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Record breaker: Kevin McCarthy becomes least tenured floor leader in U.S. House history

- The Washington Times - Friday, June 20, 2014

Well, it's an official record. A painstaking study of more than three-dozen House majority and minority leaders finds that Rep. Kevin McCarthy, with less than four full terms under his belt, "has the least experience of any floor leader in the chamber's history by more than a year - and nearly 10 years less than the average leader," says a new University of Minnesota "Smart Politics" report.

When Mr. McCarthy steps into the leadership shoes at the end of July, he will have accrued 7 years, 6 months, 29 days of service in the chamber - or 2,767 days. The average legislative experience in the chamber for the previous three-dozen floor leaders at the time of their initial election to the position is 6,268 days, or more than 17 years in office.

There were other lawmakers with short time at their posts, however.

"Prior to McCarthy, the low water mark for floor leader tenure was held by Acting Majority Leader Roy Blunt of Missouri in 2005 at 8 years, 8 months, 25 days (3,190 days)," says Eric Ostermeier, the political professor who pored over the records.

"Republicans Dick Armey of Texas and Eric Cantor of Virginia had each served 10 years before becoming Majority Leader in 1995 and 2011 respectively (3,652 days) as did Democrat John Sharp Williams of Mississippi who became Minority Leader in 1903," the professor notes.

And the longest record of all?

The member of Congress who paid the most dues before becoming a floor leader was Democrat Henry Rainey of Illinois who logged 26 years, 8 months, 30 days in the House (9,774 days) between two stints before he became Majority Leader in 1931." Mr. Ostermeir notes.

Three more had a waiting period of more than a quarter-century: Democrats John Garner of Texas in 1929 (26 years), Hale Boggs of Louisiana in 1971 (26 years), and Steny Hoyer of Maryland in 2007 (25 years, 7 months, 15 days).

See Mr. Ostermeir's study here

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