Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Minnesota's Aging US House Delegation

Bookmark and Share

Minnesota's eight U.S. Representatives are the second oldest delegation in state history and odds are strong they'll set the record in 2014

ricknolan10.jpgWhen 68-year old Rick Nolan defeated 52-year old freshman Minnesota U.S. Representative Chip Cravaack in the state's 8th Congressional District race last November, he not only set a record by returning to the House after a 32-year absence but also put the Minnesota delegation on the brink of history.

Smart Politics tallied the average age of 79 U.S. House delegations from Minnesota since statehood and found that the group of eight men and women elected to the 113th Congress in 2012 is the second oldest of all time.

On Election Day, Nolan (68), Collin Peterson (68), John Kline (65), Betty McCollum (58), Michele Bachmann (56), Keith Ellison (49), Tim Walz (48), and Erik Paulsen (47) were an average 57.4 years of age. (Today the eight representatives are an average 58.0 years old).

That came in at just 0.2 years off the all-time record in the Gopher State and nearly 10 years higher than the Minnesota average throughout the last 150+ years.

Longer life spans generally plus aging incumbents and low turnover in recent decades have contributed to an increase in the average delegation age in the state.

Despite older delegations, only one Minnesota U.S. Representative has died in office in the last 66 years - 16-term Republican August Andresen in 1958.

Prior to Andresen, the last Gopher State delegation members to die in office were one-term DFLer William Gallagher in 1946 and four-term Farmer-Laborite Ole Kvale in 1929.

The oldest delegation in state history was the eight-member class elected to the 109th Congress in 2004 who were 57.6 years old on Election Day.

That delegation was comprised of Oberstar (70), Martin Sabo (66), Peterson (60), Jim Ramstad (58), Kline (57), Gil Gutknecht (53), McCollum (50), and Mark Kennedy (47).

Since statehood, the average age of Minnesota's newly elected House delegation has been 47.8 years old, of which only Paulsen fell below of the eight members elected in 2012.

When Cravaack upset 18-term and 74-year old Minnesota U.S. Representative Jim Oberstar in the 8th Congressional District in 2010, the delegation age dropped to an average of 53.4 years - the lowest mark since 1994 (51.5 years).

While Minnesota's current slate of U.S. Representatives are old from a state historical perspective, they are closer to the middle of the pack when compared to other state delegations across the country.

At the start of the 113th Congress, Minnesota's U.S. House delegation ranked tied for the 17th oldest in the country with Alaska, Vermont, West Virginia, and Oregon at the top of the list.

The youngest delegation in state history was its first when at-large Democrats James Cavanaugh (34) and William Phelps (31) entered Congress at an average 32.5 years in 1858.

The odds are strong Minnesota's U.S. House delegation in the 114th Congress will be its oldest ever.

If, hypothetically, all seven incumbents other than the retiring Michele Bachmann run for reelection and win, their average age will be 59.6 years in November 2014.

It is unclear who will emerge in the densely-packed GOP field in Bachmann's 6th CD, but 2010 gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer seems to have the inside track. (Emmer, who will be 53 on Election Day, would then bring the average delegation age to 58.0 years).

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Michelle Nunn: A Return to Dynastic Politics in Georgia?
Next post: The 10 Oldest Freshmen US Representatives in Minnesota History

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Which States Have the Longest and Shortest Election Day Voting Hours?

Residents in some North Dakota towns have less than half as many hours to cast their ballots as those in New York State.

Political Crumbs

Mary Burke: English First?

While multiculturalism and bilingualism are increasingly en vogue in some quarters as the world seemingly becomes a smaller place, one very high profile 2014 Democratic candidate does not shy away from the fact that she only speaks one language: English. In an attempt to highlight her private sector credentials working for Trek Bicycle, Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mary Burke boasts on her campaign bio page how she made great strides in international business dealings...while only speaking English: "Despite not speaking a single foreign language, she established sales and distribution operations in seven countries over just three years." Note: According to 2010 Census data, nearly half a million Wisconsinites over five years old speak a language other than English at home, or 8.7 percent, while 4.6 percent of Badger State residents do not speak English at all.


Does My Key Still Work?

Much has been made about Charlie Crist's political transformation from Republican to independent to Democrat en route to winning the Florida GOP and Democratic gubernatorial nominations over a span of eight years. Party-switching aside, Crist is also vying to become just the second Florida governor to serve two interrupted terms. Democrat William Bloxham was the first - serving four year terms from 1881 to 1885 and then 1897 to 1901. Florida did not permit governors serving consecutive terms for most of its 123 years prior to changes made in its 1968 constitution. Since then four have done so: Democrats Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, and Lawton Chiles and Republican Jeb Bush.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting