Earliest serving United States Senator

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This page contains a list of the earliest serving United States Senators among those currently living (sitting or former) and a list of the individuals who, at the time of their deaths, had served at the earliest date in the United States Senate among those current or former senators then living. Of those living, the earliest-serving senator is Fred R. Harris. He was sworn in as a senator on November 4, 1964.

Earliest serving senators (historic)[edit]

This is a list of the senators who were, while in office or after, the earliest-serving living before they died.

Begin Date End Date Senator State 1st Entered Senate
March 4, 1789 March 12, 1790 William Grayson[1] Virginia March 4, 1789
June 19, 1794 Richard Henry Lee[1] Virginia
September 21, 1798 George Read[1] Delaware
December 16, 1798 John Henry[1] Maryland
July 30, 1801 James Gunn[1] Georgia
April 16, 1804 William Maclay[1] Pennsylvania
May 30, 1804 Ralph Izard[1] South Carolina
November 18, 1804 Philip Schuyler[1] New York
May 8, 1806 Robert Morris[1] Pennsylvania
September 9, 1806 William Paterson[1] New Jersey
November 26, 1807 Oliver Ellsworth[1] Connecticut
August 15, 1815 Richard Bassett[1] Delaware
May 30, 1817 Tristram Dalton[1] Massachusetts
September 3, 1817 Jonathan Elmer[1] New Jersey
September 18, 1819 John Langdon[1] New Hampshire
November 7, 1819 Caleb Strong[1] Massachusetts
November 14, 1819 William Samuel Johnson[1] Connecticut
February 15, 1822 Pierce Butler[1] South Carolina
July 16, 1828 William Few[1] Georgia
November 14, 1832 Charles Carroll[1] Maryland
March 7, 1838 Paine Wingate[1] New Hampshire
March 7, 1838 February 23, 1840 John Rutherfurd New Jersey March 4, 1791
February 23, 1840 August 12, 1849 Albert Gallatin Pennsylvania December 2, 1793
August 12, 1849 December 22, 1850 William Plumer New Hampshire June 17, 1802
December 22, 1850 June 29, 1852 Henry Clay Kentucky November 19, 1806
June 29, 1852 October 14, 1853 Elisha Mathewson Rhode Island October 26, 1807
October 14, 1853 November 5, 1857 Alexander Campbell Ohio December 11, 1809
November 5, 1857 April 14, 1859 George M. Bibb Kentucky March 4, 1811
April 14, 1859 July 26, 1863 John J. Crittenden Kentucky March 4, 1817
July 26, 1863 September 4, 1864 Henry Johnson Louisiana January 12, 1818
September 4, 1864 December 14, 1868 Walter Lowrie Pennsylvania March 4, 1819
December 14, 1868 October 13, 1880 Peleg Sprague Maine March 4, 1829
October 13, 1880 March 19, 1888 John P. King Georgia November 21, 1833
March 19, 1888 May 11, 1889 Henry A. Foster New York November 30, 1844
May 11, 1889 June 26, 1889 Simon Cameron Pennsylvania March 13, 1845
June 26, 1889 June 13, 1896 Alpheus Felch Michigan March 4, 1847
January 6, 1901 James Bradbury Maine
January 6, 1901 April 12, 1913 John B. Henderson Missouri January 17, 1862
April 12, 1913 September 11, 1915 William Sprague Rhode Island March 4, 1863
September 11, 1915 February 27, 1919 George F. Edmunds Vermont April 3, 1866
February 27, 1919 November 3, 1924 Cornelius Cole California March 4, 1867
November 3, 1924 April 12, 1933 Adelbert Ames Mississippi February 23, 1870
April 12, 1933 November 16, 1933 Henry C. Hansbrough North Dakota March 4, 1891
November 16, 1933 November 18, 1934 Lee Mantle Montana January 16, 1895
November 18, 1934 June 3, 1938 Marion Butler North Carolina March 4, 1895
June 3, 1938 October 21, 1938 Henry Heitfeld Idaho March 4, 1897
October 21, 1938 April 30, 1940 Furnifold Simmons North Carolina March 4, 1901
April 30, 1940 February 9, 1941 Reed Smoot Utah March 4, 1903
February 9, 1941 March 13, 1945 Charles W. F. Dick Ohio March 23, 1904
March 13, 1945 January 5, 1960 Norris Brown Nebraska March 4, 1907
January 5, 1960 May 31, 1962 Henry F. Ashurst Arizona March 27, 1912
May 31, 1962 December 28, 1972 John Heiskell Arkansas January 6, 1913
December 28, 1972 January 6, 1975 Burton K. Wheeler Montana March 4, 1923
January 14, 1978 Clarence Dill Washington
January 14, 1978 August 16, 1979 F. Ryan Duffy Wisconsin March 4, 1933
August 16, 1979 March 13, 1985 Elmer Austin Benson Minnesota December 27, 1935
March 13, 1985 May 30, 1989 Claude Pepper Florida November 4, 1936
May 30, 1989 September 22, 1990 John A. Danaher Connecticut January 3, 1939
September 22, 1990 June 15, 1991 Happy Chandler Kentucky October 10, 1939
June 15, 1991 December 18, 1993 Joseph H. Ball Minnesota October 14, 1940
December 18, 1993 January 21, 1999 Berkeley L. Bunker Nevada November 27, 1940
January 21, 1999 May 9, 2003 Russell B. Long Louisiana December 31, 1948
May 9, 2003 January 20, 2007 George Smathers Florida January 3, 1951
January 20, 2007 June 28, 2010 Robert Byrd[1] West Virginia January 3, 1959
June 28, 2010 October 21, 2012 George McGovern South Dakota January 3, 1963
December 17, 2012 Daniel Inouye[1] Hawaii
March 14, 2019 Birch Bayh Indiana
March 14, 2019 present Fred R. Harris Oklahoma November 4, 1964

Earliest serving senators currently living[edit]

This is a list of the 30 earliest-serving senators,[2] current or former, currently living.

Rank Senator Date of birth Entered Senate Left Senate State served Party Time since entry
1 Fred R. Harris November 13, 1930 November 4, 1964 January 3, 1973 Oklahoma Democratic 54 years, 193 days
2 Walter Mondale January 5, 1928 December 30, 1964 December 30, 1976 Minnesota Democratic 54 years, 137 days
3 Bob Dole July 22, 1923 January 3, 1969 June 1, 1996 Kansas Republican 50 years, 133 days
Mike Gravel May 13, 1930 January 3, 1981 Alaska Democratic
Bob Packwood September 11, 1932 October 1, 1995 Oregon Republican
6 Adlai Stevenson III October 10, 1930 November 17, 1970 January 3, 1981 Illinois Democratic 48 years, 180 days
7 Bill Brock November 23, 1930 January 3, 1971 January 3, 1977 Tennessee Republican 48 years, 133 days
James L. Buckley March 9, 1923 January 3, 1977 New York Conservative
Lowell Weicker May 16, 1931 January 3, 1989 Connecticut Republican
10 David H. Gambrell December 20, 1929 February 1, 1971 November 8, 1972 Georgia Democratic 48 years, 104 days
11 Sam Nunn September 8, 1938 November 8, 1972 January 3, 1997 Georgia Democratic 46 years, 189 days
12 J. Bennett Johnston June 10, 1932 November 13, 1972 January 3, 1997 Louisiana Democratic 46 years, 184 days
13 James Abourezk February 24, 1931 January 3, 1973 January 3, 1979 South Dakota Democratic 46 years, 133 days
Joe Biden November 20, 1942 January 15, 2009 Delaware Democratic
Dick Clark September 14, 1928 January 3, 1979 Iowa Democratic
16 Jake Garn October 12, 1932 December 21, 1974 January 3, 1993 Utah Republican 44 years, 146 days
17 Richard Stone September 22, 1928 January 1, 1975 December 31, 1980 Florida Democratic 44 years, 135 days
18 Gary Hart November 28, 1936 January 3, 1975 January 3, 1987 Colorado Democratic 44 years, 133 days
Patrick Leahy March 31, 1940 in office Vermont Democratic
20 John Danforth September 5, 1936 December 27, 1976 January 3, 1995 Missouri Republican 42 years, 140 days
21 Donald Riegle February 4, 1938 December 30, 1976 January 3, 1995 Michigan Democratic 42 years, 137 days
22 Dennis DeConcini May 8, 1937 January 3, 1977 January 3, 1995 Arizona Democratic 42 years, 133 days
Orrin Hatch March 22, 1934 January 3, 2019 Utah Republican
Paul Sarbanes February 3, 1933 January 3, 2007 Maryland Democratic
Jim Sasser September 30, 1936 January 3, 1995 Tennessee Democratic
Harrison Schmitt July 3, 1935 January 3, 1983 New Mexico Republican
27 Kaneaster Hodges Jr. August 20, 1938 December 10, 1977 January 3, 1979 Arkansas Democratic 41 years, 157 days
28 David Durenberger August 19, 1934 November 8, 1978 January 3, 1995 Minnesota Republican 40 years, 189 days
Donald Stewart February 8, 1940 January 2, 1981 Alabama Democratic
30 Max Baucus December 11, 1941 December 15, 1978 February 6, 2014 Montana Democratic 40 years, 182 days

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Attained most Senior Senator status while serving uninterrupted terms.
  2. ^ Source: US Senate Historical Office's "Senators, 1789 to Present."