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Michael Steele Era on Par with Historical Tenure of RNC Chairmen

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Over 75 percent of RNC Chairmen throughout history have served less than two full terms; 61 percent have served two years or less

The election of Reince Priebus as the next Republican National Committee (RNC) Friday afternoon ended Michael Steele's quest to continue at his post for another two years.

Steele's defeat ends his Chairmanship at two years, which is on par with the average tenure for RNC Chairmen throughout history.

A Smart Politics review of past Republican National Committee chairmen finds that 77 percent (49 of 64) served less than four years, with only 15 former chairmen serving two or more full terms (23 percent).

Steele continues a recent trend for RNC chairmen, as none of his five predecessors served more than two years: Jim Gilmore (2001-2002), Marc Racicot (2002-2003), Ed Gillespie (2003-2005), Ken Mehlman (2005-2007), and Mike Duncan (2007-2009).

With Steele's defeat, 61 percent of former RNC chairmen have notched tenures of two years or less (39 of 64), including 10 of the last 13 dating back to 1981.

Thirty percent of chairmen throughout history served less than two years (19 of 64).

Overall, the average tenure of RNC chairs has been approximately two years and five months.

The longest serving chairmen in Committee history were future U.S. Senator from New York Edwin Morgan (the Party's first chairman), who held the office for eight years from 1856-1864 and Ohio Senator Marcus Hanna, who chaired the committee from 1896 to 1904.

Length of Service of Republican National Committee Chairmen, 1856-2011

Years
#
Percent
<1
4
6.3
1
15
23.4
2
20
31.3
3
10
15.6
4
12
18.8
6
1
1.6
8
2
3.1
Total
64
100.0
Table compiled by Smart Politics.

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Remains of the Data

Who Has Won the Most Votes in US Senate Electoral History?

Only three of the Top 10 and nine of the Top 50 vote-getters of all time are currently serving in the chamber.

Political Crumbs

Six for Thirteen

Collin Peterson remarked last month that he is leaning to run for reelection to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2016. If he does and is victorious, he will creep even closer to the top of the list of the longest-serving U.S. Representatives in Minnesota history. The DFL congressman is only the sixth Minnesotan to win at least 13 terms to the U.S. House of the 135 elected to the chamber in state history. Peterson trails 18-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (1975-2011), 16-term Republicans Harold Knutson (1917-1949) and August Andresen (1925-1933; 1935-1958), and 14-term DFLers Martin Sabo (1979-2007) and John Blatnik (1947-1974). Andresen died in office, Sabo and Blatnik retired, and Knutson and Oberstar were defeated at the ballot box in 1948 and 2010 respectively. At 70 years, 7 months, 11 days through Monday, Peterson is currently the ninth oldest Gopher State U.S. Representative in history. DFLer Rick Nolan of the 8th CD is the seventh oldest at 71 years, 1 month, 23 days.


Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


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