Fact check: Slotkin says she’s bipartisan. Paul Junge disagrees.

This is one in a series of fact checks the Detroit Free Press is doing on public issues in conjunction with PolitiFact, a nonprofit national news organization. Suggest a fact-check here.
In 2018, Democrat Elissa Slotkin flipped a congressional district Donald Trump won in 2016, unseating the Republican incumbent. Back on the campaign trail, she has told voters in the 8th District that, while in Washington, she has worked as an independent and bipartisan lawmaker.
Republican challenger Paul Junge – a former prosecutor and TV anchor – disputes that. “Candidate Slotkin had presented herself as a moderate and as someone who’d be independent-minded but her time in office was making it increasingly clear that no, she was very partisan, voting 96% of the time with (House) Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi,” Junge said during a Sept. 11 interview on the WDET radio program “Detroit Today.”
Junge has repeatedly pointed to that voting record to claim that Slotkin is more liberal than her moderate image suggests. Junge has also pointed to the fact that Slotkin has voted 90% of the time with “The Squad,”
a group of liberal Democratic congresswomen that includes Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
“Congresswoman Slotkin’s record of voting with Nancy Pelosi 96% of the time and 90% with ‘squad’ members like Rashida Tlaib make it clear she has aligned herself with the most radical elements of her party after promising to be a moderate. Any thoughtful examination of her record leads to the conclusion that she puts party over country again and again,” Rob Wagener, spokesman for the Junge campaign, wrote in an email to PolitiFact Michigan.
During her interview on “Detroit Today” on Sept. 11, Slotkin countered that while in Congress, she has “voted over 800 times, and 640 of those votes are bipartisan where we’ve got Democrats and Republicans voting for the same bill.” She has also noted that she has voted against her own party 55 times.
The numbers have changed slightly since the campaign conducted this analysis before Congress’ August recess, but considering Slotkin’s most recent votes generally yields the same result: about 77% of the votes Slotkin has taken during her first term in Congress had the support of at least one Republican member of Congress.
“While there are many ways to define bipartisanship, by any measure, Congresswoman Slotkin is among the most bipartisan members of Congress,” Gordon Trowbridge, spokesperson for Slotkin’s campaign, wrote in an email to PolitiFact Michigan.
Congressional experts say the raw vote figures cited by Junge and Slotkin offer an incomplete picture of a lawmaker’s record of partisanship, and say Slotkin’s definition of bipartisanship as voting the same way as at least one Republican is not very informative.
Analysts point instead to other scoring systems that compare lawmakers’ voting records with other members of their political party and to their record of collaborating on legislation with members of the other party.
For Slotkin, these indicators show that her record is indeed consistent with her campaign rhetoric of being moderate and bipartisan, and that Junge’s characterization of her as a liberal Democrat and very partisan is off the mark.
During her first term in Congress, Slotkin has voted the same way as Pelosi 96% of the time, according to ProPublica, a national investigative news organization. The figure is based on 75 votes cast by Pelosi who, by tradition, votes at her discretion. Slotkin has also voted 89% of the time with Ocasio-Cortez, Omar and Tlaib, and 90% with Pressley, according to ProPublica.
So Slotkin, like many other Democratic members of the House, has frequently voted the same way as her party’s leadership. Most Democratic lawmakers in the current Congress have voted with Pelosi at least 90% of the time.
Slotkin has also voted consistently with liberal Democrats.
But congressional experts warn against using raw vote totals as an indicator of partisanship. “Raw vote counts are misleading without context, especially with a high percentage of non-co…
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