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Group labels Murkowski least conservative GOP senator

Sen. Lisa Murkowski
ANDREW COUNCILL / McClatchy-Tribune photo

It's really no surprise given last year's wild U.S. Senate race in Alaska: Heritage Action for America's legislative "scorecard" released today rates Alaska's Lisa Murkowski as the least conservative Republican in the Senate. With her 40% rating in 23 votes and sponsorships chosen by HAA for its rankings, Murkowski rated beneath even her kindred spirits from Maine, Sens. Susan Collins (45%) and Olympia Snowe (51%). Murkowski had to appeal to Alaska moderates to win her 2010 write-in campaign for Senate over tea party-backed Republican nominee Joe Miller, and since then she's made it clear she won't necessarily vote in lockstep with the party's leaders.

Still, Murkowski is well to the right of the most conservative Democratic senator in the scorecard, Ben Nelson of Nebraska at 25%. Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat considered a moderate, got 10%.

Heritage Action for America is a new activist offshoot of The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. In a press release issued in conjunction with the scorecard, headlined "Conservative scorecard doesn't grade on a curve," HAA chief Michael A. Needham said: "We are tough graders, and we don't apologize for it."

Read more at the Portland (Maine) Press Herald.