Thursday, January 06, 2011

Wily Old Dems Take on Whippersnapper Republicans

Curious fact, unearthed by Gerald Seib of The Wall Street Journal. The average age of Republican House members in the new Congress convening this week is 54.9, younger than the Republicans' average age in the previous Congress, 56.5. But the average age of House Democrats has risen, from 58 to 60.2.

That can be explained partly by the high turnover in the 2010 election. Many younger Democrats, first elected in 2006 or 2008, fell by the wayside. The old bulls from 65 percent-plus Democratic districts survived. Meanwhile, many young Republican challengers won.

But the results are historically anomalous. Going back to the Congress elected in 1950, there has never been more than a 2.8-year difference in the average age of House Republicans and House Democrats. The difference in this Congress is 5.3 years, almost double that.

The picture is similar on the Senate side of the Capitol, where the average age of Republicans is 61.4 and the average age of Democrats is 63.1. That's as wide a margin as in any Senate since the one produced by the election of 1982.

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