Scoring the Romney running mate choices: Portman the moderate option, Rubio the most conservative

A Club for Growth paper on Pawlenty, published during his short-lived run for president in 2011, offered a more complex analysis of the former Minnesota governor. The Club's analysis cited instances in which Pawlenty approved tax increases in the state and concluded that his "record on regulation is deeply troubling."

"It's clear that Governor Pawlenty is, for the most part, hard to pin down on his exact ideological moorings," the Club analysis read. " [W]e struggle to identify the real Tim Pawlenty."

Comparing the numbers

See the full rankings from The Club for Growth, Heritage Action, National Journal and the American Conservative Union below:

National Journal 2011 Vote Rankings

Ayotte 80.8 percent 17th most conservative in Senate
Portman 70.2 percent 35th most conservative in Senate
Rubio 83.3 percent 13th most conservative in Senate
Ryan 68.1 percent 150th most conservative in House
Thune 78.0 percent 24th most conservative in Senate

Portman -- Portman ranked at 70.2 percent, with high marks on the economic issues (82 percent) and mild on social issues (68 percent). He ranks as the 35th most conservative member in the chamber, just two notches above Lugar

Thune -- Thune came in ten places ahead of Portman as the 24th most conservative member of the Senate and a 78 percent ranking.

Ayotte - Ayotte ranked even higher as the 17th most conservative and an 80.8 percent ranking

Rubio - Rubio ranked as the most conservative among the group according to National Journal, listing him as the 13th most conservative in the Senate in 2011

Ryan - The 150th most conservative in the House, total score of 68.1 percent with 66 on economics, 57 on foreign policy and 74 on social issues.

American Conservative Union

The ACU ranked the Senate on 20 votes during the 2011 congressional session, including repeal of the health care law, a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution and a bill that increased the nation's debt limit.

Name 2011 Lifetime
Ayotte 95 percent 95 percent
Portman 75 percent 87.92 percent
Rubio 100 percent 100 percent
Ryan 80 percent 91.69 percent
Thune 75 percent 87.90 percent

Portman -- 75 percent with a lifetime rating of 87.92 percent.

Rubio -- received 100 percent voting record from the ACU, with a 100 percent life record, but that's only because they first started ranking him when he began his first term in 2010. (Compared to Portman, who began his career in the House in 1993--when Rubio was still a teenager.)

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