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Report says Minnesota election winners are, on average, old

A report says Dayton, 67, is the oldest governor elected, while the eight-person congressional delegation is the oldest since statehood.

Minnesota voters apparently like their politicians the way they like their wine and cheese: well-aged.

A report from Eric Ostermeier at Smart Politics, notes that Gov. Mark Dayton, at age 67, is again the oldest governor elected in the state. He initially gained that honor in 2010, when he was 63. Previously, Arne Carlson had been the oldest governor elected, when he won a second term at age 60.

Dayton will be almost 72 when he completes his second term in four years.

And the state’s congressional delegation is older than ever.

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The eight members have an average age of 58.8, Ostermeier calculates:

On Election Day, DFLers Rick Nolan (age 70), Collin Peterson (70), Betty McCollum (60), Keith Ellison (51), and Tim Walz (50), and Republicans John Kline (67), Tom Emmer (53), and Erik Paulsen (49) were an average 58.8 years of age.

That breaks the record for the oldest delegation ever elected to the chamber set a decade ago when Jim Oberstar (70), Martin Sabo (66), Peterson (60), Jim Ramstad (58), Kline (57), Gil Gutknecht (53), McCollum (50), and Mark Kennedy (47) were an average 57.6 years old on Election Day in 2004.

Since statehood, the average age of Minnesota’s newly elected House delegation has been 48.0 years old. All eight of the state’s recently elected members are older than that mark.

And Sen. Al Franken, at 63, is on the far older end of Minnesota Senators, Ostermeier says:

Franken is currently the eighth oldest Minnesotan to serve in the U.S. Senate, but in his second term will pass the following six U.S. Senators to land him at #2 on the all-time list:

● Republican William Washburn (1889-1895): 64 years, 1 month, 17 days old upon leaving office 
● Republican Moses Clapp (1901-1917): 65 years, 9 months, 10 days
● Farmer-Laborite / Republican Henrik Shipstead (1923-1947): 65 years, 11 months, 26 days
● Republican Frank Kellogg (1917-1923): 66 years, 2 months, 9 days
● DFLer Hubert Humphrey (1949-1964; 1971-1978): 66 years, 7 months, 17 days
● DFLer Muriel Humphrey (1978): 66 years, 8 months, 18 days

At the end of Franken’s current term, in six years, only Republican Knute Nelson, who served from 1895-1923, will have been an older Minnesota Senator. He died in office at age 80.