Democrats lost 376 years of seniority on Tuesday

All told, with about a dozen races still uncalled, Democrats have already shed 376 years of congressional experience, and that could go as high as 430 years if five other Democrats lose races in which returns show they are trailing.

Losing outright were 18-term incumbent Minnesota Rep. James L. Oberstar, chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; 14-term South Carolina Rep. John M. Spratt, chairman of the Budget Committee; and 17-term Missouri Rep. Ike Skelton, chairman of the Armed Services Committee…

As bad as the numbers are, they actually understate the total cost of party seniority for the Democrats this year.

Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey, a 21-term incumbent from Wisconsin, retired this year rather than seek re-election in his Wisconsin district, while Rep. Alan B. Mollohan, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, lost in a primary. Republicans won in Mr. Obey’s district and appeared likely to capture Mr. Mollohan’s old seat in a very tight race.

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