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The Violence Against Women Act’s most interesting votes

The House on Thursday voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, ending an extended political battle over a measure the Senate has already passed and President Obama has agreed to sign.

But for some House Republicans, this may not be the last word they hear about it.

If Rep. Steve King runs for the Senate, expect to hear from Democrats about his "No" vote. (Cliff Owen/AP) If Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) runs for the Senate, expect to hear from Democrats about his "no" vote. (Cliff Owen/AP)

The legislation clears the way for funding to help prosecute sexual assault and domestic abuse crimes, as well as assist victims of such crimes. Some Republicans opposed the measure for a variety of reasons, ranging from a belief that states should handle such matters to concerns over protections extended to gays and lesbians and expanding the authority of tribal courts. Other Republicans supported the measure.

Below we take a closer look at the votes (here's the full roll call) that could matter in future campaigns and why they stand out.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)

How he voted: Yes

Why it matters: Ryan is one of three current members of Congress frequently mentioned as a potential 2016 presidential candidate. The other two -- Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) -- both voted against reauthorizing VAWA, citing a preference that such decisions be made locally. It's always worth bearing in mind where the three diverge with their votes because the differences could well come up in a GOP primary. And of course, if Ryan runs and is the GOP nominee, Democrats won't be able to hit him for not voting for VAWA like they would with Rubio or Paul.

Reps. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Steve King (R-Iowa), Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), and John Fleming (R-La.)

How they voted: No

Why it matters: Because they are all possible Senate candidates. And rest assured that if they run, Senate Democrats and their allies will bring up their"no" votes in an effort to weaken their support among women voters, with whom the GOP simply cannot afford to lose ground.

Reps. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Charles Boustany (R-La.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), John Kline (R-Minn.), and Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.)

How they voted: Yes

Why it matters: They are all potential or current Senate candidates. In the case of Capito, who declared her candidacy early and is the presumptive GOP nominee in West Virginia, it gives Democrats one less line of attack. The same could be said of  the others, if they end up being Senate nominees. Of course, in crowded GOP primaries where conservative voters often wield a lot of influence, the "yes" votes could be liabilities.

Georgia Republican Reps. Paul Broun, Jack Kingston, Phil Gingrey, Tom Graves, and Tom Price

How they voted: No

Why it matters: Not to sound like a broken record but, well, because they are all either potential or current Senate candidates. Broun is in, Gingrey looks set to enter, while Kingston and Price remain possibilities. Since they all voted "no," this issue isn't likely to surface in the politics of a GOP primary. But it likely would be raised by Democrats in the general election, if one of them is nominated.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.



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Chris Cillizza · February 28, 2013

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