Politics & Policy

U.S. Senate Seniority: The Incoming Class

Some inside-baseball thoughts on the U.S. Senate seniority scheme, pending the outcome of next month’s election. Sen. Michael Bennet would, of course, retain his current position on the seniority list if he is reelected. Buck would be ranked 94th. Either Bennet or Buck would still be Colorado’s junior Senator, behind Sen. Mark Udall:

At least 14 states will send new senators to DC over the next 3 months, and while all these new members will be considered freshmen, some will be more equal than others. There can be no ties in seniority in the Senate, and senators sworn in before Jan. 3 will have a leg up on their new colleagues.

For senators sworn in on the same day, seniority is determined, in order, by previous service in the Senate, House, and years as governor, with final ties being determined by state population. To be sure, overall Senate seniority only matters in terms of office-suite assignments, but within a caucus, it can sometimes help a senator with placements on his or her committees. […]

Beyond that, the terms of other new senators will begin constitutionally on Jan. 3, with each ranked in seniority according to the following list. Note that candidates are only listed if they are seen by Senate race handicappers as having any chance to win. Also note that the Senate does not recognize the seniority of a senator sworn in prematurely merely because the outgoing senator resigns early, even if there is a gubernatorial appointment of the senator-elect to the remainder of the old senator’s term.

IN’s Dan Coats (R) (Former Sen.) MO’s Roy Blunt (R) (7 House terms) KS’s Jerry Moran (R) (7 House terms) OH’s Rob Portman (R) (6 House terms) AR’s John Boozman (R) (4+ House terms) FL’s Kendrick Meek (D) (4 House terms) PA’s Pat Toomey (R) (3 House terms) LA’s Charlie Melancon (D) (3 House terms) PA’s Joe Sestak (D) (2 House terms) IN’s Brad Ellsworth (D) (2 House terms) NH’s Paul Hodes (D) (2 House terms) ND’s John Hoeven (R) (10 years Gov.) FL’s Charlie Crist (I) (4 years Gov.) CA’s Carly Fiorina (R) FL’s Marco Rubio (R) OH’s Lee Fisher (D) NC’s Elaine Marshall (D) WA’s Dino Rossi (R) MO’s Robin Carnahan (D) WI’s Ron Johnson (R) CO’s Ken Buck (R) KY’s Rand Paul (R)/Jack Conway (D) CT’s Richard Blumenthal (D)/Linda McMahon (R) UT’s Mike Lee (R) NV’s Sharron Angle (R) NH’s Kelly Ayotte (R) AK’s Joe Miller (R)/Scott McAdams (D)

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