Idaho’s Risch ranked as Senate’s most conservative lawmaker

In its annual ranking based on key votes, National Journal calls freshman GOP Sen. Jim Risch of “obscure” but “a true stalwart when it comes to his conservative voting record, most recently being one of just eight Republican senators to vote against the Violence Against Women Act.”

Risch received a 95.8 percent conservative score for 2012, besting Republicans John Cornyn of Texas, recently-resigned Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

Idaho GOP Sen. Mike Crapo ranked No. 9 of 100, at 87.3 percent.

The House rankings of the Top 25 conservatives were released Tuesday, but neither Idaho Republican Reps. Raul Labrador or Mike Simpson made the cut. Risch’s House counterpart: former Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., who scored 97 percent in his final year in the House. Akin lost what was seen as a sure-bet GOP Senate pickup in November after his famous “legitimate rape” comments.

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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