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Eighteen is three sixes

Your Humble Blogger invites you to look at this list:

  • Bill Frist
  • Rick Santorum
  • Olympia Snowe
  • Spencer Abraham
  • Mike DeWine
  • Fred Thompson
  • Rod Grams
  • John Ashcroft
  • Craig Thomas
  • John Kyl

Ugh. That’s a list of all those persons elected for the first time to the US Senate in 1994, eighteen years ago. The other thing about those persons is that none of them are in the Senate today.

Now, it’s a bit of a trick, since Jim Inhofe was a freshman Senator in 1994. But other than Sen. Inhofe, the other ten Republicans? Gone.

See, YHB was doing the biannual note about Senate Seniority and looking at who entered a fourth term this year. And the answer is… nobody. Not counting partials, anyway. When I had looked two years ago and two years before that, pretty much half the Senators were in their first or second terms, and another quarter in their third term. Now? The aforementioned Senator Inhofe ranked 18th in seniority, having served two years of a special term, two full terms and (so far) four years of his fourth (or third full). The next most senior is Ron Wyden, who took over Bob Packwood’s seat in 1996 and is two years into his third full term. Of the 13 new Senators in 1992, only three remain: Dianne Feinstein (in a special election), Barbara Boxer and Patty Murray. Year of the Woman!

Also of interest among the outliers: Tom Harkin has announced that this is his last term, as has Jay Rockefeller. I also don’t expect John Kerry to be in the Senate past next week, so that’s three of the top ten gone. In a couple of years, Barbara Mikulsky will soon (please the Divine) be number eight on the list! Maybe higher…

So. Using my old set-up: 67 Senators are in their first or second terms, having served less than twelve years so far. That’s a huge increase, isn’t it? And as I say, only 18 have served more than eighteen years, which is a huge decrease. In the house, only 40% have served more than twelve years, and 74 have served more than eighteen—that’s pretty close to the 18% of Senators. And down substantially in just a few years.

This is probably about demographics more than anything else, but it makes a difference in how the place is run.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


Evidently Max Baucus and Carl Levin will not be running for re-election in 2014, as well. So two years from now, Barbara Mikulski will be sixth-senior in the Upper House and second-senior Democrat in the Senate (please the Divine). Interestingly, it doesn't (yet) look like any of the fourth-term Republicans are going to retire, so five out of the top seven and six out of the top ten in seniority will be from the Other Party.


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