There seems to be little question that the 84-year-old Frank Lautenberg will seek a fifth term in 2008. He didn’t exactly enjoy retirement the first time around — close friends say he regretted his decision not to run in 2000 almost instantly — and as long as he’s healthy and popular, Democratic office seekers might want to avoid making plans for an open seat in 2014. Democrats have won eleven consecutive U.S. Senate races in New Jersey; the last GOP winner was Clifford Case in 1972.
Political junkies need only remember the story of Theodore Green, a Democratic politician from Rhode Island. Green was 69-years-old when he was elected to the Senate in 1936. Because of his age, it was assumed that he would have a short career in the Senate. But Green went on to serve four terms, retiring in 1960 when he was 93. An entire generation of Rhode Island politicians miscalculated by planning their political careers on the assumption that Green would soon retire.