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Harry Byrd's Death Leaves 167 Living Ex-Senators

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Minnesota has the most living former Senators with eight while six states have only one (Hawaii, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming)

harrybyrdjr10.jpgThe death of former Virginia Democrat turned independent U.S. Senator Harry Byrd, Jr. today at the age of 98 years, 7 months, 11 days also marked the passing of the oldest living ex-Senator in the nation.

Byrd is the third Senator to die this year - along with sitting Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey and former Democratic Senator William Hathaway of Maine - and leaves 167 ex-Senators still among the living.

Byrd was first elected as a Democrat in a special election in 1966 after the death of his father, Harry Byrd, and went on to capture two more decisive reelection victories as an independent in 1970 (by 22.4 points) and 1976 (by 18.9 points) before his retirement in January 1983.

Senator Byrd ultimately reached the #8 spot on the list of the longest living Senators of all-time, falling just seven days shy of tying four-term Rhode Island Democrat Theodore Green for seventh at 98 years, 7 months, 18 days.

Topping the list is one-term Republican Senator Cornelius Cole of California (1867-1873) who lived to the age of 102 years, 1 month, 18 days.

South Carolina's Democrat turned Republican Strom Thurmond (1954-2003) is second at 100 years, 6 months, 22 days followed by Arkansas Democrat John Heiskell (1913) at 100 years, 1 month, 27 days, Oregon Democrat Hall Lusk (1960) at 99 years, 7 months, 25 days, Missouri Republican Daniel Jewett (1870-1871) at 99 years, 24 days, and Anti-Administration New Hampshire Senator Paine Wingate (1789-1793) at 98 years, 9 months, 22 days.

Byrd is one of just 13 U.S. Senators in history to have lived at least to the age of 98 years.

U.S. Senators Reaching the Age of 98

U.S. Senator
State
Party
Span
Years
Months
Days
Cornelius Cole
California
Republican
1822-1924
102
1
18
Strom Thurmond
South Carolina
Republican
1902-2003
100
6
22
John Heiskell
Arkansas
Democrat
1872-1972
100
1
27
Hall Lusk
Oregon
Democrat
1883-1983
99
7
25
Daniel Jewett
Missouri
Republican
1807-1906
99
0
24
Paine Wingate
New Hampshire
Anti Administration
1739-1838
98
9
22
Theodore Green
Rhode Island
Democrat
1867-1966
98
7
18
Harry Byrd, Jr.
Virginia
Democrat
1914-2013
98
7
11
Frank P. Briggs
Missouri
Democrat
1894-1992
98
6
30
James Bradbury
Maine
Democrat
1802-1901
98
6
28
Mike Mansfield
Montana
Democrat
1903-2001
98
6
20
Gladys Pyle
South Carolina
Republican
1890-1989
98
5
1
Joseph Grundy
Pennsylvania
Republican
1863-1961
98
1
19
As of July 30, 2013. Table compiled by Smart Politics with information culled from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

Byrd's death leaves 167 living ex-U.S. Senators in history.

Along with the 100 men and women currently serving in the Senate, 13.7 percent of the 1,950 individuals to serve in the nation's upper legislative chamber are still alive today.

The oldest current living Senator is now Republican Edward Brooke of Massachusetts (1967-1979) - the first black elected to the Senate after the passage of the 17th Amendment.

Brooke, who served two terms before losing to Paul Tsongas in 1978, was born on October 26, 1919 - some 93 years, 9 months, and 15 days ago.

In addition to Brooke, six other men and women who served in the U.S. Senate are still alive at 90+ years of age:

· John Glenn, Ohio Democrat (1974-1999): 92 years, 13 days
· Fritz Hollings, South Carolina Democrat (1966-2005): 91 years, 6 months, 30 days
· Jocelyn Burdick, North Dakota Democrat (1992): 91 years, 5 months, 25 days
· Paul Laxalt, Nevada Republican (1974-1987): 90 years, 11 months, 28 days
· James Buckley, New York Conservative (1971-1977): 90 years, 4 months, 22 days
· Bob Dole, Kansas Republican (1969-1996): 90 years, 9 days

Of the 267 living ex-and currently serving Senators, one was born in the 1910s, 35 were born in the 1920s, 69 in the 1930s, 78 in the 1940s, 54 in the 1950s, 23 in the 1960s, and seven in the 1970s.

Every state has at least one living ex-Senator as of the writing of this report.

Minnesota leads the way with the most living ex-Senators at eight: Democrats Walter Mondale, Wendell Anderson, and Mark Dayton, Republicans Rudy Boschwitz, Dave Durenberger, Rod Grams, and Norm Coleman, and the Independence Party's Dean Barkley.

Colorado and Tennessee are next with seven each followed by Georgia and Illinois with six, and Arkansas, Florida, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Carolina, and Virginia with five.

Six states only have one living ex-Senator: Hawaii (Daniel Akaka), Mississippi (Trent Lott), Rhode Island (Lincoln Chafee), Vermont (Jim Jeffords), West Virginia (Carte Goodwin), and Wyoming (Alan Simpson).

Number of Living Ex-U.S. Senators by State

State
Senators
#
Minnesota
Walter Mondale, Wendell Anderson, Rudy Boschwitz, Dave Durenberger, Rod Grams, Dean Barkley, Mark Dayton, Norm Coleman
8
Colorado
Gary Hart, William Armstrong, Timothy Wirth, Hank Brown, Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Wayne Allard, Ken Salazar
7
Tennessee
William Brock, Howard Baker, Al Gore, Jr., Harlan Mathews, James Sasser, Fred Thompson, Bill Frist
7
Georgia
David Gambrell, Mack Mattingly, Wyche Fowler, Sam Nunn, Max Cleland, Zell Miller
6
Illinois
Adlai Stevenson III, Alan Dixon, Carol Moseley Braun, Peter Fitzgerald, Barack Obama, Roland Burris
6
Arkansas
Kaneaster Hodges, David Pryor, Dale Bumpers, Tim Hutchinson, Blanche Lincoln
5
Florida
Richard Stone, Connie Mack III, Bob Graham, George Lemieux, Mel Martinez
5
Massachusetts
Edward Brooke, Paul Kirk, Scott Brown, Mo Cowan, John Kerry
5
Missouri
John Danforth, John Ashcroft, Jean Carnahan, Jim Talent, Kit Bond
5
North Carolina
Robert Morgan, James Broyhill, Lauch Faircloth, John Edwards, Elizabeth Dole
5
Virginia
Paul Trible, Chuck Robb, George Allen, John Warner, Jim Webb
5
Indiana
Birch Bayh, Dan Quayle, Evan Bayh, Dick Lugar
4
Kansas
Bob Dole, Sheila Frahm, Nancy Kassebaum, Sam Brownback
4
Kentucky
Marlow Cook, Walter Huddleston, Wendell Ford, Jim Bunning
4
Nebraska
David Karnes, Bob Kerrey, Chuck Hagel, Ben Nelson
4
New Hampshire
Gordon Humphrey, Bob Smith, John Sununu, Judd Gregg
4
New Jersey
Nicholas Brady, Bill Bradley, Bob Torricelli, Jon Corzine
4
North Dakota
Mark Andrews, Jocelyn Burdick, Byron Dorgan, Kent Conrad
4
Alabama
Maryon Pittman Allen, Donald Stewart, Jeremiah Denton
3
California
John Tunney, John Seymoour, Pete Wilson
3
Connecticut
Lowell Weicker, Chris Dodd, Joe Lieberman
3
Idaho
Steven Symms, Dirk Kempthorne, Larry Craig
3
Iowa
Dick Clark, John Culver, Roger Jepsen
3
Louisiana
Elaine Edwards, John Johnston, John Breaux
3
Maine
George Mitchell, William Cohen, Olympia Snowe
3
Michigan
Robert Griffin, Donald Riegle, Spencer Abraham
3
Nevada
Paul Laxalt, Richard Bryan, John Ensign
3
New Mexico
Harrison Schmitt, Pete Domenici, Jeff Bingaman
3
New York
James Buckley, Alfonse D'Amato, Hillary Clinton
3
Ohio
John Glenn, Mike DeWine, George Voinovich
3
Oklahoma
Fred Harris, David Boren, Don Nickles
3
Pennsylvania
Richard Schweiker, Harris Wofford, Rick Santorum
3
South Dakota
James Abourezk, Larry Pressler, Tom Daschle
3
Texas
Robert Krueger, Phil Gramm, Kay Bailey Hutchison
3
Wisconsin
Robert Kasten, Russ Feingold, Herb Kohl
3
Alaska
Mike Gravel, Frank Murkowski
2
Arizona
Dennis DeConcini, Jon Kyl
2
Delaware
Joe Biden, Ted Kaufman
2
Maryland
Joseph Tydings, Paul Sarbanes
2
Montana
John Melcher, Conrad Burns
2
Oregon
Bob Packwood, Gordon Smith
2
South Carolina
Fritz Hollings, Jim DeMint
2
Utah
Jake Garn, Bob Bennett
2
Washington
Daniel Evans, Slade Gorton
2
Hawaii
Daniel Akaka
1
Mississippi
Trent Lott
1
Rhode Island
Lincoln Chafee
1
Vermont
Jim Jeffords
1
West Virginia
Carte Goodwin
1
Wyoming
Alan Simpson
1
As of July 30, 2013. Table compiled by Smart Politics with information culled from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

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2 Comments


  • John N. Heiskell of Arkansas is better known as the longtime owner and editor of the Arkansas Gazette, which won acclaim for its stance during the Little Rock Central High crisis of 1957. I was a reporter at that paper when it closed in 1991, and there were plenty of people around who had worked under Mr, Heiskell.

  • I was a reporter at that paper when it closed in 1991, and there were plenty of people around who had worked under Mr, Heiskell. Good news. Thanks for sharing

  • Leave a comment


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