WASHINGTON — Rep. Brad Ashford, D-Neb., is one of the House members most likely to buck his party on contentious votes, according to CQ Roll Call's annual study.
That publication analyzes votes every year to determine lawmakers' "party unity" scores, based on votes where a majority of Republicans and a majority of Democrats voted differently.
Ashford, a freshman, voted against his party 28.1 percent of the time on such votes in 2015, according to the report released this week. Only three House Democrats and two Republicans showed less fealty to their parties.
The Omaha congressman was quick to seize on the rankings as a badge of honor.
"The only way Congress will solve the challenges we face as a country is to compromise and work with people on the other side of the aisle to build consensus," Ashford said in a press release. "Throughout my entire career, I've been more focused on the quality of a proposed solution than which party was offering it. I don't believe either party has a monopoly on good ideas."
Ashford served 16 years in the nonpartisan Legislature. He began his political career as a Democrat but later became a Republican and then an independent before switching back to the Democratic Party in 2013. He unseated longtime Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., a year later.
Republicans and Democrats have identified Ashford as one of the more vulnerable incumbents this year, based on the rightward tilt of Nebraska's 2nd District.
The publication also tracks how lawmakers vote on issues where the president takes a position. Ashford opposed President Barack Obama on 58.4 percent of those votes. Only two Democrats opposed Obama more frequently.
Other Iowa and Nebraska lawmakers stuck closer to the party line.
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., voted with his party 90 percent of the time and with the president 13 percent of the time. Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., backed the party 99 percent of the time and Obama 8 percent of the time.
In Iowa, GOP Reps. Steve King and David Young were on the same page as the party 98 percent and 95 percent of the time, respectively. King backed the president's position 6 percent of the time, Young 10 percent.
Young also had the distinction of perfect attendance, not missing a vote in 2015. He was the only House member from Iowa or Nebraska to do so.
Both of Iowa's GOP senators, Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley, had unblemished attendance records, as did Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb.
Ernst and Grassley voted with their party 96 percent of the time. Ernst sided with the president's position 55 percent of the time, and Grassley sided with him 57 percent.
Fischer and Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., each sided with the GOP majority 97 percent of the time on party unity votes. Only four GOP senators had a higher level of party unity.
Fischer sided with Obama 52 percent of the time, Sasse 46 percent.