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'High mileage' US senators boast superlong tenures

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.
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