Simmons Reportedly Missed 500 Votes in State House

In the already hotly contested Republican primary for the 15th Congressional district, missed state legislature votes have become the latest issue.  

According to the Morning Call, state Representative Justin Simmons (R-Lehigh) missed 498 legislative votes and 28 daily roll call votes since he started in the state House in January 2011.  

Simmons’ missed votes have been increasing over the years he has been in office.  In the 2011-12 session Simmons missed 5% of votes, and then in 2015-16 he missed 13% of votes for the session, which totals 245 votes.  Simmons has missed 16% of the votes so far in the current session.  State Representative Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh), who is also running for the 15th district, has missed 28 votes and three roll call votes since entering the state House in May 2012. 

“The fact is I have a 92 percent voting record during my seven years in office,” Simmons said in a statement to the Morning Call.  

“Unfortunately, I have missed some votes due to family funerals, my wedding, the birth of my daughter, illness and other things beyond my control.  I know the corrupt political establishment and Do Nothing Dent are trying to smear me by lying about my voting record, but a 92 percent voting record speaks for itself.”  

From the Morning Call:

To compare Simmons’ and Mackenzie’s records, Morning Call reporters clicked through 6,538 online House floor votes and built a database. Committee votes were not included. A House-wide average was not readily available and would have meant doing the same for 1.3 million voting records.

A legislator’s voting record can be easy for opponents to portray out of context, cautioned Chris Borick, a political science professor at Muhlenberg College, noting that there may be legitimate absences or ceremonial votes tallied in what may seem like a damning record.

But it also is a way to assess whether a legislator is performing his most basic tasks: being present in the state Capitol and voting on legislation, Borick added.

“This is a cornerstone function [of legislating] that’s easily translated to voters,” Borick said. “It’s not hard to build a case that he’s falling down on a key aspect of their work.”

Mackenzie accused Simmons of abandoning his state constituents and said he could follow the same pattern if he got elected to Congress. “Taxpayers pay us to be there to vote,” said Mackenzie, 35, of Lower Macungie Township.

Simmons didn’t explain specific absences, but public records indicate the timing of two life events cited by Simmons.

Simmons and his wife, Erica, were married Dec. 3, 2011, according to Lehigh County records — after which Simmons missed six session days and 98 votes. Erica Simmons gave birth to their daughter Jan. 10, 2016, and Simmons was absent for 15 votes taken the following two days.

Votes missed after those events account for less than a quarter of his total missed votes.

While he was in office, Dent said, he got married and had three children, and Simmons “should stop blaming others for his own failures.”

61 Responses

  1. Ryan Mackenzie has an extremely strong conservative record that stands on its own, which is more than anyone can say for the other candidates in this race. He’s actually been successful in office. He’s got things done. Look it up.

  2. Sure looks like some candidates and/or staffer spends a lot of time on this site posting away under different names but with similar themes and worded responses. Might be time for an internal investigation by the AG of campaign work during work hours.

      1. Oh give me break – the biggest trolls on this site are Justin and his hobgoblins. He should spend more time voting, less time in the comments section.

  3. I’m troubled by the total of Simmons’ missed votes. He doesn’t appear to want to work for his constituents. He needs to seek other employment, as he will soon be out of work.

    He’s not qualified to be in Harrisburg, much less Washington.

      1. No, not a staffer, but someone who sees the writing on the wall. Simmons’ political career is toast, and it’s all of his own making. He conned his constituents unto trusting him, and then didn’t bother to show up for work. He should just resign.

        1. Justin didn’t lie. It was Dent that lied to the voters. He said that he was going to repeal and replace Obamacare. Then Dent gets re-elected and is an anti-Trumper and obstructionist. Dent lied.


            No one is saying he lied…..although it appears he lied when he term limited himself and broke his promise, now that you mention it.

          2. Actually he did lie. He lied about being in Harrisburg and taking votes on his Official Facebook Page but in reality he wasn’t there according to the House Roll call. It doesn’t matter though, word on the street is that the kitchen is too hot for little baby Justin and he’s going to get out of the race. We’ll see if he LIES again and goes back on his word to run for his house seat. It’d be a scumbag move but not out of character for him.

  4. If you line up the candidates discussed in this article, set voting records aside, and look at the progress they have made for their respective constituents, it really does look like Representative Mackenzie is the only person that has any record to stand on.

    1. Mackenzie is only into the constituents that contribute large amounts of money for his re-election. No else matters!

      1. ????
        Must be a Democrat. Next thing you know you will be saying, “tax the rich and make them pay their fair share!”

  5. If Simmons can’t show up to work in Harrisburg, what can we expect when he goes away to DC? He should stop running for the 15th – and his constituents should seriously reconsider keeping him in his state seat

    1. Has anyone been to a Simmons fundraiser? Does he show up to those?

      I’m thinking I might want to support him, I always like a good deal (I assume donors get a 16% discount). Also, since he’ll literally say or take credit for anything, I’m sure he’ll tell me how much my big concerns matter to him, which just feels great. Another big plus, If he doesn’t go to work, it will save us all a bunch of money on travel expenses. Does Justin not going to work count as draining the swamp?

      1. There should be a mechanism that can be used to throw him out of the State House. And some of these jackasses look around to cut funds that affect service to the public. They should cut the $95 Million surplus instead.

          1. Well, I can tell you I for one don’t know Charlie Dent and I still don’t understand your comment. Who is lying, the Morning Call? The guy shows up for work less and less every year. Seems pretty reasonable to worry about how he’ll do in the next job.

  6. The Lehigh Valley is one of the fastest growing economies in the United States. Hershey is expected to see job growth as high as 40% in the next few years. The I-78 Corridor continues to grow. We are electing someone to represent these incredible cities and townships in our Nations’ Capitol.

    Debate it if you like, but Mackenzie does have a very clear record of supporting the economy, cleaning up bureaucratic waste, and fighting fraud. He’s educated, consistent, and according to the Morning Call, he shows up for work.

    Every small and mid-sized town in America is fighting for growth, look no further than the Amazon HQ2 bidding process. We have the economy, the jobs, and the PEOPLE to keep winning. Let’s get competent, sensible, committed leadership in place to keep it rolling forward!

  7. Mackenzie is the best candidate in this race by a mile. He knows the issues inside and out, is great at community outreach, and has an army of volunteers already at work.

  8. 245 Times is actually the same number of times that Simmons has cheated on his wife in Harrisburg. Crazy how the numbers work out. Maybe that was why he missed some vote?

    1. Maybe, someone should investigate Dent and his thug staffers. They are busy typing away on this site on the taxpayers dime.

    1. That would be Dent and his golden boy that are flakes. Maybe, they need to go to a safe space & color in a coloring book.

  9. I don’t see the justification to disqualify a candidate based upon these sparse data [absent context]; it’s preferable to assess stances on the issues [in a disinterested fashion].

    1. I’m not sure what article you read, but it looks like the Morning Call did some pretty serious homework on this. Fellow representatives can’t find him? Taking credit for voting when he simply hasn’t? He makes distinct, clear, principled promises while running (Term Limit/Never Trump), only to toss them aside at the first opportunity to better himself.

      Justin’s stance on the issues are very clear: What Ever it Takes! Hey, it almost worked for Hillary Clinton!

      Next time I’m sitting in a waiting room for 45 minutes while my Doctor wraps up a round of Solitaire in his office I’ll remember this comment. I guess a lot of people think C+ work is what we need in Washington.

      1. The Mcall is fake news and has no credibility. It is well known that they are biased and very liberal.

    2. Hello Dr. Sklaroff, I usually really respect your opinions. You are way off on this one though. This is a disqualification [context is a review of his entire time voting in the House]. Sorry to have to disagree with you here, but you are just plain wrong and standing up for such a flawed character like Justin is a poor reflection on you.

  10. What an enjoyable write up by the Morning Call! A great compare and contrast with just the facts speaking for themselves! Let’s go to the tape…

    Mackenzie has an attendance record of 99%. He is doing his job, working hard, and getting things done.

    “Simmons has missed 135 votes, or 16 percent — a rate that would be considered chronically truant for a high school student.”

    (That is a straight quote from the article! LOLOLOL)

    Game over for Justin Simmons. Good luck even running for your state House seat with a record like that!

    1. It’s becoming apparent that Simmons and Mackenzie are like little kids playing tit for tat. I’m already sick and tired of both of them.

      1. Children at play, You must be a John Kasich style wimp. You and your candidate will finish dead last just like he did. This is a political campaign. If you and your candidate can’t handle it, you are wimps who will get eaten alive by any D. Also, let’s look at Dent. Whatever you think of his politics, that that guy was a knife fighter and that was part of why he was successful in winning and holding the seat for as long as he did.

        1. You suggest Republicans “play nice” like Mitt Romney or Bob Dole? How did that work out for them? Republicans need a fighter if they want to hold this seat against the Dems. Mackenzie has the brass to do it.

          1. Mac doesn’t know how to fight. He can’t handle anything. He quickly runs to his staffers or his dad. He is so use to being handed everything.

  11. Simmons is a turd. And not even a soft formed everyday turd. He’s like the turd you have after a night in Tijuana with burritos and cheap tequila. Messy, hard to look at and with a smell that would gag a maggot.

    He should do himself and more importantly his wife a favor and drop out now before the details of his House ethics violations and multiple drunken affairs… not all with women… become public knowledge.

    Please excuse me, reading that article made me need a pack of baby wipes. I feel so dirty…

      1. Dent has a reputation of being corrupt. He is an evil man that is into power and control. He will do whatever, it takes to maintain this position. We all know that Mackenzie is nothing but a puppet for Dent. Mackenzie is incapable of being a leader. He always has to answer to the swamp dwellers.

        1. That guy was on here for a while and he was good. Anyway, if I had more time, I would look up individual votes for you, etc. Mackenzie is a conservative. Stop trying to say otherwise with your lame guilt by association tactics.

          1. Check out the facts of the money contributors to the Mackenzie campaign. That is all that you need to know!

    1. It’s sad that for a place to discuss politics someone like you can’t stick to debating policy. Instead you crawl out from under your rock and post this kind of crap. You wonder why good people don’t want to run for public office? It’s because of dirt bags like yourself.

        1. This just proves how pathetic you are if you refer to me as someone I’m not. I feel sorry for you. I happen to be a person who thinks that the internet has allowed people like you to lower themselves to a new low. Anonymous posts to hide behind so you can try to make yourself feel superior.

          1. We all know that this Dent’s staffers posting away on this site and they are being paid by the taxpayers.

  12. Simmons will be a non-factor in the congressional primary election. The sooner he pulls out and tries to save his state house seat, the better it will be for him and his family. Having said that, Mackenzie has rocks in his head for involving his patron, Charlie Dent. Word is, Dent is nearly 20 points underwater among district Republicans. Conservatives aren’t eager to annoint Charlie’s boy, either. Lehigh Valley Democrats who like Charlie can’t help him in a Republican primary.

    Frankly, I’m not interested in pulling the lever for another lifer like Mackenzie.

    1. Would love to see the “polling data” that says Congressman Dent is underwater with Republicans – is it another candidates data or a legit poll. I find it incredibly hard to believe because despite disagreeing with Charlie, most people hold him in high regard as a man of integrity. Thats why he comfortably coasts to victory and hasn’t had a real opponent since John Callahan. Justin isn’t fit to carry his bag.

      1. Charlie is well-liked. Half of Republicans or a bit more like him personally, but less than one-third likes how he votes. Based on that latter sentiment, his overall approval rating among Rs is underwater by about 20%.

        He’s really one of them, so, almost counter-intuitively, Democrats like nominal “GOP” Charlie better than Republicans do, but Democrats can’t vote in a Republican primary. Dent polls, too. He very likely got the same results. That’s probably why Charlie chose not to run.

        1. People dislike Dent. His poll numbers tanked. Dent has a reputation of ruthless and corrupt. So, Sam we all know that you work for Dent.

    2. Ryan Mackenzie is a solid conservative. Justin Simmons was the one who was trying to paint him as anything different. Between Justin’s broken term limits pledge and missing work, we know Justin has zero integrity or credibility. So, I am not buying his lines against Mackenzie and I’m not sure why you are either. Ryan has a record. I suggest you look it up, and I’m sure you will be impressed.

      1. I’m not buying it. Mackenzie is a lifer in the same mold as Dent. Ryan may vote “right” now — Charlie did for the most part while in Harrisburg, too — but ambition will change Mackenzie the same way it did his patron, Charlie Dent.

        Simmons cannot influence my opinion. I think Simmons is a wrong number. Wouldn’t vote for him if he ran unopposed.

        Frankly, your reference to Simmons’ record in this context suggests that you are Ryan Mackenzie.

        1. max2sam – Can you please provide proof about what you say about Mackenzie, other than just your opinion? As an anonymous poster, opinions with no facts to back them up aren’t worth much. I have seen Mackenzie in action locally and watched his voting record. I’ve been impressed with everything I have seen.

          1. Anonymous or not (for the record, you remain anonymous, too), my opinion is informed by the similarities between Mackenzie’s and Dent’s political trajectories and their personal association. Mackenzie is Charlie’s boy. Dent isn’t going to get behind anyone who is likely to join the House Freedom Caucus, a group Dent has been publicly denigrating for years.

          2. Dent doesn’t support conservatives and that fact is well know. Therefore, Mackenzie being Dent’s golden boy will have to follow suit.

Comments are closed.

  • When Should The Special Elections For The PA House Be Held?

    • May 16, 2023 (Primary Day) (51%)
    • March, 2023 (47%)
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