If Frank Lautenberg is re-elected in 2008, he would become the oldest man to win a U.S. Senate election in New Jersey history — breaking the record set by 79-year-old David Baird in 1918. Lautenberg turns 84 next January.
The record of Senate candidates over the age of seventy is mixed. Lautenberg, first elected against 72-year-old Millicent Fenwick in 1982, won at age 70 in 1994, and at age 78 in 2002. Clifford Case was 74-years-old when he lost the 1978 Republican primary. H. Alexander Smith was re-elected to a third term in 1952 at age 72; facing a challenge in the GOP primary from Congressman Robert Kean in 1958, he decided against seeking re-election.
Baird, a wealthy businessman and former Camden County Sheriff (and the unsuccessful GOP Senate candidate in 1910) had been appointed to fill a vacancy in February when Irish-born Senator William Hughes died suddenly at age 46. In November 1918, Baird won the unexpired term over former State Senator Charles O'Conor Hennessy, and spent an additional four months in Washington.
The six-year term was won by the incumbent Governor, Walter Edge.