A Candidate’s Record

June 14, 2011

Candidates are fond of stating, “my record speaks for itself.”  This may be true, but that record can be hard to hear unless one knows where to find the information.  Here are a few tips for researching a candidate’s record.

Congressional Record:  Four of last night’s Republican debators served or are currently serving in the Congress: Rep. Michele Bachmann, former Speaker of the U.S. House Newt Gingrich, former U.S. Senator Santorum, Rep. Ron Paul. Recordation of votes in the Congressional Record (CR) most often look  like this: “The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were-yeas [number of votes], nays [number of votes], not voting [number not voting], as follows….”:  So, try the following search in the CR database, limiting by date and candidate as desired:

electronic +1 device means and [last name] and da(2010) 

Governor’s Messages:  Statements by former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Gov. Rick Perry can be found in the Governor’s Messages database (ST-LH-MSG).  We had less luck with former Gov. Mitt Romney, former Gov. Gary Johnson, former Gov. Sarah Palin, former Gov. Charles Roemer, and others. We tried simple searches such as “romney,” for example.

Political Transcripts: We had much better luck for governors in USPOLTRANS.  USPOLTRANS includes verbatim transcipts of news conferences, press briefings, political speeches, and oral testimony from Congressional committee hearings dating back to 1994. There were even a few results for former Utah Governor John Huntsman who entered the race today.  Try, john /3 huntsman for example. 

Bill Tracking:  Also, review old bill tracking databases (xx-billtrk-old, where xx = state postal abbreviation).  Here, try sign! adopted veto! /10 governor.  Add relevant date period (date when governor served) and key terms if desired. For example, for former Gov. Palin, try:

Database: ak-billtrk-old

Query: SIGN! ADOPT! VETO! /10 GOVERNOR & da(aft 12/04/2006 & bef 07/26/2009) & CRIM!