This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 2, 2009 - The latest congressional liberal-conservative ranking by the nonpartisan National Journal, which often finds its vote-based survey used in political ads, shows few are more conservative than U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Town and Country.
Akin ranks as the 5th most conservative in the 435-member House, based on his 2008 voting record. Fellow GOP Rep. Roy Blunt, who's running for the Senate, came in at No. 20.
The region's two Democrats -- U.S. Reps. William Lacy Clay and Russ Carnahan -- were ranked as 62nd and 116th, respectively, on the liberal scale. That puts both in the top quarter, but not as high as their GOP critics might like.
The Missouri Democrat who ranks the highest on the publication's "liberal" scale is Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Kansas City, who came at 27th. Fellow Democrat Ike Skelton of Lexington is the state's most conservative liberal, as it were, ranking 168th.
Among the remaining five Republicans:
Jo Ann Emerson of Cape Girardeau -- 183 on the conservative scale (she's 243rd on the liberal side)
Sam Graves of Tarkio -- ranks as the 132nd most conservative
Former congressman Kenny Hulshof is ranked 128th.
Earlier, the Journal rated the 100 members of the U.S. Senate. Republican Christopher "Kit" Bond was rated as 13th most conservative, while Democrat Claire McCaskill came in as the 46th most liberal (meaning, just above the middle). She was rated 52 on the conservative scale, while Bond came in 84th in the "liberal" ratings.