For extreme political junkies only

George Smathers was the second oldest living former United States Senator from just 28 days. The Florida Democrat died on Saturday at the age of 93, less than a month after the death of Robert Stafford, a Republican from Vermont. Stafford, who went to the Senate three years after Smathers retired, was three months older than Smathers. Clifford Hansen, 94, remains America’s oldest living former U.S. Senator. The Wyoming Republican was Governor from 1963 to 1967 and a Senator from 1967 until his retirement in 1979. Hansen has been the oldest living ex-Senator since August 2004, when Hawaii’s Hiram Fong died at the age of 97. Fong had been the senior surviving Senator since former Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield of Montana died at age 98 in October 2001; he briefly lost that designation for six months in 2002, between the time 100-year-old Strom Thurmond of South Carolina left the Senate on January 3 and his death on June 26. Smathers’ death leaves 92-year-old Democrat Harry F. Byrd, Jr. of Virginia as the second oldest living former Senator, followed by William Saxbe, 90, and Howard Metzenbaum, 89, both of Ohio. Smathers and Daniel Brewster of Maryland had been the surviving U.S. Senators out of office for the longest time; both left in January 1969. Smathers retired after eighteen years in office, while Brewster lost his 1968 re-election bid. Following Brewester is David Gambrell, who was appointed to the Senate in 1971 following the death of Richard Russell and served until November 7, 1972. Smathers was also the last living Member of Congress to have served while Harry S. Truman was President, not including eleven living Congressmen who were elected in November 1952 and took office a few weeks before Dwight Eisenhower became President. Among those eleven were U.S. Senator Robert Byrd and Peter H.B. Frelinghuysen, a Republican from New Jersey and the father of Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen.

For extreme political junkies only