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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, December 07, 2017 12:00 pm

Donnelly ranks 2nd on bipartisan list

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., is the second most bipartisan U.S. senator of the past quarter century, according to the Lugar Center and Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy.

Only Lincoln Chafee, a Republican senator from Rhode Island from 1999 through 2006, scored higher on the Lugar-McCourt Bipartisan Index, which rates 240 senators since 1993 on how well they work across political party lines.

The index measures the frequency with which a senator co-sponsors legislation introduced by the opposite party and the frequency with which a senator's own bills attract co-sponsors from the opposite party.

The nonprofit Lugar Center, a global issues think tank, is headed by Richard Lugar, a Republican senator from Indiana from 1976 through 2012. Donnelly, who is up for re-election next year, replaced Lugar in the Senate in 2013.

The index rates Lugar as the 26th most bipartisan senator since 1993. Former Indiana senator Evan Bayh, a Democrat, ranks 66th, and former senator Dan Coats, a Republican who is national intelligence director, ranks 228th.

The index ends with the 2016 session, so first-year Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., is not included.

The least bipartisan lawmaker on the list is Jim DeMint, a Republican senator from South Carolina from 2005 to 2012. 

The Lugar Center said in a news release the last three Congresses have been the most partisan of the 12 measured. According to the index, 17 of the 25 most partisan senators served in the 114th Congress in 2015-16, while only six of the 25 most bipartisan senators did.