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August 14, 2012 12:14 PM Old Old Senate Update

By Jonathan Bernstein

As always, I’m interested in whether the Senate resumes getting gradually older, as it did up through the record 111th Senate, or if it gets somewhat younger, as it did in the current Congress.

Last week was not at all good for that, with the oldest of three Republicans capturing the nomination in Missouri, followed by Mazie Hirono capturing the Hawaii Democratic nomination. Both Hirono and Todd Akin in Missouri will be 65 in January. Of course, Ted Cruz over Dewhurst was huge in the other direction.

Today we have the last big age primary of the year, in Wisconsin, between Tommy Thompson (71), Mark Neumann (58), Jeff Fitzgerald (46), and Eric Hovde (48). I’ve already made a rare strong prediction that Thompson is toast, but that’s not what the inconclusive polls really say, so we’ll see. Tammy Baldwin, the Democratic nominee, is 50 (all ages as of January). The primary is doubly important because Thompson is thought to be the best Republican candidate in November, while Baldwin would have an excellent chance of defeating next-oldest Neumann.

Connecticut is likely to be a pretty good election for the youngsters, with Democrat Chris Murphy (38) favored. Today’s GOP primary will probably be won by Linda McMahon (64) over Chris Shays (67).

But with Murphy likely to win in November anyway, the real story today for those obsessed with how old the Senate is has to be the Wisconsin race. If Thompson wins, there will still be a possibility of ten new Senators who are 60 or older…it’s really nine, because I can’t really picture both McMahon and Shelly Berkely in Nevada both winning.

[Cross-posted at A plain blog about politics]

Jonathan Bernstein is a political scientist who writes about American politics, especially the presidency, Congress, parties, and elections.
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