Over at Smart Politics, Eric Ostermeier works through the (expected) election of Ed Markey to fill the unexpired portion of the U.S. Senate term that John Kerry vacated when he became secretary of state.
Markey was a spry, handsome 25-year-old lawyer when he won his first race for the Massachusetts Legislature in 1972. Markey was just 30 in 1976 when the congressman from his district died in office. Markey seized the moment and went to Congress where he served in the U.S. House for the next 37 years. Massachusetts is my home state and I remember Markey as a rising star of Bay State Democrats who was considered a likely future Senate candidate. Trouble is, as Ostermeier notes, he found himself waiting for either Kerry or Ted Kennedy to create an opening.
Despite running a close race for the 1980 presidential nomination and being mentioned as a likely candidate about 50 other times, Ted Kennedy served 46 years in the Senate, including 36 years after Markey had gone to Congress. When Kennedy died in 2009, Markey was no longer a boy wonder. In fact he was 63, but was nonetheless was immediately mentioned as a possible candidate to fill the Senate vacancy, but he decided to pass. Kerry did become the Dem presidential nominee in 2004, but didn’t have to give up his Senate seat to do so and ended up serving a mere 28 years before departing for Foggy Bottom.
This time Markey, who is less than a month shy of his 67th birthday made the leap and became, according to Ostermeier, who specializes in these kinds of calculations, the 11th oldest person ever to win a special election to the Senate.