About That Carpetbagger Thing
Elizabeth and I did not have the good fortune to be born in Nevada. We spent years in the wilderness before we found this Promised Land. But more than the mountains and the desert, the lakes and the pastures, the neon and the cowboys, we have sunk down into this land which values personal freedoms as much as we do. We love it here. Our home. I told her, "We've been Nevadans all our lives. We just found out a few years ago."
But let's take a break from the emotional and take a closer look at history. The United States Senate is divided into three "classes". It depends on the class when a Senate seat is up for election. The junior Senator from Nevada, John Ensign, is Class I which is up for election this year. Class II Senate seats are up for election in 2008 and Class III Senate seats, among those the one held by Harry Reid, are up in 2010.
So far there have been 14 Class I Senators from Nevada, one of them served twice. Just guess how many of these were born in Nevada? Let's take a look at the list first:
- William M. Stewart (R) 1863-75, 1887-1905
- William Sharon (R) 1875-81
- James G. Fair (D) 1881-87
- George Nixon (R) 1905-11
- William A. Massey (R) 1911-13
- Key Pittman (D) 1913-40
- Berkeley L. Bunker (D) 1940-42
- James G. Scrugham (D) 1942-45
- Edward P. Carville (D) 1945-47
- George W. Malone (R) 1947-59
- Howard W. Cannon (D) 1959-83
- J. Chic Hecht (R) 1983-89
- Richard H. Bryan (D) 1989-2001
- John Ensign (R) 2001-2007
Of the 14 only two were actually born in Nevada - Berkeley L. Bunker and Edward P. Carville. Interestingly both were appointed after the death of their predecessors.
So, the people of Nevada for more than 140 years have not once elected a native Nevadan to this seat. I'm quite surprised by this myself. Never would've thought. One of these gentlemen wasn't even born in the United States. Senator Fair is a native of Ireland.
Nevada's first Senator, William M. Stewart actually only moved to Nevada in 1860, four years before the people of the newly created state elected him to the Senate and he subsequently became one of Nevada's longest serving Senators.
Seems to me the people of Nevada are pretty open minded about who represents them in Congress. The incumbent Senator himself was born in Roseville, California. His family moved to Nevada when he was a child.
When you take a look at the Class III Senators things look a little different. For this seat only native Nevadans have won since Patrick A. McCarran (D) was elected in 1932. His elected native Nevadan successors are Alan H. Bible (D), Paul Laxalt (R) and Harry Reid (D).
Looks like Class I is the seat for the people who life's mysterious ways has brought to Nevada and Class III for those who were born here. Somehow I've got an inkling that the carpetbagger campaign won't stick to Jack Carter. What about you?
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