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Climbing the Ladder

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When Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley won reelection for a sixth term in November 2010 he and his fellow Iowa U.S. Senator, Democratic Tom Harkin, were 11th on the all-time list for the longest-serving delegation members serving together to the nation's upper legislative chamber. After the first 17+ months of the 112th Congress, they have already passed three pairs of senators and ascended into eighth place with 27 years, 5 months, and 18 days of service together through Wednesday. Presuming both senators continue serving until at least the end of Harkin's current term in January 2015, the duo will pass five more pairs for #3 on the all-time list, behind only South Carolinians Strom Thurmond and Ernest Hollings (36 years, 1 month, 26 days) and Mississippi Democrats James Eastland and John Stennis (31 years, 1 month, 23 days). Next on the list in seventh place: North Carolina Democrats Furnifold Simmons and Lee Overman who served from 1903 to 1930 at 27 years, 9 months, and 9 days.

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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 lieutenant 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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