- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Why, he’s only the most true-blue conservative in the U.S. Senate, according to the National Journal’s “Congressional Vote Ratings” released Thursday. The judgment was made by roll-call voting records alone. Sen. James E. Risch, Idaho Republican, has the most conservative voting record for 2012.

“The former Idaho governor entered the Senate in 2009 at the age of 65. He has not attracted much national media attention, but has been a true stalwart when it comes to his conservative voting record. Most recently, he was one of only eight Republican senators to vote against the Violence Against Women Act,” the Journal reasons.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas is in second place, followed by Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina (who has since left office), Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

And on the House side? Former Rep. W. Todd Akin topped the list, though he’s “gone from national politics,” the Journal points out, “but won’t be forgotten,” following his controversial U.S. Senate campaign.

Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia is in second place, followed by Reps. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Jeffrey Landry of Louisiana (now out of office) and — all tied for fifth place — K. Michael Conaway of Texas, John Fleming of Louisiana, Jeb Hensarling of Texas, Jim Jordan of Ohio and Steve Scalise of Louisiana.

PICKING UP SPEED

Can’t argue with this: Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus reveals that the GOP raised $6.9 million in January, and has $7.1 million cash on hand. Mr. Priebus also is honing a practical, frugal image for the committee, a wise choice in an uneasy age.

“As we work to build and grow the party, we remain committed to spending our money wisely and are grateful to our donors and supporters,” Mr. Priebus says. “Grass-roots-level support was especially strong last month, and overall we added more new donors to our rolls than we did in January of 2009. Our donor base is now larger this year than it was in 2011.”

Still, Republicans should prepare to get feisty; the committee’s new Growth & Opportunity Project launched two months ago has not gotten much traction in the press. The effort must move from plodding to plotting to compete with Organizing for Action, which grew out of the wealth of voter data and money left over from President Obama’s 2012 campaign.

It hammers on Democratic issues with button-pushing drama: “Share this graphic so your friends know what’s at stake,” the outreach advises, touting a photo of Mr. Obama and first responders and a provocative caption advising, “These cuts are not smart. They are not fair People will lose their jobs.”

MR. ROMNEY’S RETURN

He’s been low-key and tending to family business since November. But Mitt Romney has agreed to make a big appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference when it opens in 22 days.

“The thousands gathered at CPAC this year are eager to hear from the former 2012 GOP presidential candidate at his first public appearance since the elections,” says American Conservative Union Chairman Al Cardenas. “We look forward to hearing Gov. Romney’s comments on the current state of affairs in America and the world, and his perspective on the future of the conservative movement.”

The 40th annual CPAC is a biggie, to be staged in a hotel on the banks of the Potomac River. Its cast includes Sarah Palin, a crowd of lawmakers, journalists and Republican thought leaders of every persuasion.

POSITIVES FOR TIM SCOTT

Story Continues →