Can you guess who the most conservative U.S. Senator is?

Get Glenn Live! On TheBlaze TV

The National Journal puts together an annual list to rank the most conservative members of the U.S. Senate based on roll-call votes. When you think of conservative politicians in America today, names like Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, or Rand Paul probably come to mind, but none of those names even cracked the top five.

“The 15 most conservative senators list has some surprises,” Glenn said on radio this morning. “And the biggest surprise is, I’ve never heard of the number one guy.”

Staring from number 15, the list for the 112th Congress is ranked as follows:

15. (tie) Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
14. James Inhofe (R-OK)
13. David Vitter (R-LA)
12. Tom Coburn (R-OK)
11. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
10. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
9. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
8. Michael Enzi (R-WY)
7. Mike Lee (R-UT)
6. Rand Paul (R-KY)
5. Ron Johnson (R-WI)
4. Pat Toomey (R-PA)
3. Jim DeMint (R-SC)
2. John Cornyn (R-TX)

And drumroll, please… the most conservative U.S. Senator is none other than James Risch of Idaho.

“Never heard of him,” Pat said laughing. “Honestly, never heard of him.”

“I mean I have heard of the guy, but I don’t know much about him,” Stu added. “But he seems like he is doing a good job from this list.”

With a 95.8 “composite conservative ranking” based on the National Journal’s rating system, it seem like Senator Risch, the former governor of Idaho, is doing a pretty good job.

“I would sure like to know more about him,” Glenn said. “See if we can get him on the phone tomorrow. Let’s introduce him to America because I’ve never heard of him. And that’s really sad.”

While Risch coming in at number one was certainly a surprise to many, Glenn, Pat, and Stu were also taken aback by where some other senators fell on the list.

Pat was surprised that Senator Inhofe placed so low on the list (at number 14), while Orrin Hatch came in at number 7. No one seems to believe that Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul, two of the biggest champions of small government, were ranked at number seven and six, respectively.

“I think that has to do with the fact that they take more of a Libertarian stance,” Stu suggested. “I think they are both probably downgraded because there are a couple of votes where they took the Libertarian angle. That’s my guess.”

“That’s the only thing that makes sense,” Pat said, “because I have never seen either one of them be bad on anything.”

Based on the explanation from the National Journal, it looks like Stu’s reasoning isn’t all that far off:

For the past three decades, National Journal has rated members of Congress based on selected roll-call votes from the previous year to see how they compared with each other on an ideological scale. Unlike interest groups that rate lawmakers, National Journal does not attempt to say how members should have voted. Our goal is to describe how they voted in comparison with one another.

The ratings system was devised in 1981 under the direction of Bill Schneider, a political analyst and commentator, and a contributing editor to National Journal.

For the 2012 ratings, National Journal examined all of the roll-call votes in the second session of the 112th Congress—659 in the House and 251 in the Senate—and identified the ones that show ideological distinctions between members. Many votes did not make the cut—those that involve noncontroversial issues or that fall along regional lines, for instance. In the end, 116 votes in each chamber were selected and were categorized as economic, foreign, or social.

Looking at this list, it is easy to see where the Republican and, more importantly, conservative strongholds are in the U.S. “Let’s look at this pattern,” Glenn said. “You want to know if you’re living in the right part of the country? Idaho, Texas, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Georgia, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arizona, Kentucky.”

“So, I mean, look at the states that have both senators [on the list], and those are probably good states for you,” Glenn concluded. “And look at, if you notice, it’s the Mountain West down in to like Oklahoma and then Texas. There’s your home base, guys. There’s home base. Touch the mountains and go home, unless it’s Colorado…”

  • snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

    Good, its nice to see who is holding fast and firm to the conservative principles of America; we have a chance, slim indeed, but a chance. 

    Senator Risch is the most consistently conservative in his voting in the Senate; we need more true conservatives in the House and the Senate, and send the Democrats and RINO’s packing so we can get the nation back on course again.

  • snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

    I hold we also need to have a listing of the most liberal and out-of-control, dishonest, arrogant and hypocritical members of the Democratic party…

    In this way we show the best and the worse in both Senate and House. In regards for the White House and the administration we already know the answers for that team.

    • Draxx

      I want to see that list, but I am sure it will give me a Migraine Headache…

      • snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

        Draxx – come to my original post and see the links provided by Christina Brock. One for House and one for Senate.

      • Anonymous

        If it makes you feel better, Excedrin Migraine is back on store shelves.  Perhaps this is part of the Obama Administration plan for fiscal stimulus… give us headaches, and we buy lots of drugs. :(

      • Anonymous

        1st (tie):     Richard Blumenthal, CT and Tom Udall, NM

        3rd (tie):     Dick Durbin, IL and Weird Al Franken, MN

        5th:              Patty Murray, WA

        6th:              Frank Lautenberg, NJ

        7th (tie):    Sherrod Brown, OH,  Ben Cardin, MD,  Dingy Harry Reid, NV

        10th:            Barbara Boxer, CA

        11th (tie):    Maria Cantwell, WA and Christopher Coons, DE

        13th (tie):    Kirsten Gillibrand, NY and Jack Reed, RI

        15th (tie):    Tom Harkin, IA and Disgraced Robert Menendez, NJ

        • mspatdev

          Those names is what I thought, but they forgot the name of  Pelosi. 

    • Christina Brock
      • snowleopard (cat folk gallery)


    • Anonymous

      Is this like NObama’s Kill List??  Sounds good I guess!

    • Sharon Tomalavage

      Snowleopard-don’t think Glenn has enough space to list all of em.

    • mspatdev

      Amen, Amen. Harry Reid and Pelosi ought to be on the low end.

  • Anonymous

    So the entire list is older white men in southern and midwestern states. Who would’ve guessed?

    • Sam Fisher

      So another liberal race bating who would of guessed? 

    • Anonymous

      Please share the relevance of your thought here, because I fail to see it.

    • Anonymous

      A liberal brining up race when it is not relevant to the story. Who would’ve guessed?

  • Sam Fisher

    I still wonder who could really be trusted with power. I mean live in D.C. long enough and you might lose your soul in the power hungry games that people play in D.C. For some that is the only reason they go to “serve” is to gain power for themselves. I am done putting my hopes in man.

    • bumpkin

       Sam, I tend to put my hope into a well-vetted wo/man, but my faith in GOD.  I totally hear you on tired of putting your hopes into /man(kind).  Me, too.  What I believe, which is FAR different from democrats beliefs, apparently, is that we CAN find a well-educated, strong-moraled person, who has patience, yet decisiveness, is conservative with OPM, and comports themselves with grace (not talking about sashaying down a hall, either- more like not raising their butt in the air to kiss someone’s ring or backside.)  There are people in our country like that.  I furthermore believe that a person should not be a Commander-In-Chief if they have never been in the military, or more than a grunt.  That is just embarrassing!  S/He does not have to be a zebra, or of any particular nationality, just an HONEST, open, intelligent, respectful person who isn’t full of themselves, and does not have a burn to be someone’s king.  And CERTAINLY not Hillary Clinton.  So, although I narrow, for myself, an adequate candidate, I KNOW there are some out there.  They just need to step forward, and NOT allow the backing of billionaires like stinky Soros to fund them.  Our BIG American problem is now, because of the media, we only have, for choices, a very few uber-wealthy candidates.  The ONLY reason people were excited about Obama is because he was an unknown, and people thought he would be able to lead because of the lies he and others told about him.  But he did nothing more than lie through his teeth every time his tongue moved.  Gross.  Looking black helped him immeasurably, even though he isn’t any more black than he is white, or just as white as he is black.  Heck.  Maybe we can find someone who is willing to tan weekly. And filthy rick, since a regular person no longer has the ability to run.  Obama lied about much of his schooling, in order to fill the people’s need for intelligent.  But he has NO common sense!  The reason he wants the Dems to own the internet is so he can stop any word-of-mouth political movement from the conservatives.  Pretend its to protect the nation.  Indeed, its merely to protect his position, and the position of the Dems.

  • Anonymous

    Colorado wasn’t always the “Blue” state that it has become.  Thanks to illegal immigration and an influx of Californians (and perhaps the Shaun Whites of the world who love to ski/snowboard and do pot apres-ski), it’s not the same state that I left in 2000.

    • Max_80919

       I’ve lived in Colorado for 30 years (moved here from NY). 15 years ago, Colorado was the last place a criminal would flee to. We passed TABOR (TAxpayer’s Bill Of Rights) in 1992 to limit spending by state and local officials requiring a vote of the people to to increase taxes.

      Now, as you describe, we are as Blue as it gets. We even had one of The Most Conservative US Senators, Wayne Allard, was replaced with Mark Udall in 2008 (from “The People’s Republic of Boulder”) when Allard didn’t run again as promised after 2 terms. No need to talk about Micheal Bennett, the other uber-leftist Senator from Boulder who was elected in 2010.

      The invasion from California back in the 1990s created a liberal Mecca in Colorado, and we went down the toilet like Mt Mount Vesuvius spewing all over Pompeii. Now, the Democrat controlled House has passed a ban on 15-round or larger “high capacity” magazines with heavy pressure from VP Joe Biden out here twisting the arms of Dems who might move off the reservation, Whatever happened to States’ rights?

      Anyway, yes, CO is a serious problem and we are doomed as doomed can be.

    • Draxx

      In Oregon illegal aliens can get a Drivers License with minimal documentation, as a Natural Born Citizen I have to bring all kinds of paperwork (total BS). 
      Oregon’s Agriculture consist mainly of Migrant Workers from Other Countries, take Meduri Farms Inc. for example they were busted for having over 75% illegal immigrants as workers in their Canery in Linn County.  Then the bought a building in Polk County and Re-Setup Shop there, most of the illegal workers got different Stolen Social Security Cards and worked under Different Names at the New Place!  Even though Complaints were Filed the State Immigration Dept refused to Pursue Meduri Farms…  Note: I used to be a Maintenance Mechanic for them, my boss (Raul, Hector, and I can’t remember the Other Name He Used illegally; was a 13 year illegal immigrant that would move around and work for Joseph Meduri.)  *Note: It is not Slander because this is True & Documented in an Investigation that went nowhere.

    • Anonymous

      Well said.  Colorado was not always the California East as it is known now.  The Libs and other assorted fruitcakes moved in from both coasts bringing their crime and problems with them.  Colorado has loved “their” illegals for years, they are not to be removed or prosecuted in any way, shape or form !  What was once a wonderful state GONE !

    • Anonymous

      A little weed can take the edge off your disappointment.

  • Anonymous

    So what about the fact that Jim DeMint is no longer a senator?

  • Xman3

    And there were no Demo-rats on the list?  Must be racist.   (anyone who votes for a Democrat may be and idiot).

  • AndrewD

    Orrin Hatch?  Conservative?  Ha!

    • Zade Maxfield

      There was a valiant effort to get Hatch out of Washington but unfortunately to many believed him when he said that if a Romney won he could be chairman on the Senate Judiciary Committee again, and that was a good enough reason to keep him. The sad thing is I did hear that if we got rid of Hatch that a senator from Idaho would have been chairman.  I don’t remember his name but it was said he was more conservative than Hatch is, which really isn’t saying much, but it is a good bet it is the James Risch talked about here.

  • Maria K

    I love all these men. Now we need to get some women on this list, but then again, conservative women tend to be smart, smart enough to stay away from the Senate. 😛

  • AW

    This report loses all credibility to me with Orin Hatch on the list. With his record of voting to raise the debt ceiling so many times, and his authorship of the NDAA and his voting a couple weeks ago to sell war planes to the muslim bortherhood of Egypt… and his declaration during the last election that anyone who supported the Constitution and was against him was an extreme radical right winger, that man does not belong anywhere near qualifying to be on the list of true Conservatives!  He is my Senator, and I do not support him and am ticked with my fellow Utah voters who voted with no true understanding of what they were voting for. Hatch’s being elected again proves again that democracy does not work! Never has, never will. Majority rule is easily manipulated!  

  • Anonymous

    are we missing the point….what difference “who” is the most conservative….other than knowing that….when 52% of the apparent voting block are liberals or socialists, what does it matter who is the “most” conservative?   Until the conservatives STAND UP to the liberal crowd in Washington, they will continue to be run over by Obama’s minions.   Conservatives must  learn immediately  that they cannot  “compromise” with the current administration nor his bureauracracies … doing so only makes things worse.  Being nice is not the name of the game now….even though it goes against the nature of conservatives to be combative, 
    that is the only thing the opposition understands…

  • Lena Just-Lena

    never heard of him either.. but that Texan at number 2 John Cornyn, Oh yes!

  • Martha Lee Vincent

    Yes, lets give this senator Risch from Idaho some kudos for his valiant fight for conservatism.  He certainly hasn’t had much help .  Thank you , sir.

  • Anonymous

    Isn’t it sad we can’t even find a few good men or women.  We are living in a lost world.  We need some intervention from God to get us back on track.  How sad…

  • Anonymous

    This guy from Idaho must have replaced Larry “Wide Stance” Craig

  • Karen Stewart

    I live in Idaho, and I constantly hear back from my senators on issues I contact them about – and my ultra conservative representative Raul Labrador.  It’s awesome the things they fight for here.  Why is it surprising to any Idaho resident that we have such a mass exodus of Californians coming to call this place home?

  • Anonymous

    I would like to see a list of the lowest ranking hypocritical member of the Republican party. As a conservative Republican we need to know this to vote the bums out.

    • greywolfrs

      Here, let me you out a little bit.

  • whitelion

    Im making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do,

  • Alex Walters

    What’s coming America? You really want the truth? I have recently heard that professional independant Truckers are going to no longer deliver ANY goods to Wal-Mart or SAM’s Club warehouses due to the Gun and magazine size bans.  Electrical & Telecommunications workers are talking about killing the power grid and Communications systems across the country themselves to show the Government who is really in charge of America.
    Many different workers from many different important stations in life, seem pretty angry and upset that this is happening. Recently heard two cross country truckers saying they are not going to pickup loads of fruits and Vegtables out of Mexico now. These are not rumors, these are actual conversations on both CB and the Ham Radios across America. 
    These people sound serious. They control commerce, food , electric power and all communications. This is a scary thought.
    But a understandable reaction to Obama but especially Diane Feinstein D-CA.
    They sound like they are pretty fed up with the entire mess in Washington,D.C.
     I’m just passing on information for everyone.  I’m not offering an opinion on this one at all.
    I guess we’ll see what’s happening in the near future. But it would be cool to see a whole bunch of Mexican produce dumped on the side of the road by some pissed off trucker………..  

The 411 From Glenn

Sign up for Glenn’s newsletter

In five minutes or less, keep track of the most important news of the day.