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Grassley and Harkin Become #5 Longest-Serving Senate Duo

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At 28 years and counting, Iowa's U.S. Senate delegation has served longer than all but four other pairs and has notched the second-longest period among members of different parties

chuckgrassley10.jpgWhen the 113th Congress convenes on Thursday the Iowa U.S. Senate delegation of Republican Chuck Grassley and Democrat Tom Harkin will reach an impressive milestone.

Grassley and Harkin have now served together in the U.S. Senate for 28 years, which is not simply the longest current streak in the nation's upper legislative chamber, but one of the longest in U.S. history.

A Smart Politics review of U.S. Senate biographical data finds that Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin have notched the fifth longest period of consecutive service for a statewide Senate delegation overall, and the second longest stretch ever recorded for Senators in the same state from different political parties.

On Wednesday, Grassley and Harkin will tie Washington Democrats Warren Magnuson and Scoop Jackson (1953-1981) and Delaware Republican William Roth and Democrat Joe Biden (1973-2001) with 28 years of consecutive service.

However, those streaks ended at exactly 28 years when Magnuson and Roth lost their reelection bids in 1980 and 2000 respectively.

Grassley was elected to his sixth term in 2010 and Harkin will be up for his sixth term in 2014.

If both Hawkeye State Senators serve until at least the end of Harkin's current term in January 2015, the duo will pass Maine Republicans Eugene Hale and William Frye for fourth place as well as Arkansas Democrats John McClellan and William Fulbright for third.

Hale and Frye served together in the Senate for 29 years, 11 months, and 13 days from 1881 to 1911 until Hale's retirement.

McClellan and Fulbright served together for 29 years, 11 months, and 28 days from 1945 to 1974 - a stretch that ended when Fulbright failed to receive his party's nomination in the 1974 election.

To reach second on the all-time list, Harkin would need to run and get reelected in 2014 and serve together with Grassley into 2016, when they would pass Mississippi Democrats James Eastland and John Stennis, who served together 31 years, 1 month, and 22 days from 1947 to 1978.

South Carolina Republican Strom Thurmond and Democrat Ernest Hollings top the list with 36 years, 1 month, and 26 days of service side-by-side in the Senate ending with Thurmond's retirement in 2003.

In order to pass Thurmond and Hollings' all-time mark, Harkin would have to get reelected to a sixth term in 2014 and a seventh term in 2020 and Grassley reelected to a seventh term in 2016 to set the record in the Spring of 2021.

With the death of Daniel Inouye (a few weeks before the retirement of Daniel Akaka), the next longest duo currently serving in the Senate is California's Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.

As of Wednesday, the California Democrats will have served alongside one another in the nation's upper legislative chamber for 20 years since January 3, 1993.

Inouye and Akaka served together for 22 years, 7 months, and 1 day before Inouye's death a little more than two weeks ago.

U.S. Senate State Delegation Duos with 20+ Years of Service, 1789-Present

Rank
State
Senator
Senator
Years
Years
Months
Days
1
SC
Strom Thurmond (R)
Ernest Hollings (D)
1966-2003
36
1
26
2
MS
James Eastland (D)
John Stennis (D)
1947-1978
31
1
22
3
AR
John McClellan (D)
J. William Fulbright (D)
1945-1974
29
11
28
4
ME
Eugene Hale (R)
William Frye (R)
1881-1911
29
11
13
5*
IA
Charles Grassley (R)
Tom Harkin (D)
1985-
28
0
0
5
DE
William Roth (R)
Joe Biden (D)
1973-2001
28
0
0
5
WA
Warren Magnuson (D)
Scoop Jackson (D)
1953-1981
28
0
0
8
NC
Furnifold Simmons (D)
Lee Overman (D)
1903-1930
27
9
9
9
OR
Mark Hatfield (R)
Bob Packwood (R)
1969-1995
26
8
28
10
NM
Pete Domenici (R)
Jeff Bingaman (D)
1983-2009
26
0
0
10
WV
Jennings Randolph (D)
Robert Byrd (D)
1959-1985
26
0
0
12
WV
Robert Byrd (D)
Jay Rockefeller (D)
1985-2010
25
5
13
13
VT
George Edmunds (R)
Justin Morrill (R)
1867-1891
24
7
28
14
MA
Ted Kennedy (D)
John Kerry (D)
1985-2009
24
7
23
15
CT
Orville Platt  (R)
Joseph Hawley (R)
1881-1905
24
0
0
15
MO
Francis Cockrell (D)
George Vest (D)
1879-1903
24
0
0
17
GA
Walter George (D)
Richard Russell (D)
1933-1957
23
11
21
18
LA
Allen Ellender (D)
Russell Long (D)
1948-1972
23
6
27
19
HI
Daniel Inouye (D)
Daniel Akaka (D)
1990-2012
22
7
1
20
AL
J. Lister Hill (D)
John Sparkman (D)
1946-1969
22
1
28
21
CT
Chris Dodd (D)
Joe Lieberman (D)
1989-2011
22
0
0
21
WY
Clarence Clark (R)
Francis Warren (R)
1895-1917
22
0
0
23
NE
Roman Hruska (R)
Carl Curtis (R)
1955-1976
21
11
26
24
AK
Ted Stevens (R)
Frank Murkowski (R)
1981-2002
21
10
29
25
ND
Milton Young (R)
Quentin Burdick (D)
1960-1981
20
4
26
26
RI
Claiborne Pell (D)
John Chafee (R)
1976-1997
20
0
5
27*
CA
Dianne Feinstein (D)
Barbara Boxer (D)
1993-
20
0
0
27
MD
Paul Sarbanes (D)
Barbara Mikulski (D)
1987-2007
20
0
0
27
NJ
Clifford Case (R)
Harrison Williams (D)
1959-1979
20
0
0
As of January 2, 2013. 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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