Following up on yesterday’s article on the aging of the Congress, three present members of the US Senate are likely to be three of the eight longest serving in the history of that legislative body.
Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont will pass Senator Ted Kennedy in longevity on October 23, just a month from now, with 46 years, 9 months, and 20 days, one more than the Massachusetts Senator, and will be fourth longest serving. And he plans to run for a ninth term, having been elected in 1974, and if he finishes that term in 2028, he will have served two and a half years more than the longest serving member in history, Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who had nearly 51 and a half years in the Senate. Leahy would be 88 and nine months at that time.
Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa has announced he is running for an eighth term, having served since 1980, and if he finished an eighth term, he would have served 48 years, longer than all but three Senators, Robert Byrd and Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye, and also Leahy, and Grassley would be 95 years of age, with only Strom Thurmond leaving the Senate at age 100 in 2002 being older.
And Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the former Majority Leader and now the Minority Leader, has his seventh term end in 2026, when he would be 84 plus, and he will pass a number of Senators and be seventh or eighth longest serving at the end of that term five years from now, depending if he is in office for exactly 42 years, as former Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah served from 1977-2019.