The Most Bipartisan Members of Congress: Where Wisconsin’s Senators Rank

By Christina Lorey

October 3, 2022

It takes compromise for bills to pass in Washington and for change to happen in Wisconsin. How often do Wisconsin’s Senators actually work with the other side?

That’s the premise of Georgetown University’s annual study, the “Bipartisan Index.” This year’s rankings, unsurprisingly, reveal a sharp drop in bipartisanship in both the House and Senate, especially among Republicans. 

But there are also signs of hope: Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) was named the country’s most bipartisan senator, with the highest score ever recorded by a Democrat.

Where Wisconsin Landed

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) ranked 39th out of 98 senators. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who’s currently running for re-election against Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, was more than 50 places behind and ranked 94th out of 98. (Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell were not included in Georgetown’s data.)

How They Got There

The Bipartisan Index measures how often a member of Congress introduces a bill that attracts co-sponsors from the other party, and how often they, in turn, co-sponsor a bill introduced by the other party. 

The most recent ranking (released this summer) covers 2021, the first year of President Joe Biden’s term, and the first time since 2010 that Democrats controlled both houses of Congress.

Other Notable Names

Two moderate Democrats who often made headlines for holding up President Biden’s plans in the evenly-divided Senate scored high for bipartisanship: Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) ranked fourth and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) ranked seventh.

Two freshmen senators elected in 2020, who are already up for re-election this fall, also had strong bipartisan scores: Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) ranked 18th and Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) ranked 22nd. 

Potential 2024 Republican presidential candidates generally ranked near the bottom. An exception was Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who ranked 23rd. Other senators, like Tom Cotton (R-AR), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Rick Scott (R-FL), all ranked 90th or below.

Former Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), was the lowest ranking member of the Democratic caucus at 87th.

Click here to see the full list.

The Bottom Line

When running for office, many politicians conveniently promise they’ll “work with the other side.” 
If that’s important to you, check their record before casting your ballot this November.


  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.



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