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Chuck Grassley: Keeps on Ticking

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The oldest U.S. Senator in Iowa history is now eying the #1 spot for the longest-serving member of the chamber from the Hawkeye State

chuckgrassley10.jpgSenior Iowa U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley turned a few heads last week when he announced that he would be running for reelection...in 2016.

Iowa already has a high profile U.S. Senate race on the ballot before then in the battle for retiring Democrat Tom Harkin's open seat in 2014.

Grassley explained that his decision to run again was based in part on preventing the state from being put in the position of having both of the state's delegation members sitting low on the seniority totem pole come 2017:

"If Iowa had to start over two years from now with two very junior senators it would hurt Iowans' opportunities to get anything done in the Senate."

Grassley recently became the oldest serving Iowa Senator in state history, and is scheduled to pass Republican William Allison for the #1 slot later this term for the longest-serving Hawkeye State U.S. Senator in history.

Iowa's Oldest U.S. Senators

William Allison was 79 years, 5 months, and 2 days old when he died in office on August 4, 1908.

A few years prior he had eclipsed the record for the state's oldest living Senator set by fellow Republican John Gear.

Gear served less than a term but was the oldest Iowan to enter the Senate at 69, and was 75 years, 3 months, and 7 days old when he died in office on July 14, 1900.

Allison's mark as the oldest Iowa U.S. Senator stood for more than 105 years after his death until Grassley passed him on February 20, 2013 when he reached 79 years, 5 months, and 3 days.

Grassley celebrated his 80th birthday a week ago Tuesday and will reach 83 years, 3 months, 17 days at the end of his current term and, if reelected, would reach 89 years, 3 months, 17 days at the end of his next term to truly pad his record.

Senator Grassley entered the chamber at the age of 47 - which is only slightly younger than the average age of 49.5 years among the 33 to serve in the Senate from Iowa since statehood.

Rounding out the Top 5 oldest Senators in Iowa history are Republican Albert Cummins (1908-1926) at #3 at 76 years, 5 months, 15 days, Democrat Guy Gillette (1936-1945, 1949-1955) at #4 at 75 years, 11 months, and Republican John Gear (1895-1900) at #5 at 75 years, 3 months, 7 days.

Tom Harkin is currently in sixth place, and will remain so at the end of his term when he exits the chamber at 75 years, 1 month, 15 days.

Only one other Iowa U.S. Senator has served in his 70s: Bourke Hickenlooper (1945-1969) was 72 years, 5 months, and 13 days old when he retired at the end of his fourth term.

The average age of Iowa U.S. Senators upon exiting the chamber - due to retirement, defeat at the ballot box, or death - is 60.

Four Iowa U.S. Senators have died in office - all within a quarter-century of each other - and three of whom are among the Top 5 oldest to ever serve the state: Gear (1900), Allison (1908), Republican Jonathan Dolliver (1910), and Cummins (1926).

Age of Iowa U.S. Senators Exiting Office

Rank
Senator
Party
Left Office
Years
Months
Days
1
Chuck Grassley*
Republican
(in office)
80
0
8
2
William Allison
Republican
August 4, 1908
79
5
2
3
Albert Cummins
Republican
July 30, 1926
76
5
15
4
Guy Gillette
Democrat
January 3, 1945
75
11
0
5
John Gear
Republican
July 14, 1900
75
3
7
6
Tom Harkin*
Democrat
(in office)
73
10
6
7
Bourke Hickenlooper
Republican
January 3, 1969
72
5
13
8
Thomas Martin
Republican
January 3, 1961
67
11
16
9
Samuel Kirkwood
Republican
March 3, 1867
67
2
15
10
James Wilson
Republican
March 3, 1895
66
4
12
11
George Wilson
Republican
January 3, 1949
64
9
2
12
Smith Brookhart
Republican
April 12, 1926
64
1
1
13
Clyde Herring
Democrat
January 3, 1943
63
8
0
14
Lester Dickinson
Republican
January 3, 1937
63
2
5
15
Lafayette Young
Republican
April 11, 1911
62
11
1
16
Richard Murphy
Democrat
July 16, 1936
60
8
10
17
George Wright
Republican
March 3, 1877
56
11
7
18
Jack Miller
Republican
January 3, 1973
56
6
28
19
Roger Jepsen
Republican
January 3, 1985
56
0
11
20
Charles Rawson
Republican
November 7, 1922
55
5
9
21
George Jones
Democrat
March 3, 1859
54
10
19
22
James Howell
Republican
March 3, 1871
54
7
27
23
James Grimes
Republican
December 6, 1869
53
1
16
24
Harold Hughes
Democrat
January 3, 1975
52
10
24
25
William Kenyon
Republican
February 24, 1922
52
8
14
26
Jonathan Dolliver
Republican
October 15, 1910
52
8
9
27
James Harlan
Free Soil / Republican
May 15, 1865
52
6
5
28
Dick Clark
Democrat
January 3, 1979
50
3
20
29
Daniel Steck
Democrat
March 3, 1931
49
2
15
30
James McDill
Republican
March 3, 1883
48
11
27
31
John Culver
Democrat
January 3, 1981
48
4
26
32
Augustus Dodge
Democrat
February 22, 1855
43
1
20
33
David Stewart
Republican
March 3, 1927
40
1
9
* Through September 25, 2013. Table compiled by Smart Politics.

Longest-Serving Iowa U.S. Senators

Grassley currently sits in second place for the most days served in the U.S. Senate in Iowa history at 11,953 days through Wednesday (32 years, 8 months, 22 days).

Allison ranks #1 with the 12,936 days (35 years, 5 months) he logged during his six terms in office before his death in 1908.

Grassley is scheduled to pass Allison to claim the state's all-time mark for Senate service on June 4, 2016.

Senator Grassley would reach 13,149 days at the end of his term in January 2017 and 15,340 days at the end of his hypothetical seventh term in January 2023.

Grassley currently holds the #6 spot in U.S. Senate seniority, but Montana Democrat Max Baucus (#3) and Michigan Democrat Carl Levin (#5) are retiring in January 2015.

Republican Thad Cochran of Mississippi (#4) has not decided whether he will seek another term in the 2014 cycle.

Only four of Iowa's 33 U.S. Senators in history have served at least three full terms: Allison, Grassley, Harkin, and Hickenlooper.

Rounding out the Top 5 are Harkin at #3 with 10,492 days and counting (28 years, 8 months, 22 days), Hickenlooper at #4 with 8,766 days (24 years), and Cummins at #5 with 6,457 days (17 years, 8 months, 6 days).

The Iowan with the shortest stint in the chamber was Republican Lafayette Young at just 150 days.

Young was appointed to the Senate after the death of Jonathan Dolliver, but failed to subsequently win election to the seat.

Iowa U.S. Senate Service

Rank
Senator
Party
Years
Length of Service
1
William Allison
Republican
1873-1908
35 years, 5 months
2
Chuck Grassley
Republican
1981-
32 years, 8 months, 22 days*
3
Tom Harkin
Democrat
1985-
28 years, 8 months, 22 days*
4
Bourke Hickenlooper
Republican
1945-1969
24 years
5
Albert Cummins
Republican
1908-1926
17 years, 8 months, 6 days
6
James Harlan
Free Soil / Republican
1855-1865; 1867-1873
15 years, 4 months, 12 days
7
Guy Gillette
Democrat
1936-1945; 1949-1955
14 years, 1 month, 30 days
8
Jack Miller
Republican
1961-1973
12 years
9
James Wilson
Republican
1883-1895
11 years, 11 months, 27 days
10
William Kenyon
Republican
1911-1922
10 years, 10 months, 12 days
11
James Grimes
Republican
1859-1869
10 years, 9 months, 2 days
12
George Jones
Democrat
1848-1859
10 years, 2 months, 24 days
13
Jonathan Dolliver
Republican
1900-1910
10 years, 1 month, 23 days
14
Smith Brookhart
Republican
1925-1926; 1927-1933
7 years, 1 month, 5 days
15
Augustus Dodge
Democrat
1848-1855
6 years, 2 months, 15 days
16
John Culver
Democrat
1975-1981
6 years
16
Roger Jepsen
Republican
1979-1985
6 years
16
Thomas Martin
Republican
1955-1961
6 years
19
Dick Clark
Democrat
1973-1979
6 years
19
Harold Hughes
Democrat
1969-1975
6 years
19
George Wright
Republican
1871-1877
5 years, 11 months, 27 days
22
George Wilson
Republican
1943-1949
5 years, 11 months, 20 days
23
Clyde Herring
Democrat
1937-1943
5 years, 11 months, 19 days
24
Lester Dickinson
Republican
1931-1937
5 years, 9 months, 30 days
25
John Gear
Republican
1895-1900
5 years, 4 months, 10 days
26
Samuel Kirkwood
Republican
1866-1867; 1877-1881
5 years, 1 month, 21 days
27
Daniel Steck
Democrat
1926-1931
4 years, 10 months, 19 days
28
Richard Murphy
Democrat
1933-1936
3 years, 4 months, 12 days
29
James McDill
Republican
1881-1883
1 year, 11 months, 23 days
30
James Howell
Republican
1870-1871
1 year, 1 month, 13 days
31
Charles Rawson
Republican
1922-1922
8 months, 14 days
32
David Stewart
Republican
1926-1927
6 months, 24 days
33
Lafayette Young
Republican
1910-1911
4 months, 30 days
* Through September 25, 2013. Table compiled by Smart Politics.

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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