Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Ageless Pressler Eyes Historical Rarity in South Dakota

Bookmark and Share

If elected in 2014, the former U.S. Senator would lay claim to both the youngest and oldest candidate ever elected to the chamber from South Dakota

larrypressler10.jpgAfter more than a decade and a half out of office, South Dakota Republican Larry Pressler stunned political observers this week when he announced he was considering a run for the U.S. Senate in 2014 as an independent.

Pressler served 18 years in the nation's upper legislative chamber from 1979 to 1997 before being defeated in his bid for a fourth term by Democrat Tim Johnson in 1996.

Johnson would also go on to win three terms, but in March of this year announced he would not run for a fourth in 2014.

And now, Pressler has unexpectedly inserted himself into a race previously expected to be won by GOP frontrunner Mike Rounds - who would face Democrat and former Tom Daschle staffer Rick Weiland provided Rounds emerges from the Republican primary against three candidates campaigning to the right of the former governor.

Libertarian Kurt Evans is also seeking ballot access in the increasingly buzzworthy race.

An October Public Policy Polling survey found Evans polling at 11 percent and seemingly cutting into Rounds' advantage in a three-way matchup with Weiland.

Pressler stated that by campaigning as an independent he would not be burdened by the entrenched party positions that have created 'deadlock' on Capitol Hill in recent years.

Pressler said there was a 60/40 chance he would run and would make a decision by January.

Should Pressler run and pull off one of the most unlikeliest of returns to D.C. next November, he would hold a unique distinction in South Dakota political history - owning the titles of both the youngest and oldest candidate ever elected to the U.S. Senate from the Mount Rushmore State.

Pressler currently holds the record as the youngest U.S. Senator elected from South Dakota, when he won his first term 35 years ago in 1978.

On that day, Pressler was 36 years, 7 months, 9 days old - besting a record that had stood in the state for 88 years.

In 1890, Populist James Kyle was elected to the chamber for the first of his two terms at the age of 36 years, 8 months, 11 days, or one month and two days older than Pressler.

In only two other South Dakota U.S. Senate elections did candidates in their 30s launch victorious campaigns: Democrats George McGovern in 1962 (39 years, 11 months, 18 days) and Tom Daschle in 1986 (38 years, 10 months, 26 days).

And now Pressler is eying a mark on the other side of the spectrum.

If Pressler wins back his old Senate seat in 2014, he would be 72 years, 7 months, and 6 days old - nearly five years older than the state's current record and nearly twice the age at which he was elected in 1978.

The oldest South Dakotan ever to be elected to the chamber was Democrat William Bulow in 1936 - winning his second of two terms at the age of 67 years, 9 months, 21 days.

(Democrat Herbert Hitchcock was appointed to the Senate in December 1936 at the age of 69 years, 4 months, 7 days).

Bulow was slightly older than Republican Thomas Sterling when the GOPer won his second term in 1918 at the age of 67 years, 8 months, 15 days.

Only one South Dakotan during the last 50 years has won a U.S. Senate seat above the age of 60: Tim Johnson in 2008 at 61 years, 10 months, 7 days.

Combining the pre- and post-direct election eras, South Dakota has elected U.S. Senatorial candidates:

· In their 30s four times: 1890, 1962, 1978, 1986

· In their 40s 18 times: 1889, 1894, 1896, 1900, 1902, 1924, 1938 (special), 1938, 1944, 1948, 1968, 1972, 1984, 1990, 1992, 1996, 2004, 2010

· In their 50s 13 times: 1889, 1906, 1908, 1914, 1920, 1926, 1950, 1954, 1956, 1974, 1980, 1998, 2002

· In their 60s nine times: 1912, 1918, 1930, 1932, 1936, 1942, 1960, 1966, 2008

Since statehood, the average age of the South Dakota candidates elected to the U.S. Senate is 51 years.

Pressler served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army including two tours of combat duty in Vietnam.

Prior to his first U.S. Senate victory he served two terms in the U.S. House from 1975 to 1979.

After his tenure in the chamber came to an end, Pressler has worked as an attorney, taught at various higher educational institutions, and served on several boards.

Oldest U.S. Senators Elected from South Dakota Since Statehood

Rank
Year
Senator
Party
Years
Months
Days
1
1936
William Bulow
Democrat
67
9
21
2
1918
Thomas Sterling
Republican
67
8
15
3
1966
Karl Mundt
Republican
66
5
5
4
1932
Peter Norbeck
Republican
62
2
12
5
2008
Tim Johnson
Democrat
61
10
7
6
1930
William Bulow
Democrat
61
9
22
7
1912
Thomas Sterling
Republican
61
8
15
8
1960
Karl Mundt
Republican
60
5
5
9
1942
Harlan Bushfield
Republican
60
2
28
10
1956
Francis Case
Republican
59
10
28
11
1980
James Abdnor
Republican
57
8
22
12
1914
Edwin Johnson
Democrat
57
8
8
13
1889
Gideon Moody
Republican
56
11
15
14
1926
Peter Norbeck
Republican
56
2
6
15
2002
Tim Johnson
Democrat
55
10
8
16
1906
Robert Gamble
Republican
55
8
30
17
1954
Karl Mundt
Republican
54
4
30
18
1950
Francis Case
Republican
53
10
29
19
1974
George McGovern
Democrat
51
11
17
20
1998
Tom Daschle
Democrat
50
10
25
21
1908
Coe Crawford
Republican
50
9
20
22
1920
Peter Norbeck
Republican
50
2
6
23
1996
Tim Johnson
Democrat
49
10
8
24
2010
John Thune
Republican
49
9
26
25
1900
Robert Gamble
Republican
49
8
30
26
1990
Larry Pressler
Republican
48
7
8
27
1944
Chan Gurney
Republican
48
5
17
28
1948
Karl Mundt
Republican
48
4
30
29
1938 (s)
Gladys Pyle
Republican
48
1
4
30
1924
William McMaster
Republican
47
5
25
31
1894
Richard Pettigrew
Silver Republican
46
3
14
32
1968
George McGovern
Democrat
45
11
17
33
1992
Tom Daschle
Democrat
44
10
25
34
2004
John Thune
Republican
43
9
26
35
1896
James Kyle
Populist
42
8
10
36
1984
Larry Pressler
Republican
42
7
8
37
1938
Chan Gurney
Republican
42
5
18
38
1972
James Abourezk
Democrat
41
8
14
39
1902
Alfred Kittredge
Republican
41
7
7
40
1889
Richard Pettigrew
Republican
41
2
8
41
1962
George McGovern
Democrat
39
11
18
42
1986
Tom Daschle
Democrat
38
10
26
43
1890
James Kyle
Populist
36
8
11
44
1978
Larry Pressler
Republican
36
7
9
Table compiled by Smart Politics.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Wisconsin Veterans in Midst of Record US House Delegation Drought
Next post: Tim Pawlenty: The Forgotten Man?

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Is There a Presidential Drag On Gubernatorial Elections?

Only five of the 20 presidents to serve since 1900 have seen their party win a majority of gubernatorial elections during their administrations, and only one since JFK.

Political Crumbs

Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


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