The oldest U.S. Senator in Oklahoma history now has the most victories from the state in races to the nation’s upper legislative chamber

jiminhofe10.jpgAs expected, Jim Inhofe won big Tuesday evening as he defeated Democrat Matt Silverstein and three other opponents in Oklahoma’s Class II U.S. Senate race.

With all precincts reporting, Inhofe beat Silverstein by 39.5 points with 68 percent of the vote.

Tuesday’s victory, the fifth for Inhofe, marks the most U.S. Senate election wins by an Oklahoman since statehood.

Inhofe – who won a 1994 special election to replace Democrat David Boren – has now won four subsequent six-year terms and moved ahead of three other Oklahoma U.S. Senators who had won four such races.

The first was one of the state’s inaugural senators, Democrat Thomas Gore, who won his seat in 1907, was reelected in 1908, and then was victorious in the state’s first direct election to the chamber in 1914 before losing his renomination bid in 1920.

Ten years later, however, Gore was elected to Oklahoma’s other Senate seat for his fourth victory and served six more years before losing another renomination bid in 1936.

Democrat Elmer Thomas was next – winning the Elections of 1926, 1932, 1938, and 1944 before losing his renomination bid in 1950 to Congressman Mike Monroney. (Monroney and Thomas emerged from a seven-candidate Democratic primary to a runoff where the U.S. Representative won 53 percent of the vote).

Thirty years later, Republican Don Nickles claimed the first of his four terms in 1980 and won by increasing margins in 1986, 1992, and 1998.

Four others have won three U.S. Senate contests: Democrats Robert Owen (1907, 1912, 1918), Robert Kerr (1948, 1954, 1960), Mike Monroney (1950, 1956, 1962) and David Boren (1978, 1984, 1990).

Inhofe is both the oldest Oklahoman in history to be elected to the U.S. Senate as well as the oldest to serve the state in the chamber.

The senior Senator from the Sooner State is 79 years, 11 months, 18 days old which is nearly three years older than Republican Edward Moore (1943-1949), Oklahoma’s second oldest Senator who exited office at 77 years, 1 month, 15 days.

Moore was just shy of 71 years old when he won the Election of 1942.

The only other Senator from Oklahoma to serve in their 70s was Democrat Elmer Thomas who exited at 74 years, 3 months, 26 days of age in 1951.

Oldest U.S. Senators in Oklahoma History

Rank
Senator
Party
In office
Age upon exit
1
Jim Inhofe
Republican
1994-present
79 years, 11 months, 18 days*
2
Edward Moore
Republican
1943-1949
77 years, 1 month, 15 days
3
Elmer Thomas
Democrat
1927-1951
74 years, 3 months, 26 days
4
Robert Owen
Democrat
1907-1925
69 years, 1 month, 1 day
5
Mike Monroney
Democrat
1951-1969
66 years, 10 months, 1 day
6
Tom Coburn
Republican
2005-present
66 years, 7 months, 21 days*
7
Robert Kerr
Democrat
1949-1963
66 years, 3 months, 21 days
8
Thomas Gore
Democrat
1907-1921; 1931-1937
66 years, 24 days
9
Dewey Bartlett
Republican
1973-1979
59 years, 9 months, 6 days
10
Henry Bellmon
Republican
1969-1981
59 years, 4 months
11
Don Nickles
Republican
1981-2005
56 years, 28 days
12
John Harreld
Republican
1921-1927
55 years, 1 month, 7 days
13
David Boren
Democrat
1979-1994
53 years, 6 months, 25 days
14
William Pine
Republican
1925-1931
53 years, 2 months, 3 days
15
Joshua Lee
Democrat
1937-1943
50 years, 11 months, 11 days
16
Fred Harris
Democrat
1964-1973
42 years, 1 month, 20 days
17
J. Howard Edmondson
Democrat
1963-1964
39 years, 1 month, 7 days

* Through November 4, 2014. Table compiled by Smart Politics.

Senator Infhofe currently ranks third in the state for the most days served in the nation’s upper legislative chamber at 19 years, 11 months, 18 days (7,157 days) through Tuesday.

At the top of that list is Nickles, who tallied 24 years in office from 1981 to 2005.

Nickels and the aforementioned Elmer Thomas each served four full terms, but Thomas served only 23 years, 9 months, 30 days (8,706 days) because his service began when Congressional terms began and ended on March 3rd and he exited the chamber after that date had changed to January 3rd.

Inhofe will have served 20 years, 1 month, 17 days (7,352 days) at the end of this term and will pass Nickles for the longest tenure in state history with 8,767 days served on November 18, 2018, or nearly halfway through his next term.

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