During the 2010 Senate primary against former TV pitchman J.D. Hayworth, Senator John McCain insisted he wasn't "the Maverick" -- willing to cross party lines for crucial votes -- he once was. According to a study by the National Journal, he wasn't kidding.
The study finds that McCain, once considered a centrist Republican, is now amongst the most Conservative members of the Senate, based on analysis of 96 Senate votes cast in 2010.
According to the study, McCain's composite Conservative score for the 96 votes is 89.7 out of 100, which ties him with seven other senators as the most Conservative members of the Senate.
"The Mav's" new score is a dramatic shift from how he scored in prior studies conducted by the publication. In those studies, though, McCain hadn't just come off a Conservative showdown with a former TV pitchman that pundits at one point dubbed the "fight of his political career."
In order to get the support of Arizona's uber-Conservatives during the primary, in an effort to not be out-conservatized by Hayworth, McCain was drawn further to the right than ever before. In other words, McCain appears to have said adios to amnesty, and other left-wing policies he once supported.
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From the National Journal:
In the early part of this decade, McCain was far closer to the ideological middle of the chamber. From 2002 to 2006, he bounced between the 44th- and 49th-most conservative member, giving him the maverick title. His 89.7 composite conservative score is the farthest to the right of any year he has served in the Senate. In past National Journal vote ratings, McCain has come close only once--in 1994, his 89.2 composite conservative score made him the eighth-most conservative member of the Senate.
Some of the other Senators found to be the Senat's "most Conservative" include Senators John Barrasso, of Wyoming, John Cornyn, of Texas, and Jim Demint, of South Carolina.
See the rest of the list here.