Onetime maverick John McCain ties for the top spot as the most conservative senator in new rankings by the National Journal
. Granted, he shares the billing with seven other Republican senators but it is still a far cry from his 2000 Republican presidential race when he was viewed as an unconventional alternative to George W. Bush
McCain tacked right in 2008 during his presidential campaign, and stayed there in his successful bid for reelection to the Senate in Arizona. He chose Sarah Palin as his running mate in the national campaign and insists that he's always been an across-the-board conservative
He called himself a "maverick" as recently as 2008, hinting that he wouldn't always go along with conservative
or Republican orthodoxy. But in the last two years, he backed away from a bipartisan effort to reform immigration law and fought against President Obama's health care bill.
McCain's political shift in recent years is indisputable, the National Journal said. Between 2002 and 2006, he was in the middle of the road, ranking between the 44th and 49th most conservative in the 100-member Senate.
The National Journal, a respected public policy and politics magazine, measured senators' conservatism on the basis of 96 votes in last year's session. McCain scored 89.7 on a scale topped out at 100. Grouped with him: Sens. John Barrasso of Wyoming; Saxby Chambliss of Georgia; John Cornyn of Texas; Mike Crapo of Idaho; Jim DeMint of South Carolina; Jim Risch of Idaho, and John Thune of South Dakota. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) was all alone in second place.
Five Republicans were ranked as as the most conservative
members of the House of Representatives: Reps. Trent Franks of Arizona; Sam Johnson of Texas; Jim Jordan of Ohio; Doug Lamborn of Colorado and Randy Neugebauer of Texas. All scored 95. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was eighth.
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