Is 60 the new 40? That’s what Dick Blumenthal and Linda McMahon must be hoping. If elected, each would be one of the oldest rookie senators Connecticut has ever elected. Senators Chris Dodd and Joe Lieberman are both older than Blumenthal and McMahon, but were much younger than this year’s candidates when first elected in 1980 and 1988 respectively. Age certainly isn’t what it used to be, and Blumenthal and McMahon appear to be in good health and look younger than their years.
When McMahon announced Sunday that if elected she would serve only two terms, I was curious about the history of senators from our state and of the ages of the men and women in the chamber. McMahon, who just turned 62 last week, would be 74 at the end of a second term.
Is 74 old? Nah, not in the U.S. Senate. Right now roughly a quarter of the senators (23) is older than 70; an additional four are in their eighties. Several of these senior citizen senators are seeking re-election, including Daniel Inouye of Hawaii who is 86, the second oldest senator after New Jersey’s Frank Lautenberg, who is nine months older. As for women in the senate, Maryland’s Barbara Mikulksi is older now than McMahon would be at the end of a second term, and she is running for re-election.
Blumenthal, who turns 65 in February, would the oldest person elected to the seat now held by Senator Chris Dodd since Roger Sherman was elected back in the 1700s at the age of 70.
If Blumenthal is elected, he will be the oldest freshman in the senate, with the exception of 67 year-old Dan Coats of Indiana, who wouldn’t be a real freshman because he served in the senate previously back in the 1990s. If elected, McMahon could also be the oldest freshman depending on how senate elections in other states go.
Speaking of Dodd, he is one of the youngest senators our state has ever elected, sent to the senate by voters in 1980 at the age of 36. He is Connecticut’s longest serving senator. For Blumenthal to break that record he would have to serve until he is 95; McMahon until she is 92, and each would have to be re-elected in 2016, 2022, 2028, 2034 and 2040 to achieve that milestone.
Will I still be moderating “Face the State” in 2040?