I haven't done this in a while. But it's cold and grey outside. And hey, arguably it's more relevant than ever.
Wikipedia has this handy list of Senators by age. Makes this slightly morbid task go lickety-split fast! Ten oldest Senators:
1) Robert Byrd (D-WV). At 92, he's the longest serving Senator ever. Democrat, with a Democratic state governor (D-D), so no change in the Senate's balance of power if he goes.
2) Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). 85, but in good health. Democrat with a Republican governor! So if he departs the Senate, the Democrats get knocked back under 60 votes.
3) Daniel Inouye (D-HI). 85. World War II vet, been in the Senate since the Kennedy administration. Hawaii has a Republican governor, but Hawaii is one of the few states that restricts the governor's power of appointment -- she has to choose a replacement who's of the same party as the outgoing Senator.
4) Daniel Akaka (D-HI). 85, just a few days younger than Inouye, but more than 20 years less senior. Same situation.
5) Arlen Specter (D-PA). 79. Since he's now a good Democrat, this seat is D-D.
6) Jim Bunning (R-KY). 78. R-D, so if he leaves us, the Democrats gain the seat. However, while progressive blogs love to make snide speculations about Bunning's mental or emotional state, he's a former professional athlete who seems to be in robust good health.
7) Dick Lugar (R-KY). 77. The seat is R-R, but it's worth noting that Lugar is what passes for a moderate Republican these days. If he were to be replaced, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels would probably want someone more reliably conservative.
8) Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). 76. D-R, as Di-Fi's replacement would be chosen by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
9) Chuck Grassley (R-IA). 76. R-D, as Iowa's governor is Democrat Chet Culver. Culver is facing a tough re-election race, so it wouldn't be surprising to see him appoint himself.
10) Bob Bennett (R-UT). And we can throw in #11 as well -- that's Orrin Hatch, also R-UT and 76 years old. Both R-R, and in good health. Utah has an unusual law on Senatorial replacements: the governor picks from a list of three names provided by the former Senator's party. Moot here, but interesting.
The next four -- Shelby, Levin, Inhofe and Kohl -- are all R-R or D-D. (Kohl is from Wisconsin, which is one of the few states where the governor only gets an interim appointment until there's a special election. Moot but, again, interesting.)
Then #16, Pat Roberts of Kansas, is R-D, as is #17, George Voinovich of Ohio. (I had no idea he was still around. Go figure.) The top twenty finishes with Babs Mikulski (D-D), John McCain (R-R) and Jay Rockefeller (D-D). I could keep going down the list, but 100 Senators is a lot. And anyway, we're getting down into relative youth -- Jay Rockefeller is a mere 72.
Still, in the top 20 there are two Senators whose departure could give the Republicans a filibuster-proof minority (Lautenberg and Feinstein) and four who could give the Democrats a 61-vote majority (Bunning, Grassley, Roberts and Voinovich).
Statistically speaking, it's very unlikely that any of them are likely to leave the building before the next election. Still, it's sort of an interesting exercise. Well, interesting for me, I guess.
I am morally certain that someone somewhere, has gone through the whole Senate and posted a list, corrected for things like interim appointments and special elections. And I probably could have found that list in less time than it would have take to write this post. But, well, there it is.
-- On an unrelated note, this is the single finest policy-related post I have ever read. Well played, Mr. Farley. Well played.