As they race for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, the senators in the running are also in a battle for the title of most-conservative.
Ted Cruz of Texas wins. But not by much.
The new legislative ratings by the American Conservative Union, a leading grassroots conservative organization, gave three senators perfect 100 scores: Cruz, Mike Lee of Utah and the just-retired Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.
Another five senators were bunched together with ratings of 96. Included were Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Cruz, Rubio and Paul are all declared candidates for president and will compete in a Republican primary season where conservative credentials will be a major selling point.
Another Republican senator who has all but declared a run, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, had a far-more moderate score of 74.
Another presidential contender, Vermont independent Bernie Sanders who is running as a Democrat, scored four in the conservative group’s rating system.
The group’s ratings were based on an analysis of votes cast or positions taken on 25 key issues. The group’s ratings are designed to test the issues and votes that “serve as a dividing line to help separate those members of the U.S. House and Senate who protect liberty as conservatives and those who are truly liberal.”
Rubio and Paul only went afoul of the group’s positions once: their votes against an amendment that would have phased in a reduction in government subsidies for flood insurance.