Kentucky GOP U.S. Senator Rand Paul's recent vow that Congress should "nullify anything the president does that smacks of legislation" in his executive orders on gun control brings to mind a minor political party which was founded on perceived federal overreach. The Nullifier Party of the 1830s was a state's rights party founded by former Vice-President John Calhoun and was rooted in the principles outlined in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798, which held in part that states can nullify federal laws they deemed unconstitutional or laws that adversely affected one state or part of the country over another. Based in South Carolina, the Nullifiers seated two members in the Senate in the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th Congresses (1831-1837) with four U.S. Representatives in the 22nd, nine in the 23rd, eight in the 24th, and six in the 25th. For the time being, Senator Paul remains a Republican.
Big-name Republicans are not coming out of the woodwork yet to challenge Al Franken in Minnesota's 2014 U.S. Senate race, and there is not much chatter of the GOP picking off one of the five DFL-held U.S. House seats either. Over the last century, Minnesota Republican U.S. House candidates have not fared all that well in cycles ending in '4' - losing seats in five of these cycles (1914, 1924, 1944, 1954, 1974), holding serve in four others (1964, 1984, 1994, 2004), and gaining seats just one time (1934, after redistricting had been delayed one cycle with all nine seats voted at-large in 1932). Perhaps the Republican Party's best chance for a pick up in the Gopher State in 2014 is if 12-term Democrat Collin Peterson retires after nearly a quarter century on Capitol Hill. The 7th CD has the second largest GOP lean in the state.
Of the 15 men and women that have served in the U.S. Senate from Wisconsin since popular vote elections were introduced a century ago, Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin rank among the oldest upon first entering the chamber. Johnson began his tenure at the age of 55 years, 8 months, and 26 days in January 2011, which is the oldest of any elected Wisconsin Senator during this popular vote era. The next oldest, Alexander Wiley, was more than one year younger when he took his seat in 1939 (54 years, 7 months, 8 days). Tammy Baldwin comes in at #6 being 50 years, 10 months, and 23 days when she took office in January of this year. The youngest elected Senator from the Badger State was Robert La Follette, Jr. at 30 years, 7 months, and 24 days (1925) when he took the seat of his legendary deceased father.
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