Yet another Senate retirement announced yesterday: Hawaii's Daniel Akaka is the seventh Senator who will not be running for reelection in 2012. This does mean there will be (at least) five open seats currently held by Democrats, at least if you count Joe Lieberman. However, it's unlikely that Republicans can even make a race of this one, given that Hawaii is a strongly Democratic state to begin with and that native son Barack Obama will be at the top of the ticket. It's the seventh retirement over all, which is above the recent median.
As long-time readers know, one of my hobby horses is that the Senate is too damn old. Akaka is the oldest of the seven -- he's 86. Of the other six, the youngest is Kent Conrad (62) and the oldest is Holy Joe (69). Change in just those seven seats is unlikely to make the Senate an overall younger group just by themselves, but at least all seven will likely be filled by younger pols, and it's still early. There's still plenty of time for more retirements, not to mention defeats next November. Just for starters, though, the most vulnerable incumbents according to Charlie Cook's report are Ben Nelson (current age 69), Jon Tester (54), Joe Manchin (63), John Ensign (52), and Scott Brown (51)...I'll toss in Olympia Snowe (64) and Dick Lugar (78), who are vulnerable in primaries but safe in November if they make it that far. Overall, that's not an especially aged group of Senators.
Akaka will be remembered mostly for being the first Senator in alphabetical order, a distinction which will, unless David Aardsma or someone like him gets elected, fall in the 113th Senate to Lamar Alexander. The other thing about Akaka is that he was born on September 11, 1924 -- and that Daniel Inouye was born on September 7, 1924. Go figure. The oldest Senator, by the way, is Frank Lautenberg, who was born in January 1924.