Democrats Still Shying Away From Town Hall Events

The top three Republicans have held more events than all Democrats in top 50

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders / AP

As the Tea Party movement gained steam in the summer of 2009, Congressional Democrats saw waves of fed up constituents back in their home districts flock to town hall events to vent their frustrations with the workings of Washington, D.C. The uprisings ultimately led politicians to rethink such events and back away from facing the people they represent in that particular format.

Nearly seven years later, Democrats are still not holding town hall events at the rate of Republicans for their constituents. In fact, of the top 50 politicians to hold such events since the beginning of the year, only 12 are Democrats.

From Jan. 1 to April 11, 2016, Republicans make up the top 12 spots in the number of town hall events, with Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) holding 50 for the year to date, the most of any politician, according to data compiled by LegiStorm.

Just behind Sen. Paul is Rep. Kevin Cramer (R., N.D.), who has held 42 events. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R., Wis.) has attended 38, the third most, while Rep. Markwayne Mullen (R., Okla.) has attended 27. Sen. Jerry Moran rounds out the top five with 26 town halls on the year.

As for Democrats in Congress, Rep. Seth Moulton has held 16, putting him at number 13 among all politicians — a number that was good enough to take the top spot among his party in Washington.

Rep. Pete Visclosky has held 12 events, putting him at number 19 and the second most among Democrats, followed by Rep. Ron Kind (R., Wis.) with 11 events, who comes in at number 20 overall and third in his party.

In total, the 12 Democrats who are contained within the top 50 have combined to hold 110 events–an amount that equates to 20 fewer events than just the top three Republicans (130).

When factoring in the total amount of town halls held over the course of the last year, not one Democrat is contained within the top 20.

The office of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.), chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, did not respond to a request for comment on the lack of town halls organized by Democrats this year.