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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

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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