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Minnesota Delegation Has 2nd Lowest Collective Seniority Ranking in U.S. Senate

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The soon-to-be seated DFL U.S. Senator Al Franken will now be able to assist Senior Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar with the state's constituency caseload, but will not enhance the state's collective seniority ranking in Capitol Hill's upper chamber.

Minnesota has the 2nd lowest level of seniority among the 50 states, with Klobuchar at #82 and Franken with the distinction of holding the lowest level of seniority - #100 out of 100 Senators. Only the Senators from the state of Colorado (Democrat's Mark Udall and Michael Bennett, who filled the seat vacated by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar on January 21st) have a collective lower seniority ranking (averaging #92.5) than Minnesota (#91).

Had Franken been able to avoid the recount and be sworn in on January 3rd with the rest of the country's newly-minted Senators from the 2008 election, he would have been ranked #94 in seniority - ahead of Oregon's Jeff Merkely, Alaska's Mark Begich, and appointed Senators Roland Burris (Illinois), Ted Kaufman (Deleware), Bennett (Colorado), and Kristin Gillibrand (New York).

However, even if that had been the case, the Gopher State's average seniority ranking between Klobuchar and Franken of #88 still would have landed them as the second lowest in the nation.

By contrast, the delegations from the Upper Midwestern states of Iowa (#3), North Dakota (#7), and Wisconsin (#8) all rank among the Top 10 states for collective seniority.

U.S. Senate Seniority Rankings, by State Delegation

Rank
State
Senior Senator
Junior Senator
Average
1
Massachusetts
2
14
8.0
2
West Virginia
1
17
9.0
3
Iowa
11
15
13.0
4
Hawaii
3
26
14.5
5
Connecticut
10
25
17.5
6
Utah
6
33
19.5
7
North Dakota
23
28
25.5
8
Wisconsin
24
31
27.5
9
California
27
29
28.0
10
Arizona
20
37
28.5
11
Indiana
5
53
29.0
12
Alabama
19
45
32.0
13
Michigan
9
56
32.5
13
Kentucky
16
49
32.5
15
Nevada
21
57
39.0
16
Kansas
39
40
39.5
17
Vermont
4
76
40.0
18
Maine
36
46
41.0
19
Pennsylvania
12
78
45.0
19
Washington
32
58
45.0
21
Montana
7
84
45.5
22
Maryland
18
75
46.5
23
Mississippi
8
86
47.0
24
Texas
34
65
49.5
25
New Mexico
13
88
50.5
26
Missouri
22
81
51.5
27
Oklahoma
35
69
52.0
28
South Dakota
42
70
56.0
29
Louisiana
44
72
58.0
30
Arkansas
51
66
58.5
31
New Hampshire
30
90
60.0
32
Rhode Island
43
83
63.0
33
Florida
54
73
63.5
34
Ohio
52
77
64.5
35
South Carolina
63
68
65.5
36
Oregon
38
94
66.0
36
Wyoming
47
85
66.0
38
Georgia
62
71
66.5
39
New Jersey
61
74
67.5
40
Illinois
41
96
68.5
41
Idaho
50
92
71.0
42
Tennessee
64
80
72.0
43
New York
48
99
73.5
44
Nebraska
59
89
74.0
45
Delaware
55
97
76.0
46
Alaska
60
95
77.5
47
North Carolina
67
93
80.0
48
Virginia
79
91
85.0
49
Minnesota
82
100
91.0
50
Colorado
87
98
92.5
Data compiled by Smart Politics.

The collective 2.5 years of service logged in by Minnesota's Senate delegation is also the 2nd lowest in the nation. By contrast, West Virginia's two Senators (Robert Byrd and Jay Rockefeller) have 75.0 collective years of service, followed by Massachusetts' Ted Kennedy and John Kerry (71.2 years), and Hawaii's Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka (65.6 years).

In the Upper Midwest, Iowa's delegation of Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin come in at #4 with 53.0 years of service, with North Dakota's delegation of Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan at #8 (39.1 years) and Wisconsin's Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold at #10 (37.0 years).

Years of Service by U.S. Senate State Delegation

Rank
State
Senior Senator
Junior Senator
Total
1
West Virginia
50.5
24.5
75.0
2
Massachusetts
46.7
24.5
71.2
3
Hawaii
46.5
19.1
65.6
4
Iowa
28.5
24.5
53.0
5
Utah
32.5
16.5
49.0
5
Connecticut
28.5
20.5
49.0
7
Indiana
32.5
10.5
43.0
8
North Dakota
22.5
16.6
39.1
9
Michigan
30.5
8.5
39.0
10
Vermont
34.5
2.5
37.0
10
Arizona
22.5
14.5
37.0
10
Wisconsin
20.5
16.5
37.0
13
Kentucky
24.5
10.5
35.0
13
Alabama
22.5
12.5
35.0
15
California
16.7
16.5
33.2
16
Montana
30.6
2.5
33.1
17
Mississippi
30.6
1.6
32.2
18
Nevada
22.5
8.5
31.0
18
Pennsylvania
28.5
2.5
31.0
20
New Jersey
24.5
3.5
28.0
21
New Mexico
26.5
0.5
27.0
21
Maine
14.5
12.5
27.0
23
Kansas
12.7
12.5
25.2
24
Maryland
22.5
2.5
25.0
24
Missouri
22.5
2.5
25.0
24
Washington
16.5
8.5
25.0
27
Texas
16.0
6.5
22.5
28
Oklahoma
14.7
4.5
19.2
29
New Hampshire
16.5
0.5
17.0
29
South Dakota
12.5
4.5
17.0
29
Louisiana
12.5
4.5
17.0
29
Arkansas
10.5
6.5
17.0
33
Rhode Island
12.5
2.5
15.0
34
Wyoming
12.5
2.0
14.5
35
Oregon
13.3
0.5
13.8
36
Illinois
12.5
0.5
13.0
36
Ohio
10.5
2.5
13.0
36
Florida
8.5
4.5
13.0
39
Idaho
10.5
0.5
11.0
39
New York
10.5
0.5
11.0
39
Georgia
6.5
4.5
11.0
39
South Carolina
6.5
4.5
11.0
43
Delaware
8.5
0.5
9.0
43
Nebraska
8.5
0.5
9.0
43
Tennessee
6.5
2.5
9.0
46
Alaska
6.6
0.5
7.1
47
North Carolina
4.5
0.5
5.0
48
Virginia
2.5
0.5
3.0
49
Minnesota
2.5
0.0
2.5
50
Colorado
0.5
0.5
1.0
Data compiled by Smart Politics.

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Previous post: It's the Snowball Fights: Minnesota Has Lowest Rate of Overweight Children in America
Next post: Minnesota's 'Youthful' U.S. House Delegation

1 Comment


  • Looking at the overall data makes me wonder why people get so excited about term limits. More than half of the senate has been there less than two terms.

    Too bad for MN seniority, but it's only up from here. And I guess you win some you lose some. At least the kids aren't overweight... ;-)

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

    A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

    Political Crumbs

    Small Club in St. Paul

    Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


    Respect Your Elders?

    With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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