of votes.
Four of the Democratic senators named in govtrack report will square off in the third Democratic debate on September 12 in Houston, Texas, continuing the possibility of missing more votes in the legislative chamber.
These senators will be joined in the debate by former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Obama official Julian Castro, Senator Amy Klobuchar, former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, and businessman Andrew Yang.
“The deadline passed at midnight Wednesday for candidates to qualify for the next Democratic presidential debate and only 10 made it, narrowing the largest field in history to a more manageable size,” NBC News reports.
Gone, for now at least, are the two-night debates of June and July, since everyone can fit on one stage, one night, for next month’s debate in Houston.
“The field is cut in half overnight, basically. That’s clarifying. It’s important to get all the major candidates on stage together,” said David Brock, a Democratic fundraiser who runs a collection of major Democratic super PACs. “But on the other hand, there’s a lot of chatter about the candidates who got boxed out, they would say unfairly. I think it’s really tough if you’re not in the debate to have any hope.”
As the summer winds down, the 2020 race has settled into a more predictable rhythm, with a clearly stratified field that includes a few front-runners, a wider second-tier and a larger crop candidates barely registering in the polls who are still praying for a Hail Mary.
While more than 20 candidates are staying in the race, fewer and fewer are staying relevant.