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June 28, 2013 9:00 AM Ed Markey

By Jonathan Bernstein

I haven’t done a post yet on the new Senator from Massachusetts, mainly because there was no surprise here, and he’s presumably about as predictable a new Senator as is possible.

I have talked about how Ed Markey is a setback for getting the Senate to be younger, but if you’re looking for trivia, Eric Ostermeier has plenty more: about older Senators winning special elections, and about Markey’s new record for longest House service before moving to the Senate. 

I don’t have much to say substantively about Markey. I suspect he’ll be a disappointing Senator because he’ll find it difficult to adjust to the way the Senate does things, but I certainly could be entirely wrong about that. I’m thinking, at least a bit, about one-term North Dakota Senator Mark Andrews, who didn’t adjust well.  

So instead I’ll go with something even more trivial than what Ostermeier had…alphabetic quirks of the current Senate. See, Mo Cowan, the interim placeholder Markey will be replacing, was one of — get this — 16 Senators whose names begin with a “C.” OK, I’m not going to go back through history, but that does seem like rather a lot to me. Anyway, Markey will beef up the “M” caucus; he’ll be the 12th. 

Oh, and when Markey is sworn in it will cut in half the number of African American Senators, back down form a historically high two back down to one. Easy enough to look up…beginning with Edward Brooke taking office in 1967, there’s been one black Senator for 24 of the 46 years up through 2012, leaving 22 years with zero black Senators. Then Tim Scott was sworn in this January, and Mo Cowan served from February until whenever Markey takes office. It is possible — or maybe likely — that Cory Booker will soon join Scott, presumably getting back to two for the remainder of at least the 113th Senate. 

One more: in case anyone is wondering, Markey does not appear to be a dynastic politician. I wouldn’t count John Kerry, either (his father was a foreign service officer, although apparently “One of Kerry’s maternal great-great-grandfathers was Robert Charles Winthrop, the 22nd Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.” In case anyone is wondering, short-timer New Jersey Senator Jeff Chiesa isn’t a dynastic politician, either (nor is Cory Booker, whose parents were IBM executives).

[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.