Longevity in politics rarely an issue in Massachusetts

Speaker John McCormack

It has been a very long time.

As has now been repeated ad nauseum, Congressman Ed Markey has represented his district in Washington for 37 years.

His Republican challenger repeatedly claims it has been 37 years of failure.  Gabriel Gomez goes on to say that he only needs 17 months to make a difference and stand again before the voters for judgment.

Now longevity in politics has never been a visceral issue in Massachusetts so Gomez gets a pat on the back for trying to wash sand against the tide.  I thought it might be interesting to take a quick look at seniority in the Mass congressional delegation:

The champ is the late Senator Ted Kennedy who served in the Senate for 46 years.  But the winner’s circle has a lot of entrants and right behind Kennedy are four U.S. Speakers of the House.

John McCormack served in the House for 42 years

Joe Martin served in the House for just under 42 years

Frederick Gillett served a combined 38 years in the House and Senate.

Tip O’Neill served for 34 years in the House.

Other notables in the longevity sweepstakes:  Silvio Conte who served for 32 years and Henry Cabot Lodge who served a combined 37 years in the House and Senate.

At 37 years and counting, Markey may just walk away with the prize.  If elected to the Senate tomorrow to fill out the rest of John Kerry’s term and reelected to two terms starting in 2014, he will have served a combined 50 years in the House and Senate.

Quite simply, Massachusetts doesn’t seem to mind longevity in its congressional delegation.  Gomez is, of course, betting that the subterranean approval ratings of Congress at the moment will work in his favor so linking Markey over and over again to a disgraced institution is a good strategy.

Except . . .

The citizens of the Bay State, like our fellow citizens across the country, don’t hold Congress in high regard but they are not likely to hold Ed Markey responsible for the mess in DC.  They look to Washington and largely focus their ire on the GOP.   And until that changes, Republicans here are forced to keep throwing sand back against the tide.

About Peter Ubertaccio

Peter Ubertaccio is the Director of Joseph Martin Institute for Law & Society at Stonehill College in Easton and Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science & International Studies. His work focuses on political parties, marketing and institutions. He received his Ph.D. in Politics from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. Professor Ubertaccio and his family live on Cape Cod where he is on the Board of Directors of the OpenCape Corporation and the Sandwich Economic Initiative Corporation.
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2 Responses to Longevity in politics rarely an issue in Massachusetts

  1. Pingback: Headlines for Monday, June 24, 2013 » MASSterList

  2. Carolyn Gritter says:

    Candidate Gomez thinks experience on the job is cause for Congressman Markey’s dismissal as it longevity equated ineffictiveness. Surely that can’t be one of his business principles. GOP mossbacks excluded, I suppose.

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