'High mileage' US senators boast superlong tenuresSkip to next paragraph
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Alaskans who thought US Sen. Ted Stevens (R) would serve their state in perpetuity learned otherwise this week. His bid to be reelected for a sixth time narrowly failed once the absentee ballots were counted, and voters gave Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D) the victory. Stevens, whose campaign was shrouded by a corruption conviction just before Election Day, will step aside in January with the record for longest continuous service by a Republican US senator. (Strom Thurmond of South Carolina served longer, but there was a short break in his tenure). Still, a handful of Democrats, including three present lawmakers, top Stevens' uninterrupted run. The longest-serving senators, their political parties, states, and dates and duration of overall service, according to www.senate.gov:
- 1. Robert Byrd (D) West Virginia 1959-present 49 yrs., 11 mos.
- 2. Strom Thurmond (R) S. Carolina. 1954-2003 47 yrs., 5 mos.
- 3. Edward Kennedy (D) Mass. 1962-present 46 yrs., 1 mo.
- 4. Daniel Inouye (D) Hawaii 1963-present 45 yrs., 11 mos.
- 5. Carl Hayden (D) Arizona 1927-69 41 yrs., 10 mos.
- 6. John Stennis (D) Mississippi 1947-89 41 yrs., 2 mos.
- 7. Ted Stevens (R) Alaska 1968-present 39 yrs., 11 mos.
- 8. Ernest Hollings (D) S. Carolina 1966-2005 38 yrs., 2 mos.