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November 19, 2008

Sen. Patrick Leahy Ranks #4 in Senate

Leahy_2 Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy's open contempt for former Democratic caucus member Sen. Joe Lieberman nabbed plenty of headlines (Sen. Bernie Sanders' quick follow-through made for quite the one-two punch). Of course, Lieberman will keep his plum chairmanship but lose a minor subcommittee chairmanship.

Despite the outcome not going his way (his colleagues kept Lieberman in his post by a 42-13 tally) he has something to crow about.

After the Senate shakeout in Alaska, with convicted felon and Republican Sen. Ted Stevens losing to Democrat Mark Begich, Leahy is moving up in seniority.

Stevens had been in office longer than Leahy, but with the Alaskan being sent packing it means Leahy is now the fourth-most senior member of the entire US Senate — and ahead of all Republicans.

The Democrats ahead of Leahy are Sens. Robert Byrd (WV), Ted Kennedy (MA) and Daniel Inouye (HI). Until last night, the most senior Republican was Stevens, and after him Sen. Richard Lugar (IN).

Sen. Inouye will be the new Appropriations Committee chairman. Leahy sits on that panel, too, and will be the most senior member after the chairman. Leahy heads up the Senate Judiciary Committee.

I don't care how liberal Leahy is, that place needs to be emptied out and restocked. They're all way too old and way too comfortable.

Shay do you understand how the vote could be 42-13? I don't. With Lieberman and Sanders (who didn't vote), Democrats only have 51 senators until January. If my math is correct, 42 plus 13 equals 55. What gives?

@ Limits: Vermont's representation in Congress is pretty much tops in the nation... it takes a lot of leg work and social capital to be an effective politician on the national scale. It takes a lot of effort, organization, and solid support from your constituency to muster reelection for such a long time. Sens Leahy and Sanders deserve the utmost respect for the length and depth of their service to Vermont and the nation as a whole. Aside from a minor issue here or there, I cannot remember any serious problems I've had with *anything* they've done in their time as elected officials. Compared to the vast majority of the stodgy old white men in office from other parts of the country, these guys break the mold in so many ways.

@ Haik Bedrosian: it seems like the 55 total vote comes from the new democratic caucus. It doesn't make sense that the outgoing caucus would vote on the composition and placement of the incoming caucus.

-A not-so-stodgy young white male from Burlington.

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