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

Ayotte -- 95 percent with lifetime rating the same lifetime rating. Like Rubio, Ayotte joined Congress in 2011.

Thune -- Received a 75 percent ranking in 2011, but a 100 percent ranking in 2010. With 13 years of service he has an 87.90 lifetime rating from the ACU.

Ryan - Paul Ryan was given an 80 percent rating in 2011, a drop of 16 points from 2010. In 13 years n the House the ACU ranks him in the top tier: 91.69 percent

Heritage Action Legislative Scorecard

Ayotte 75 percent
Portman 70 percent
Rubio 96 percent
Thune 74 percent

Rubio - 96 percent

Rubio ranks in the top four most conservative members of the Senate, based on his actions during his first two years in the Senate. He ranks below South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, all members of the Senate Tea Party Caucus, which Rubio decided not to join when elected to the chamber. Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, also a member of the caucus ranks just below Rubio with a 94 percent ranking.

Portman - 70 percent

Heritage Action dinged Portman for not co-sponsoring a number of bills the group deemed important. On his vote percentage, they rated him at 74 percent giving him black marks for voting to raise the debt limit--which Portman has remained consistent throughout his time in both the House and Senate.

Thune - 74 percent

Ayotte - 75 percent

Ayotte garnered relatively high rankings for her vote record (80 percent), but Heritage Action dropped her ranking for choosing not to co-sponsor bills the group supported.

The Senate Republican average is 73 percent.

The Club for Growth

Ayotte 98 percent 8th most conservative in Senate
Portman 80 percent 29th most conservative in Senate
Rubio 97 percent 10th most conservative in Senate
Ryan 73 percent 101st most conservative in House
Thune 89 percent 20th most conservative in Senate

Rubio -- 97 percent

Rubio sought the approval of the club early in his political career, looking to the network of free-market conservatives to bolster his credentials and his support when few knew of him.

Portman -- ranked 29th in 2011 with an 80 percent score. That is also his lefetime average since the Club began using the scorecard.

Thune -- 20th in the Senate, 89 percent in 2011 83 percent lifetime

Ayotte -- ranks 8th in the Senate, 98 percent score in 2011, her first year in the chamber

Ryan - 101 in the House with a 73 percent score in 2011 and an 88 percent lifetime average

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