The next batch of senate elections is due to take place in November 2018. Who are the country’s longest-serving senators?
7th – Richard Shelby (joint sixth place)
First elected in 1986 as a senator from Alabama, Shelby is the joint-sixth longest-serving senator currently in the chamber. This Republican previously served in both the Alabama House and Senate before making the leap to the US senate. He is currently the Chair of the Senate Rules Committee
6th – John McCain (joint sixth place)
Drawing with Shelby is war veteran and 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain. He started his political journey in the US House of Representatives, serving between 1983 and 1987, only stopping when elected to the Senate in 1986.
At the 2008 presidential election, McCain and his running-mate Sarah Palin of Alaska won just 173 electoral college votes, well behind the 365 won by Obama and Biden.
5th – Mitch McConnell
First elected to the Senate in 1984, McConnell has served in the chamber of almost 33 years. He is currently the Senate Majority Leader. Before entering electoral politics, McConnell served as the US Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legislative Affairs under the presidency of Gerald Ford in the 1970s.
4th – Chuck Grassley
Aged 84, this Republican joined the senate almost half his life ago in 1981. Before becoming a US senator from Iowa, he served in the US House of Representatives for Iowa and before that in the Iowa House of Representatives.
3rd – Thad Cochran
Before becoming a US Senator from Mississippi in 1978, this Republican entered the US House of Representatives following the 1972 election. Cochran is the current Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
2nd – Orrin Hatch
This Republican was first elected to the senate following the 1976 election, during which incumbent US President Gerald Ford lost to Democrat Jimmy Carter. Hatch has therefore served in the senate for a mammoth 40 years, having previously been an attorney in Utah, the state he represents to this day. He is the current president pro tempore of the senate, meaning that he is the third in line to the presidency after VP Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
1st – Patrick Leahy
Leahy is the only Democrat to make the top seven, and currently serves as a senator from Vermont alongside the independent Senator Bernie Sanders. Before entering the senate in 1975 (almost 43 years ago), Leahy, aged 77, served as the State’s Attorney for the Chittenden County. He currently holds the title of president pro tempore emeritus of the senate, having previously served as president pro tempore until the democrats lost their majority in 2014.
A current list of all US senators can be accessed here. Figures included in this list are based of this compilation.