New Jersey’s Bill Pascrell, Jr. seems to be aiming at a record whether he likes it or not: the oldest person to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The 86-year-old Pascrell, who announced this week that he would seek re-election to a 15th term in Congress next year, must win two more elections – 2024 and 2026 – to take the record away from Ralph Hall, a Texas congressman who spent 34 years in the House before losing a Republican primary in 2014 when he was 91.
And Pascrell needs just one more term to pass former U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg as the oldest New Jerseyan to serve in Congress. Lautenberg was 89 when he died in office nearly ten years ago.
The Paterson Democrat remains an active and outspoken lawmaker, and there are no signs of a primary challenge.
Still, Pascrell told supporters at his annual St. Patrick’s Day bash that he wanted to get out in front of rumors that his age might dissuade him from running again.
At 86, Pascrell is not yet the oldest member of the House. Grace Napolitano, a California Democrat, is one month older than her New Jersey colleague. And two U.S. Senators, Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Grassley, are older. In addition to Napolitano, there are 96 living former House members who are older than Pascell,
When Hall, who pumped gas for Bonnie & Clyde as a teenager, broke the record two years before leaving Congress, he supplanted a North Carolina Democrat, Charles Manly Stedman, who died in office four months shy of his 90th birthday.