WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. Sens. Rod Grams and Paul Wellstone are headed into the history books after spending six years as near-perfect opposites.
The Minnesota senators compiled a modern record of disagreeing more than senators from any other state.
For the sixth straight year, Wellstone and Grams have the distinction of being the state delegation that agreed the least, according to Congressional Quarterly magazine's annual voting study, released Saturday.
Whenever the U.S. Senate divided along party lines in the year 2000, Grams voted the Republican way 96 percent of the time, and Democrat Wellstone opposed him 97 percent of the time.
The magazine's records go back to 1947, and not since then has a state elected two senators who so regularly canceled each other's votes, during every year, on every issue.
Grams was defeated in November, which closes the six-year run of Minnesota's political odd couple. Grams noted that his differences with Wellstone were political, not personal.
"Personally, I think Paul and I get along well," Grams said. "We can be very opposed on varying issues, but I've never gone to the (Senate) floor ever trying to take a cheap shot at Paul, and I don't think he's ever really done that to me."
Every state elects two senators, and U.S. Senate historian Richard Baker said it's not unusual for those senators to hold opposite views and, sometimes, have contrary personalities.
"It depends on the type of opposition," he said. "In some cases, they just marched off in different directions. And in other cases, there were real feuds there."
Macalester College communication professor Clay Steinman said out-of-state students have sometimes been puzzled that Minnesotans elected two polar opposites to represent them.
"Those students think it's odd, but you know, I think Minnesotans take a certain pride in it," Steinman said. "They see we have a state where the political spectrum is pretty wide, and people will continue to talk to each other across that spectrum, in a way they won't in a place like New York."
The annual Congressional Quarterly voting analysis examines every vote by every lawmaker in both House and Senate. One category it examines is party unity, or how often a lawmaker voted across party lines, on issues where Democrats and Republicans were in separate camps.
There were 145 such votes in the Senate last year, and 259 in the House. If no Senate delegation was less likely to cross party lines than Minnesota's, that wasn't true in the House.
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