The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Ted Strickland plans a bid to be the 11th oldest new senator ever

Strickland in 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Placeholder while article actions load

Former Democratic Ohio governor Ted Strickland announced on Wednesday that he plans to challenge Sen. Rob Portman (R) in 2016. There's a lot to parse about that contest, and we have more than a year to do so.

But one thing that struck us immediately is that Strickland is significantly older than your usual Senate candidate. He was born in August 1941, making him 73 right now. By the time he would be sworn in, if he wins, he'd be 75 -- making him the 11th oldest new senator in American history. And that history is long: he'd be older than 1889 other senators, past and present.

To put it visually: Strickland is in red. All of the other senators are in blue.

(We used the always-helpful GovTrack dataset to compile these figures.)

The two oldest new senators were Rebecca Felton, who was appointed in 1922 and served the state of Georgia for one day at the age of 86, and Andrew Houston, who served Texas for two months in 1941, starting his term when he was just over a week younger than Felton. The oldest senator to serve a full term was Isaac Stephenson from Wisconsin, who started his term in 1907 at the age of 78.

Of course, Strickland wouldn't be the oldest senator in office. By January 2017, that title will almost certainly be held by the current front-runner: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). She'll be 83 years and six months old -- a kid, compared to Rebecca Felton.