And Then There Were Two

Utah U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch announced on Tuesday that he would not stand for election to an 8th term in 2018. Hatch is one of 17 members of the chamber to serve into their seventh term and the fifth to retire, joining Arizona Democrat Carl Hayden (1968), Louisiana Democrat Russell Long (1986), Mississippi Democrat John Stennis (1988), and South Carolina Democrat Fritz Hollings (2004). Two others died in office (Wyoming Republican Francis Warren in 1929 and Georgia Democrat Richard Russell in 1971) while two resigned (Virginia Democrat Harry Byrd, Sr. in 1965 and Delaware Democrat Joe Biden in 2009). Five seven-term U.S. Senators won reelection to an 8th term (South Carolina Democrat Strom Thurmond in 1996, West Virginia Democrat Robert Byrd in 2000, Massachusetts Democrat Ted Kennedy in 2000, Hawaii Democrat Daniel Inouye in 2004, and Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy in 2016) and one was defeated (Alaska Republican Ted Stevens in 2008). Hatch’s exit will leave Republicans Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Thad Cochran of Mississippi as the two remaining seven-term lawmakers in the chamber in the 116th Congress (with ongoing speculation that Cochran may yet resign midterm).

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