PAUL RYAN: A VERY YOUNG SPEAKER

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

The jury is still out of likely House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan. Is he a good con­ser­va­tive, not con­ser­va­tive enough, or Repub­li­can in name only? Hatchet man or healer?What­ever the de­scrip­tion, there is one re­al­ity about Mr. Ryan that can’t be dis­puted: “The 45-year old Ryan will go down in the books as the youngest Speaker in nearly 150 years — the youngest to hold the po­si­tion since Maine Repub­li­can James Blaine in 1869,” notes the ever-vig­i­lant Eric Oster­meier, a Univer­sity of Min­nesota po­lit­i­cal pro­fes­sor who doggedly tracks his­tor­i­cal trends in pol­i­tics.

“He would be younger than each of the last 26 speak­ers, from Demo­crat Michael Kerr of In­di­ana in 1875 through John Boehner,” the pro­fes­sor says, who notes that the av­er­age age of House speak­ers has been 62. But Mr. Ryan would not be the youngest of all.

“That ti­tle goes to Vir­ginia Whig Robert Hunter, who was elected to the post at the age of 30 years, 7 months, and 25 days in 1839. The old­est in the cham­ber’s his­tory was Illi­nois Demo­crat Henry Rainey in 1933 at 72 years, 6 months, 17 days,” the ex­act­ing Mr. Oster­meier says. “In the 18th through the mid-19th Cen­tury it was not un­com­mon for the House to elect Speak­ers who were shy of the age of 40. Prior to the Civil War, 12 House mem­bers in ad­di­tion to Hunter won the speak­er­ship in their 30s.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

House Speaker Paul Ryan is the youngest speaker in 150 years, ac­cord­ing to a

his­tor­i­cal anal­y­sis.

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