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Perry Will Retire with 10th Longest Gubernatorial Tenure in US History

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The Texas governor will climb nine more spots on the all-time list with 5,144 days in office under his belt upon his retirement in January 2015

rickperry10.jpgWhile Rick Perry's announcement Monday afternoon that he would not seek a fourth full term as governor of the State of Texas will only further speculation of his 2016 presidential plans, it does begin to put a bow on one of the longest gubernatorial tenures in the history of the country.

Perry currently has the 19th longest such tenure at 4,583 days through Monday (12 years, 6 months, 18 days), and will end up at #10 all-time presuming he completes his term as expected on January 20th, 2015.

At that point, Perry will have tallied 5,144 days in office (14 years, 1 month) - besting former Wisconsin Republican Governor Tommy Thompson (currently at #10) by two days.

Along the way, Perry will also pass Jeffersonian-Republican Isaac Williamson of New Jersey, James Fenner (various political affiliations) of Rhode Island, Democrat George Hunt of Arizona, Republican William Milliken of Michigan, Republican Robert Ray of Iowa, Republican James Thompson of Illinois, Federalist John Gilman of New Hampshire, and Democrat Cecil Andrus of Idaho.

Just out of reach for the retiring Perry at #9 on the list is New York Republican Nelson Rockefeller at 5,466 days (14 years, 11 months, 18 days), as well as Democrat Albert Ritchie of Maryland at #8 (5,475 days), Anti-Federalist Arthur Fenner of Rhode Island at #7 (5,642 days), Democrat Edwin Edwards of Louisiana at #6 (5,784 days), Democrat James Hunt of North Carolina and Republican James Rhodes of Ohio tied at #4 (5,840 days), Democrat George Wallace of Alabama at #3 (5,848 days), and Republican William Janklow of South Dakota at #2 (5,851 days).

If Perry had decided to run for reelection, won, and served out his term, he would have recorded 6,600 days in office as Texas' chief executive (18 years, 0 months, 26 days) - second on the all-time list trailing only current Iowa Republican governor Terry Branstad, who plans to add to his total by running for reelection in 2014.

Climbing up the all-time gubernatorial service list is Oregon Democrat John Kitzhaber at #51 and California Democrat Jerry Brown at #53.

Kitzhaber has served 3,837 days through Monday (10 years, 6 months, 3 days) with Brown at 3,831 (10 years, 5 months, 26 days).

Note: Only post-U.S. Constitutional gubernatorial tenures are studied in this report.

The Top 20 Longest-Serving Governors in U.S. History

Rank
State
Governor
Party
Years
Service
Days
1
IA
Terry Branstad*
Republican
1983-1999, 2011-
18 yrs, 5 mos, 28 days
6,753
2
SD
William Janklow
Republican
1979-1987, 1995-2003
16 yrs, 0 mos, 7 days
5,851
3
AL
George Wallace
Democrat
1963-1967, 1971-1979, 1983-1987
16 yrs, 0 mos, 4 days
5,848
4
OH
James Rhodes
Republican
1963-1971, 1975-1983
15 yrs, 11 mos, 26 days
5,840
4
NC
Jim Hunt
Democrat
1977-1985, 1993-2001
15 yrs, 11 mos, 26 days
5,840
6
LA
Edwin Edwards
Democrat
1972-1980, 1984-1988, 1992-1996
15 yrs, 10 mos, 2 days
5,784
7
RI
Arthur Fenner
Anti-Federalist
1790-1805
15 yrs, 5 mos, 11 days
5,642
8
MD
Albert Ritchie
Democrat
1920-1935
14 yrs, 11 mos, 27 days
5,475
9
NY
Nelson Rockefeller
Republican
1959-1973
14 yrs, 11 mos, 18 days
5,466
10
WI
Tommy Thompson
Republican
1987-2001
14 yrs, 0 mos, 28 days
5,142
11
ID
Cecil Andrus
Democrat
1971-1977, 1987-1995
14 yrs, 0 mos, 20 days
5,133
12
NH
John Gilman
Federalist
1794-1805, 1813-1816
14 yrs, 0 mos, 6 days
5,119
13
IL
James Thompson
Republican
1977-1991
14 yrs, 0 mos, 5 days
5,118
14
IA
Robert Ray
Republican
1969-1983
13 yrs, 11 mos, 30 days
5,112
15
MI
William Milliken
Republican
1969-1983
13 yrs, 11 mos, 11 days
5,093
16
AZ
George Hunt
Democrat
1911-1919, 1923-1929, 1931-1933
13 yrs, 11 mos, 8 days
5,090
17
RI
James Fenner
Jeff-Rep; Jack-Dem, Law & Order
1807-1811, 1824-1831, 1843-1845
12 yrs, 11 mos, 31 days
4,749
18
NJ
Isaac Williamson
Jeffersonian Republican
1817-1829
12 yrs, 8 mos, 25 days
4,650
19
TX
Rick Perry*
Republican
2000-
12 yrs, 6 mos, 18 days
4,583
20
TN
William Carroll
Jeffersonian-Republican; Democrat
1821-1827, 1829-1835
12 yrs, 0 mos, 13 days
4,395
* Denotes a governor still in office. Data as of July 8, 2013. Note: Excludes pre-U.S. Constitutional gubernatorial service as well as gubernatorial service in U.S. territories. Data 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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