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Sen. James Abourezk

Former Senator for South Dakota

Abourezk was a senator from South Dakota and was a Democrat. He served from 1973 to 1978.

He was previously the representative for South Dakota’s 2nd congressional district as a Democrat from 1971 to 1972.

Photo of Sen. James Abourezk [D-SD, 1973-1978]


Ideology–Leadership Chart

Abourezk is shown as a purple triangle in our ideology-leadership chart below. Each dot was a member of the Senate in 1978 positioned according to our ideology score (left to right) and our leadership score (leaders are toward the top).

The chart is based on the bills Abourezk sponsored and cosponsored from Jan 3, 1973 to Oct 15, 1978. See full analysis methodology.

Enacted Legislation

Abourezk was the primary sponsor of 16 bills that were enacted. The most recent include:

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Does 16 not sound like a lot? Very few bills are ever enacted — most legislators sponsor only a handful that are signed into law. But there are other legislative activities that we don’t track that are also important, including offering amendments, committee work and oversight of the other branches, and constituent services.

We consider a bill enacted if one of the following is true: a) it is enacted itself, b) it has a companion bill in the other chamber (as identified by Congress) which was enacted, or c) if at least about half of its provisions were incorporated into bills that were enacted (as determined by an automated text analysis, applicable beginning with bills in the 110th Congress).

Bills Sponsored

Issue Areas

Abourezk sponsored bills primarily in these issue areas:

Government Operations and Politics (19%) Native Americans (18%) Public Lands and Natural Resources (16%) Agriculture and Food (12%) Private Legislation (12%) Water Resources Development (8%) Economics and Public Finance (8%) Law (7%)

Recently Introduced Bills

Abourezk recently introduced the following legislation:

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Most legislation has no activity after being introduced.

Voting Record

Missed Votes

From Jan 1973 to Oct 1978, Abourezk missed 804 of 3,605 roll call votes, which is 22.3%. This is much worse than the median of 12.1% among the lifetime records of senators serving in Oct 1978. The chart below reports missed votes over time.

We don’t track why legislators miss votes, but it’s often due to medical absenses, major life events, and running for higher office.

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Primary Sources

The information on this page is originally sourced from a variety of materials, including: