It’s almost the end of this session of Congress, and looking back we can see who were the most conservative members. The DW-NOMINATE score was developed by Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal as a way to determine where legislators voted in relation to each other.
By looking at how each legislator voted on every roll call vote compared to the member’s peers, DW-NOMINATE is able to show how liberal or conservative a Congressman or Senator is.
Over the course of a session, they develop a score based on how they vote compared to their peers. By looking at hundreds of roll call votes and comparing them mathematically, the DW-NOMINATE process is able to figure out where each member sits politically compared to other members.
The closer to -1 a member’s score is, the more liberal they are. The closer to 1 a member’s score is, the more conservative they are. At zero, a member is considered very, very centrist.
On this list, the closer the score is to 1, the more conservative the member is.
Knowing this, Poole is able to rank them in order of partisan tilt based only on how they voted in a single session.
As the 112th Congress approaches its end, we can look to the DW-NOMINATE score to see who were the most conservative members of the House of Representatives mathematically.
Hensarling, the chairman of the House Republican Congress, was a co-chair of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, better known as the 'Super Committee.' He is also a former chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee.
Campbell, a four-term Congressman, serves on the House Committee on Financial Services and the Budget Committee. He also chairs the Budget and Spending Task Force of the Republican Study Committee.
Franks, a four-term Congressman from Arizona, is another active member of the Republican Study Committee. He also serves on the House Armed Services and Judiciary committees.
Stutzman was elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010, and since then has racked up a staunchly conservative record in Congress. The Indiana Republican is the Deputy Whip for the Republican House Caucus and serves on the powerful House Budget and Agriculture committees.
Another beneficiary of the Tea Party wave, Mulvaney serves on the Budget Committee, and earned conservative cred as a co-author of the Republican 'Cut, Cap and Balance' legislation. He is also a member of the Republican Study Committee and the Tea Party Caucus.
A libertarian-leaning Republican, Amash is a vocal supporter of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and one of the most far-right deficit hawks on the House Budget Committee.
But while Amash's conservative record is strong, he has occassionally bucked his party, most notably by voting against Paul Ryan's budget and against the deal to raise the debt ceiling. These votes apparently raised the the ire of the GOP House leaders, who voted last week to strip Amash of his position on the Budget Committee in the next Congress.
Another Tea Party freshman, Graves sits on the powerful House Committee on Appropriations, and is another member of the Republican Study Committee and the Tea Party Caucus.
A staunch social and fiscal conservative, Broun is a member of both the Republican Study Committee and the Tea Party Caucus. He also sits on the House Homeland Security Committee, as well as the Science, Space and Technology Committee.
Paul, a three-time presidential candidate and libertarian demigod, closes his three-decade career in the House of Representatives as its second-most conservative member. Paul claims that he does not vote for any legislation unless he is convinced 'the proposed measure is expressly authorised by the Constitution.'
Paul is also a member of the Republican Liberty Caucus, and the founder of the Campaign For Liberty, a political organisation that aims to elect libertarian-minded Republicans and inject libertarian principles in the GOP platform.
Flake, the incoming Senator from Arizona, earned the distinction of being the most conservative member of the House of Representatives during the 112th Congress. During his 10 years in the House, he served on the powerful Appropriations Committee, and as a member of the Liberty Caucus and the Republican Study Committee.
In the 2012 election, Flake narrowly beat Democrat Richard Carmona in the race to replace Arizona's departing Republican Senator John Kyl.
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