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Eric Holder at 5: Eying #3 All-Time AG Service Mark in 2014

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With Holder currently in fifth place for attorney general service, by December only William Wirt and Janet Reno will have recorded longer tenures in U.S. history

ericholder10.jpgMany of Eric Holder's critics have been calling for his dismissal for years, but the nation's 82nd Attorney General just keeps on ticking.

Monday marked exactly five years since Holder's first day on the job, some 1,826 days ago on February 3, 2009.

Although conservatives have hoped for his resignation or firing for quite some time, Holder has politically survived thus far, and, as a result, has subsequently climbed up the ladder in all-time Attorney General service.

A Smart Politics analysis finds Holder currently claims the fifth longest tenure among the 82 individuals to hold the post of U.S. Attorney General in the nation's history and the third longest since the turn of the 20th Century.

Since his election to a second term, President Obama has experienced the usual high rate of departures from his cabinet heads: Hillary Clinton (State), Tim Geithner (Treasury), Leon Panetta (Defense), Ken Salazar (Interior), Hilda Solis (Labor), Ray LaHood (Transportation), Janet Napolitano (Homeland Security), and Steven Chu (Energy) all left in 2013.

That leaves only Holder, Tom Vilsack (Agriculture), Kathleen Sebelius (Health & Human Services), Arne Duncan (Education), Shaun Donovan (Housing & Urban Development), and Erik Shinseki (Veterans Affairs) from Obama's original team.

Holder has served 1,826 days in office through Monday, ranking #5 among AGs in history - passing Caesar Rodney for fifth place on the all-time list last December.

Rodney served 4 years, 10 months, 15 days in the Thomas Jefferson and James Madison administrations (1807-1811).

The month prior, Holder moved ahead of Andrew Jackson/Martin Van Buren AG Benjamin Butler (1833-1838, 4 years, 9 months, 13 days) and Dwight Eisenhower AG Herbert Brownell (1953-1957, 4 years 9 months, 18 days).

And now Holder has #4 and #3 in sight during the coming months.

First on deck is Charles Lee, who served 5 years, 2 months, 22 days (1,910 days) under George Washington and John Adams from 1795 to 1801.

Holder is slated to pass Lee on April 29th of this year.

If Holder makes it through the spring, summer, and autumn, he will also pass up Homer Cummings in 2014.

Cummings served 5 years, 9 months, 29 days (2,130 days) during Franklin Roosevelt's first two terms and is scheduled to be leapfrogged by Holder on December 5, 2014.

If Holder does serve into the end of Obama's 8th year in office, he will end up second on the all-time list.

Holder would pass Bill Clinton AG Janet Reno on December 16, 2016. Reno was in office for 7 years, 10 months, 8 days (2,871 days).

With a record that is unlikely ever to be broken, William Wirt ranks first in days served with 4,126 (11 years, 3 months, 16 days) in the administrations of James Monroe and John Quincy Adams.

The average length of service of the 82 men and women who have served in the office since the 1700s is 997 days, or approximately two years and nine months.

Top 10 Longest Serving U.S. Attorney Generals

Rank
#
Name
Took Office
Left Office
Years
Months
Days
Days
1
9
William Wirt
Nov 15, 1817
Mar 3, 1829
11
3
16
4,126
2
78
Janet Reno
Mar 12, 1993
Jan 20, 2001
7
10
8
2,871
3
55
Homer Cummings
Mar 4, 1933
Jan 2, 1939
5
9
29
2,130
4
3
Charles Lee
Dec 10, 1795
Mar 4, 1801
5
2
22
1,910
5
82
Eric Holder
Feb 3, 2009
In office*
5
0
0
1,826
6
6
Caesar Rodney
Jan 20, 1807
Dec 5, 1811
4
10
15
1,780
7
62
Herbert Brownell, Jr.
Jan 21, 1953
Nov 8, 1957
4
9
18
1,752
8
12
Benjamin Butler
Nov 18, 1833
Aug 31, 1838
4
9
13
1,747
9
49
Thomas Gregory
Sep 3, 1914
Mar 4, 1919
4
6
1
1,643
10
74
William F. Smith
Jan 23, 1981
Feb 23, 1985
4
1
0
1,492
* Through February 3, 2014. Excludes service as Acting Attorney General. Table 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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