Although he may be gone from national politics, Todd Akin, R-Mo., will not soon be forgotten. After making a misguided comment about "legitimate rape" during his campaign for the Senate, he defied party higher-ups (including GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney) and remained in the contest. A Senate seat that seemed likely to be his swung back to Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill, and Democrats nationwide used the incident to advance the idea that Republicans were tone deaf on women's issues.
It's not surprising that Akin has topped National Journal'sannual list of the most conservative representatives in the House. In the 111th Congress, he was one of the first legislators to join the Tea Party Caucus. Earlier in that term, he opposed the stimulus, health care reform, and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. He has been consistently outspoken against abortion under any circumstance and has maintained an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association. In one of his final acts in Congress, he voted against the last-minute fiscal-cliff compromise.
Following Akin on the list is Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia, who was elected president of the GOP freshman class in the 112th Congress.
See the complete list of the most conservative House members of 2012 below. Learn how the vote rankings are calculated here. A full breakdown of all House members' vote ratings will be made available on Thursday.
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- Todd Akin