List of youngest members of the United States Congress
The following are historical lists of the youngest members of the United States Congress, in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. These members would be the equivalent to the "Baby of the House" in the parliaments of Commonwealth countries; the U.S. Congress does not confer a similar title upon its youngest members.
Minimum ages are written into Article One of the United States Constitution, which bars persons under the age of 25 from serving in the House and persons under the age of 30 from serving in the Senate. In the political culture of the United States, the U.S. House of Representatives is not an entry-level political position. Although the vast majority of Members of Congress have experience in state and local politics prior to their election to the federal Congress in Washington, D.C., the number of Senators and Representative without such experience has increased recently .
In the 115th Congress, which began on January 3, 2017, the youngest member of the United States House of Representatives is Elise Stefanik (R-New York 21), who was born on July 2, 1984 and first elected in 2014. She is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, and replaces Patrick Murphy (D-Florida 18) who was the youngest member of the 113th Congress and subsequently the second-youngest member of the 114th.
On June 26, 2018, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beat longtime incumbent Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th Congressional District’s Democratic primary. This district is heavily Democratic and if she wins the General election, she will be the youngest woman elected to Congress.
The youngest current U.S. senator is 41-year-old Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), who was elected in 2014. He replaces Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) who was the youngest senator of the 113th Congress. The second youngest senator now is Cory Gardner (R-Colorado), at age 43, elected in 2014 like Sen. Cotton.
The average age of Senators is now higher than in the past. In the 19th century, several state legislatures elected Senators in their late twenties in violation of the Constitutional minimum age of 30; Henry Clay, elected at age 29, is the most notable example.
List of youngest members of the U.S. Senate
|Time as youngest member||Name||State||Party||Age|
|March 4, 1789 – July 25, 1789||James Gunn||Georgia||Anti-Administration||35–36|
|July 25, 1789 – December 6, 1790||Rufus King||New York||Pro-Administration||34–35|
|December 6, 1790 – March 4, 1791||James Monroe||Virginia||Anti-Administration||32|
|March 4, 1791 – December 2, 1793||John Rutherfurd||New Jersey||Pro-Administration||30–33|
|December 2, 1793 – February 28, 1794||Albert Gallatin||Pennsylvania||Anti-Administration||32–33|
|February 28, 1794 – April 24, 1794||John Rutherfurd||New Jersey||Pro-Administration||33|
|April 24, 1794 – December 6, 1796||James Ross||Pennsylvania||Federalist||31–34|
|April 12, 1796 – December 6, 1796||Josiah Tattnall, Sr.||Georgia||Democratic-Republican||34 (est)|
|December 6, 1796 – November 22, 1797||Richard Stockton||New Jersey||Federalist||32–33|
|November 22, 1797 – April, 1798||Andrew Jackson||Tennessee||Democratic-Republican||30–31|
|April, 1798 – February 4, 1799||Ray Greene||Rhode Island||Federalist||33–34|
|February 4, 1799 – March 3, 1801||William H. Wells||Delaware||Federalist||30–32|
|March 4, 1801 – October 17, 1803||Samuel White||Delaware||Federalist||30–32|
|October 17, 1803 – December 29, 1806||Thomas Worthington||Ohio||Democratic-Republican||30–33|
|December 29, 1806 – March 4, 1807||Henry Clay||Kentucky||Democratic-Republican||29|
|March 4, 1807 – September 1807||James Fenner||Rhode Island||Democratic-Republican||34|
|September 1807 – December 9, 1807||John Pope||Kentucky||Democratic-Republican||36/37 (est)|
|September 1807 – December 9, 1807||Samuel White||Delaware||Federalist||36/37 (est)|
|December 9, 1807 – January 12, 1810||William Harris Crawford||Georgia||Democratic-Republican||35–37|
|May 26, 1809 – January 12, 1810||Jenkin Whiteside||Tennessee||Democratic-Republican||37–38 (est)|
|January 12, 1810 – March 3, 1813||Alexander Campbell||Ohio||Democratic-Republican||30–34 (est)|
|March 4, 1813 – May 27, 1813||Outerbridge Horsey||Delaware||Federalist||35–36|
|May 24, 1813 – May 27, 1813||William Bellinger Bulloch||Georgia||Democratic-Republican||36 (est)|
|May 27, 1813 – December 6, 1813||Robert Henry Goldsborough||Maryland||Federalist||34|
|December 6, 1813 – April 9, 1814||William Wyatt Bibb||Georgia||Democratic-Republican||32|
|April 9, 1814 – February 2, 1815||Jesse Wharton||Tennessee||Democratic-Republican||31–32|
|February 2, 1815 – January 22, 1816||William Taylor Barry||Kentucky||Democratic-Republican||30–31|
|January 22, 1816 – March 3, 1817||Armistead Thomson Mason||Virginia||Democratic-Republican||28–29|
|March 4, 1817 – November 16, 1818||John Jordan Crittenden||Kentucky||Democratic-Republican||29–31|
|November 16, 1818 – March 3, 1821||John Henry Eaton||Tennessee||Democratic-Republican||28–30|
|March 4, 1821 – December 3, 1821||Samuel Lewis Southard||New Jersey||Democratic-Republican||33–34|
|December 3, 1821 – March 3, 1823||John Henry Eaton||Tennessee||Democratic-Republican||31–32|
|March 4, 1823 – March 3, 1825||Robert Young Hayne||South Carolina||Jacksonian Republican||31–33|
|March 4, 1825 – March 3, 1829||Elias Kent Kane||Illinois||Jacksonian||30–34|
|March 4, 1829 – December 16, 1833||John Middleton Clayton||Delaware||Anti-Jacksonian||32–37|
|December 16, 1833 – December 31, 1833||Lewis Fields Linn||Missouri||Jacksonian||37|
|December 31, 1833 – March 3, 1835||John Pendleton King||Georgia||Jacksonian||34–35|
|March 4, 1835 – December 5, 1836||Robert John Walker||Mississippi||Jacksonian||34–35|
|December 5, 1836 – February 2, 1837||Ambrose H. Sevier||Arkansas||Jacksonian||35|
|February 2, 1837 – March 3, 1837||Alexander Mouton||Louisiana||Jacksonian||32|
|March 4, 1837 – January 11, 1841||Franklin Pierce||New Hampshire||Democratic||32–36|
|January 11, 1841 – February 7, 1842||Alfred O.P. Nicholson||Tennessee||Democratic||32–33|
|February 7, 1842 – February 28, 1842||Franklin Pierce||New Hampshire||Democratic||37|
|February 28, 1842 – March 1, 1842||Alexander Mouton||Louisiana||Democratic||37|
|March 1, 1842 – April 14, 1842||William Alexander Graham||North Carolina||Whig||37|
|April 14, 1842 – July 6, 1842||Charles Magill Conrad||Louisiana||Whig||37|
|July 6, 1842 – March 3, 1843||William L. Dayton||New Jersey||Whig||35–36|
|March 4, 1843 – December 4, 1843||Edward A. Hannegan||Indiana||Democratic||35–36|
|December 4, 1843 – March 3, 1845||David Rice Atchison||Missouri||Democratic||36–37|
|March 4, 1845 – March 3, 1847||Jesse D. Bright||Indiana||Democratic||32–34|
|March 4, 1847 – June 26, 1848||Stephen A. Douglas||Illinois||Democratic||33–35|
|June 26, 1848 – December 14, 1853||Isaac Pigeon Walker||Wisconsin||Democratic||32–38|
|December 14, 1853 – March 3, 1855||Clement Claiborne Clay, Jr.||Alabama||Democratic||37–38|
|March 3, 1855 – March 5, 1860||George Ellis Pugh||Ohio||Democratic||32–37|
|March 5, 1860 – January 22, 1863||Milton Slocum Latham||California||Democratic||32–35|
|January 22, 1863 – March 3, 1863||David Turpie||Indiana||Democratic||34|
|March 4, 1863 – June 23, 1868||William Sprague IV||Rhode Island||Republican||32–37|
|June 23, 1868 – June 30, 1868||Alexander McDonald||Arkansas||Republican||36|
|June 30, 1868 – July 25, 1868||Thomas Ward Osborn||Florida||Republican||35|
|July 25, 1868 – March 3, 1873||George Eliphaz Spencer||Alabama||Republican||31–36|
|March 4, 1873 – March 3, 1879||Stephen Wallace Dorsey||Arkansas||Republican||31–37|
|March 4, 1879 – March 3, 1881||Blanche Kelso Bruce||Mississippi||Republican||38–40|
|March 4, 1881 – October 11, 1881||Arthur Pue Gorman||Maryland||Democratic||41–42|
|October 11, 1881 – March 3, 1883||Nelson W. Aldrich||Rhode Island||Republican||39–41|
|March 4, 1883 – December 2, 1889||John E. Kenna||West Virginia||Democratic||34–41|
|December 2, 1889 – March 3, 1891||Richard F. Pettigrew||South Dakota||Republican||41–42|
|March 4, 1891 – January 24, 1895||John L.M. Irby||South Carolina||Democratic||36–40|
|January 24, 1895 – March 3, 1895||Jeter C. Pritchard||North Carolina||Republican||37|
|March 4, 1895 – March 3, 1901||Marion Butler||North Carolina||Populist||31–37|
|March 4, 1901 – March 3, 1905||Joseph Weldon Bailey||Texas||Democratic||38–42|
|Albert J. Beveridge||Indiana||Republican||38–42|
|March 4, 1905 – January 30, 1907||Elmer J. Burkett||Nebraska||Republican||37–39|
|January 30, 1907 – March 3, 1907||Frederick W. Mulkey||Oregon||Republican||33|
|March 4, 1907 – December 16, 1907||Simon Guggenheim||Colorado||Republican||39|
|December 16, 1907 – January 9, 1908||Thomas P. Gore||Oklahoma||Democratic||37|
|January 9, 1908 – March 22, 1908||William James Bryan||Florida||Democratic||31|
|March 22, 1908 – January 9, 1911||Thomas P. Gore||Oklahoma||Democratic||37–40|
|January 9, 1911 – January 31, 1911||Davis Elkins||West Virginia||Republican||34–35|
|January 31, 1911 – March 3, 1911||Thomas P. Gore||Oklahoma||Democratic||40|
|March 4, 1911 – March 3, 1917||Luke Lea||Tennessee||Democratic||31–37|
|March 4, 1917 – July 8, 1918||Peter Goelet Gerry||Rhode Island||Democratic||37–38|
|July 8, 1918 – November 5, 1918||Christie Benet||South Carolina||Democratic||38|
|November 5, 1918 – March 3, 1919||Peter Goelet Gerry||Rhode Island||Democratic||39|
|March 4, 1919 – March 3, 1923||Pat Harrison||Mississippi||Democratic||37–41|
|March 4, 1923 – March 3, 1925||Clarence Cleveland Dill||Washington||Democratic||38–40|
|March 4, 1925 – December 7, 1925||Sam G. Bratton||New Mexico||Democratic||36–37|
|December 7, 1925 – January 12, 1933||Robert M. La Follette, Jr.||Wisconsin||Republican||30–37|
|January 12, 1933 – June 21, 1935||Richard B. Russell, Jr.||Georgia||Democratic||35–37|
|June 21, 1935 – October 17, 1940||Rush Dew Holt, Sr.||West Virginia||Democratic||30–35|
|October 17, 1940 – December 12, 1940||Joseph H. Ball||Minnesota||Republican||34–35|
|December 12, 1940 – December 6, 1942||Berkeley L. Bunker||Nevada||Democratic||34–36|
|December 6, 1942 – January 3, 1943||Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.||Massachusetts||Republican||40|
|January 3, 1943 – November 14, 1944||Joseph H. Ball||Minnesota||Republican||37–39|
|November 14, 1944 – January 3, 1945||William E. Jenner||Indiana||Republican||36|
|January 3, 1945 – January 18, 1945||Joseph H. Ball||Minnesota||Republican||39|
|January 18, 1945 – August 26, 1945||Hugh B. Mitchell||Washington||Democratic||37–38|
|August 26, 1945 – January 3, 1947||William Knowland||California||Republican||37–38|
|January 3, 1947 – December 31, 1948||Joseph McCarthy||Wisconsin||Republican||38–40|
|December 31, 1948 – January 3, 1957||Russell Long||Louisiana||Democratic||30–38|
|January 3, 1957 – June 15, 1961||Frank Church||Idaho||Democratic||32–36|
|June 15, 1961 – January 10, 1962||John Tower||Texas||Republican||35–36|
|January 10, 1962 – November 6, 1962||Maurice J. Murphy, Jr.||New Hampshire||Republican||34–35|
|November 7, 1962 – January 3, 1969||Ted Kennedy||Massachusetts||Democratic||30–36|
|January 3, 1969 – January 2, 1971||Bob Packwood||Oregon||Republican||36–38|
|January 2, 1971 – January 3, 1973||John V. Tunney||California||Democratic||36–38|
|January 3, 1973 – January 3, 1979||Joe Biden||Delaware||Democratic||30–36|
|January 3, 1979 – January 3, 1981||Bill Bradley||New Jersey||Democratic||35–37|
|January 3, 1981 – March 11, 1987||Don Nickles||Oklahoma||Republican||32–38|
|March 11, 1987 – November 8, 1988||David Kemp Karnes||Nebraska||Republican||38–39|
|November 8, 1988 – January 3, 1993||Don Nickles||Oklahoma||Republican||39–44|
|January 3, 1993 – January 3, 1995||Russ Feingold||Wisconsin||Democratic||39–41|
|January 3, 1995 – January 3, 1999||Rick Santorum||Pennsylvania||Republican||36–40|
|January 3, 1999 – January 3, 2003||Peter Fitzgerald||Illinois||Republican||38–42|
|January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2009||John E. Sununu||New Hampshire||Republican||38–44|
|January 3, 2009 – January 22, 2009||Mark Pryor||Arkansas||Democratic||45–46|
|January 22, 2009 – January 27, 2009||Michael Bennet||Colorado||Democratic||44|
|January 27, 2009 – September 10, 2009||Kirsten Gillibrand||New York||Democratic||42|
|September 10, 2009 – July 20, 2010||George LeMieux||Florida||Republican||40–41|
|July 20, 2010 – November 15, 2010||Carte Goodwin||West Virginia||Democratic||36|
|November 15, 2010 – January 3, 2011||George LeMieux||Florida||Republican||41|
|January 3, 2011 – December 26, 2012||Mike Lee||Utah||Republican||39–41|
|December 26, 2012 – January 3, 2013||Brian Schatz||Hawaii||Democratic||40|
|January 3, 2013 – January 3, 2015||Chris Murphy||Connecticut||Democratic||39–41|
|January 3, 2015 – present||Tom Cotton||Arkansas||Republican||37–41|
List of youngest members of the U.S. House of Representatives
- Steinhauer, Jennifer (2010-11-11). "Many Political Newcomers Joining Congress". New York Times. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
- Paiella, Gabriella (2018-06-27). "Here's the Moment Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Realized She Won". The Cut. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
- Some of the starting dates reflect the actual date of the swearing-in of U.S. Senator (if appointed by the Governor to a vacancy or if by special elections) as opposed to the date of their elections, which can often vary from anywhere from days to months. If elected to a regular session, note that from 1789 until 1935, the starting date will reflect March 4th (through to March 3rd for a two-year Congress). Starting with 1937, Congress convened on January 3rd.
- Some resources regard Gallatin only as a Senator-elect because of the challenge to his credentials, hence John Rutherfurd (F-NJ) could be considered the youngest official member of the body during this period. Gallatin was ultimately disqualified from service.
- Sen. Josiah Tattnall's (D-R-GA) precise birthdate in 1762 is unknown. Since both he and James Ross (F-PA) were born the same year, credited both with the designation for youngest for the period from the swearing-in of Tattnall in April 1796 until the swearing-in of Richard Stockton (F-NJ) in December 1796, who was younger than both.
- Sen. Henry Clay (D-R-KY) elected and served in the U.S. Senate while under the Constitutional age requirement of 30 at the age of 29 years.
- Sen. John Pope's (D-R-KY) precise birthdate in 1770 is unknown. Since both he and Samuel White (F-DE) were born the same year, credited both with the designation for youngest for the period from the resignation of James Fenner (D-R-RI) in September 1807 until the swearing-in of William H. Crawford (D-R-GA) in December 1809, who was younger than both.
- Sen. Jenkin Whiteside's (D-R-TN) precise birthdate in 1772 is unknown. Since both he and William H. Crawford (D-R-GA) were born the same year, credited both with the designation for youngest for the period from the swearing-in of Whiteside in 1809 until the swearing-in of Alexander Campbell (D-R-OH) in 1810, who was younger than both.
- Sen. William Bulloch's (D-R-GA) precise birthdate in 1777 is unknown. Since both he and Outerbridge Horsey (F-DE) were born the same year, credited both with the designation for youngest for the 3 days from Bulloch's swearing-in until the swearing-in of Robert H. Goldsborough (F-MD), who was younger than both.
- William Wyatt Bibb was the first person to be the youngest member of both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate.
- Also held title of youngest member of the U.S. House.
- Sen. Armistead Mason (D-R-VA) elected and served in the U.S. Senate while under the Constitutional age requirement of 30 at the age of 28 years, 5 months.
- Sen. John Eaton (D-R-TN) elected and served in the U.S. Senate while under the Constitutional age requirement of 30. At 28 years, 4 months, he was the youngest ever to serve in that body.
- Sen. Blanche K. Bruce became the first non-White youngest member of the Senate.
- Senators Albert J. Beveridge (R-IN) and Joseph W. Bailey, Sr. (D-TX) were both born on October 6, 1862.
- Sen. William James Bryan was the youngest U.S. Senator to die in office at the age of 31.
- Sen. Rush Holt, Sr. was the youngest popularly elected Senator at 29 years and 4 months in November 1934. He was not permitted to take the oath of office until after his 30th birthday in June 1935.
- Russell Long served the longest uninterrupted tenure as the youngest U.S. Senator at 8 years and 3 days. He was surpassed by Don Nickles (R-OK) in overall time, but Nickles's tenure was interrupted.
- Still living as of 2015.
- Joe Biden was elected at the age of 29 years, 11 months, but turned 30 before the start of his term.
- Don Nickles served the longest period as the youngest member of the U.S. Senate at 10 years, 4 months, 3 days, however, his tenure was interrupted by David Karnes (R-NE), who was six days younger, from 1987–88. Russell Long served the longest period uninterrupted at 8 years and 3 days.
- Sen. Mark Pryor set the record as the oldest youngest Senator in the body's history at 46 years until the swearing-in of Michael Bennet (D-CO) in January 2009.
- Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand became the first female youngest member of the Senate.
- Some of the starting dates reflect the actual date of the swearing-in of the U.S. Congressmember (if due to a special election) as opposed to the date of their elections, which can often vary from anywhere from days to months. If elected to a regular session, note that from 1789 until 1935, the starting date will reflect March 4th (through to March 3rd for a 2-year Congress). Starting with 1937, Congress convened on January 3rd.
- Until about the 34th Congress and rarely after, some members didn't have birthyears or birthdates listed, so attempted to ascertain approximate age with available biographical descriptions, though some were very limited. If more than one member had a birthyear but not birthdate listed, credited both with being youngest during a given period until the next confirmed younger member was sworn-in.
- John Steele was elected to the NC 4th district for the 2nd Congress.
- William C.C. Claiborne was the youngest-ever elected and seated member of Congress at approximately the age of 22, despite being below the Constitutional age requirement.
- During part of the 9th Congress, credited Congressmen John G. Jackson, John Claiborne and U.S. Delegate Benjamin Parke with sharing the title of youngest member. Jackson & Parke were born on the same day, but Claiborne had no birthdate listed, but all were born in 1777. They lost the title upon the swearing-in of William Burwell in the same Congress.
- Indiana was not yet a state and this member was a non-voting U.S. Delegate.
- Also held title of youngest member of the U.S. Senate.
- Although Wharton was 24 at the time of the official start of the 10th Congress in March 1807, it did not convene until October 1807 after he turned 25.
- U.S. Delegate Jonathan Jennings and Congressman William T. Barry were both born in 1784, but because of unknown birthdate for Jennings, credited both with youngest during part of the 11th Congress.
- Although King was 24 at the time of the official start of the 12th Congress in March 1811, it did not convene until November 1811 after he turned 25.
- During part of the 17th Congress, credited Congressmen Daniel P. Cook and Andrew R. Govan with sharing the title of youngest member. Both were born in 1794, but birthdate for Cook was unknown, so credited both.
- Arkansas was not yet a state and Sevier was a non-voting U.S. Delegate.
- Congressman Dixon Lewis and Spencer Pettis were both born in 1802, but unknown birthdate for Pettis, so credited both with youngest for the 21st Congress.
- Although Dickinson was 24 at the time of the official start of the 23rd Congress in March 1833, it did not convene until November 1833 after he turned 25.
- Otero was the first Hispanic youngest member of the U.S. House.
- New Mexico was not yet a state and Otero was a non-voting U.S. Delegate.
- Although John Young Brown was elected at the start of the 36th Congress, being just 24 at the time of the election, he was not permitted to take his seat until the second session in December 1860 after his 25th birthday, so Albert G. Jenkins retained the title of youngest until Brown's swearing-in.
- Thomas Noell was elected as a Republican to the 39th Congress and reelected to the 40th Congress as a Democrat.
- Thomas Noell was the youngest known member of Congress to die in office at 28 while holding the youngest title.
- Josiah Walls was the first Black youngest member of the U.S. House.
- Benjamin F. Shively was elected to a vacancy in the 48th Congress as an Anti-Monopolist/Greenbacker-supported candidate. He was elected to the 50th Congress as a Democrat.
- As the Philippines was a territory of the U.S., Resident Commissioner Manuel L. Quezon was a non-voting member of Congress.
- Rep. John M. Baer was the oldest youngest member of the U.S. House at the age of 33 years and 4 months at the time he was succeeded in August 1919.
- Lloyd Bentsen served the shortest period as the youngest member of the U.S. House at just 31 days.
- From 1995–2015, John Dingell, Jr. was the Dean of the U.S. House, and in Feb. 2009 became the longest-serving member of the House in history.
- Carl C. Perkins (D-KY) was elected to Congress to fill a vacancy on November 6, 1984, and was younger than titleholder Jim Cooper (D-TN), but owing to the 98th Congress having adjourned sine die, he was not sworn-in until the 99th Congress, by which time John Rowland (R-CT), who was younger than Perkins, claimed the title. Credited Cooper until the end of the 99th Congress as an official Congressman, as opposed to a Congressman-elect, but noted Perkins due to the unusual circumstances.
- John Rowland served the longest period as the youngest member of the U.S. House at 5 years, 2 months.
- Susan Molinari was the first woman to hold the title of youngest member of the U.S. House.