Classes of United States Senators
|Classes of US Senators|
|United States Senate|
|Current Majority Leader||Harry Reid|
|Current Minority Leader||Mitch McConnell|
|Current Senate President||Dick Cheney|
|Current Senate President Pro Tempore||Robert Byrd|
The three classes of US Senators, each currently including 33 or 34 Senators (since Hawaii became the 50th state in 1959, and until another state is admitted), are a means used by the United States Senate for describing the schedules of Senate seats' elections, and of the expiration of the terms of office of the Senators holding the respective seats.
The U.S. Constitution specifies staggered 6-year terms for Senators, and there are special provisions for getting a new state into a situation that makes that pattern continue automatically:
- around the time of the first federal elections, in 1788, each state appointed its two Senators for, respectively,
- Class I: a two-year and a six-year term,
- Class II: a four-year and a six-year term,
- Class III: a two-year and a four-year term,
- upon the expiration of a Senator's term of any length, someone starts a new six-year term as Senator (based on appointment in most states, until the Seventeenth Amendment required direct popular election of Senators);
- when a new state is admitted to the Union, its two Senators have terms that correspond to those of two different classes, among the three classes defined below;
- which two classes is determined by a scheme that keeps the three classes as close to the same size as possible, i.e., that avoids any class differing by more than one from the minimum-sized class.
(This means at least one of a new state's first pair of Senators has a term of less than six years, and one term is either two or four years shorter than the other.)
Class I consists of
- the 33 current Senators whose seats have been submitted to re-election in November 2006, and whose terms end in January 2007; and
- earlier Senators with terms ending in 2001, 1995, 1989, 1983, 1977, 1971, 1965, 1959, and back to 1791; and
- some Senators who were successors to Senators who started two-year terms in 1789.
- Current States with a Class I Senator: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Class II consists of
- the 33 current Senators whose seats are scheduled for re-election in November 2008 of which 21 are Republican and 12 are Democratic, and whose terms end in January 2009; and
- earlier Senators with terms that ended in 2003, 1997, 1991, 1985, 1979, 1973, 1967, 1961, and back to 1793; and
- some Senators who were successors to Senators who started four-year terms in 1789.
- Current States with a Class II Senator: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Class III consists of
- the 34 current Senators whose seats are scheduled for re-election in November 2010 of which 19 are Republican and 15 are Democratic, and whose terms end in January 2011; and
- earlier Senators with terms that ended in 2005, 1999, 1993, 1987, 1981, 1975, 1969, 1963, and back to 1795; and
- some Senators who were successors to Senators who started six-year terms in 1789.
- Current States with a Class III Senator: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.
- This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Classes of United States Senators"
- US Senate class page (old)
- Current Class I, (senate.gov)
- Current Class II, (senate.gov)
- Current Class III, (senate.gov)
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