Susan Davis, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON - The most controversial Senate candidate in 2012 was also the U.S. House's most conservative lawmaker, according to annual ratings compiled by National Journal.
Former representative Todd Akin, R-Mo., who lost to Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in large part over his comment about "legitimate rape," earned the distinction. Akin was a consistent fiscal and social conservative with top ratings from abortion opponents and gun rights groups including the National Rifle Association. He voted against the year-end "fiscal cliff" deal that raised rates on wealthy Americans as one of his final acts in Congress.
The second most conservative lawmaker was Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., who served as class president for the historic 2010 freshman class that rode in on a wave of Tea Party sentiment. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., ranked third.
On the other side of the spectrum,14 Democrats tied for the most liberal lawmaker for the previous session. That is down from last year, where 19 Democrats tied for first place. Seven Democrats have been ranked the most liberal for two years running: Reps. William Lacy Clay of Missouri, Donna Edwards of Maryland, John Olver of Massachusetts, and California Reps. Mike Honda, Barbara Lee, Pete Stark, and Lynn Woolsey.
Olver and Woolsey retired at the end of the 112th Congress and no longer serve in the House.
National Journal has been compiling vote ratings for three decades based on selected roll-call votes to see how lawmakers compare with each other on an ideological scale.