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Rising From the Right: Barrasso's rise in Senate follows increasingly conservative course

Sen. John Barrasso’s uncompromising brand of politics has puzzled some who expected a less-confrontational approach when he first went to Washington. Barrasso made his first bid for elected office in 1996, when he sought the Republican nomination in the race to succeed retiring Sen. Alan Simpson, a moderate who supported abortion rights. At the time, Barrasso also characterized himself as “pro-choice,” and was thought to be the front runner. But he narrowly lost to Mike Enzi, who stressed his anti-abortion credentials and went on to defeat Democrat Kathy Karpan in the general election. As Roll Call put it, Barrasso’s “perception as a moderate was his ultimate undoing.” Barrasso would not make the same mistake twice.