The First GenX Senator?

In case you missed it, the Baby Boomers have been busy solidifying their hold on the US House and Senate.

Of the 21 new Senators elected since 2006 (16 Dems, 5 Republicans), 15 were born between 1950 and 1960; the other six were born in the '40s: three post-war boomers, and three war-time children. The three other potential new Senators, in races not yet determined, are all Boomerish: Mark Begich of Alaska, born 1962; Al Franken of Minnesota, born 1951; and Jim Martin of Georgia, born 1945. There has still never been a US Senator born later than 1963. The Boom, according to most sociologists, ended in 1964

The House, where you would expect plenty of 35- to 45-year-olds, remains surprisingly low on post-Boomers. There will be just 37 of them in next year's Congress, by my count, which is well under 10 percent. Of the 20 newly elected freshmen (not including a few undecided races), 12 are Boomers, 3 are pre-Boomers, and just five are post-Boom. And two post-Boom incumbents were ousted, along with two born-in-'64 cuspers. (The youngest Senator, 1963-born John Sununu, was also tossed.)

It all provides evidence to my theory that the Boomers will take over the government from their elders and hold on tight to it until it's time to pass it along to the Millennials.

There is a chance, however, that we might soon see our first Gen-X US Senator -- thanks to the vacancies in Illinois and Delaware being created by the election of Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

In both states, Democratic governors will name a replacement. Delaware has a GenX-er in waiting: Biden's son Beau Biden, the state's attorney general, born in 1969. Unfortunately, Biden is off for another tour in Iraq with his National Guard unit, so he's not going to get the nod. In addition, it seems likely that the governor (either the outgoing or incoming one) will name an older 'placeholder' Senator, to give Biden a better chance at the gig in the 2010 election.

So how about Illinois? At least four post-Boomers are being mentioned in the rumor mill: US Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., born 1965; state comptroller Dan Hynes, born 1968; state attorney general Lisa Madigan, born 1966; and former congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth, born 1968.

Curiously, there are few Boomer names being bandied about; the main one is Obama pal Valerie Jarrett, who seems unlikely. The other names are all older pols like state senator Emil Jones, US Rep. Danny Davis, US Rep. Jan Schakowsky, and secretary of state Jesse White.

For those wondering about a possible Massachusetts Senator, any hopes for a post-Boomer candidate seem to rest on the GOP side. The youngest of the state's congressmen is Jim McGovern, born 1959; potential candidates Martha Coakley, Tim Cahill, Marty Meehan, and Joe Kennedy are all Boomers.

Most of the likely Republican suspects are Boomers as well: Charles Baker, Michael Sullivan, Kerry Healey, Paul Cellucci, Scott Brown, Andrew Card. Howevwer, Jane Swift was born in 1965, and I believe Darrell Crate was born 1967. I believe that Chris Egan was born in '64, so he's on the cusp.

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