Dean of the United States Senate

Last updated
Dean of United States Senate
Patrick Leahy official photo.jpg
Patrick Leahy

since 2012
Member of United States Senate
First holder James Gunn

The Dean of the United States Senate is an informal term for the Senator with the longest continuous service, regardless of party affiliation. This is not an official position within the Senate, although customarily (since 1945) the longest-serving member of the majority party serves as President pro tempore.


The current Dean is Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont. He has been in the Senate since 1975, and became Dean in 2012 with the death in office of Daniel Inouye.

List of Deans

DeanPartyStateYears as DeanFirst served
James Gunn Anti-Admin,
Georgia 1789–17971789
John Langdon Pro-Admin,
New Hampshire
and others
James Gunn Democratic-Republican Georgia 1797–1801
John Langdon Democratic-Republican New Hampshire
Theodore Foster Democratic-Republican Rhode Island 1801–18031790
John Brown Democratic-Republican Kentucky 1803–18051791
James Hillhouse Federalist Connecticut 1805–18101796
Joseph Anderson Democratic-Republican Tennessee 1810–18151797
John Gaillard Democratic-Republican South Carolina 1815–18261804
Benjamin Ruggles Anti-Jacksonian Ohio 1826–18331815
William R. King Democratic Alabama 1833–18441819
Thomas Hart Benton Democratic Missouri 1844–18511821
Willie Person Mangum Whig North Carolina 1851–18531831, 1840
James Pearce Whig Maryland 1853–18621843
James A. Bayard Jr. Democratic Delaware 1862–18641851
Solomon Foot Republican Vermont
Solomon Foot Republican Vermont 1864–1866
Benjamin F. Wade Republican Ohio 1866–1869
Charles Sumner Republican Massachusetts 1869–1874
Zachariah Chandler Republican Michigan 1874–18751857
Henry B. Anthony Republican Rhode Island 1875–18841859
George F. Edmunds Republican Vermont 1884–18911866
Justin Smith Morrill Republican Vermont 1891–18981867
William B. Allison Republican Iowa 1898–19081873
Eugene Hale Republican Maine 1908–19111881
William P. Frye Republican Maine 19111881
Shelby Moore Cullom Republican Illinois 1911–19131883
Jacob Harold Gallinger Republican New Hampshire 1913–19181891
Henry Cabot Lodge Republican Massachusetts 1918–19241893
Francis E. Warren Republican Wyoming 1924–19291895
Furnifold McLendel Simmons Democratic North Carolina 1929–19311901
Reed Smoot Republican Utah 1931–19331903
William Edgar Borah Republican Idaho 1933–19401907
Ellison D. Smith Democratic South Carolina 1940–19441909
Kenneth McKellar Democratic Tennessee 1944–19531917
Walter F. George Democratic Georgia 1953–19571922
Carl Hayden Democratic Arizona 1957–19691927
Richard Russell Jr. Democratic Georgia 1969–19711933
Allen J. Ellender Democratic Louisiana 1971–19721937
George D. Aiken Republican Vermont 1972–19751941
James Eastland Democratic Mississippi 1975–19771941, 1943
John L. McClellan Democratic Arkansas 1943
James Eastland Democratic Mississippi 1977–19781941, 1943
Warren G. Magnuson Democratic Washington 1978–19811944
John C. Stennis Democratic Mississippi 1981–19891947
Strom Thurmond Republican South Carolina 1989–20031954, 1956
Robert Byrd Democratic West Virginia 2003–20101959
Daniel Inouye Democratic Hawaii 2010–20121963
Patrick Leahy Democratic Vermont 2012–present1975

Party Deans

For additional information, here is a list of most senior Senators by party, listed in reverse chronological order.




National Republican





See also

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