In the Aging Senate, 80-Somethings Seeking Re-election Draw Little Criticism

While President Biden tries to assuage voter concerns about his age in a presidential race that includes the two oldest men ever to seek the White House, a couple of miles away in the U.S. Senate, the gerontocracy remains alive and well — and little commented upon.

The recent news that two octogenarians — Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont, 82, and Angus King of Maine, 80 — are each running for another six-year term generated little in the way of criticism or worry over age of the kind that Mr. Biden has faced.

Their races, which both men are likely to win, are a reminder of how the Senate’s roster is chock-full of lawmakers staying in office at an age when most people are well into retirement. At the start of this Congress last year, the average age of elected officials was 64 in the Senate and 57.9 in the House.

“They’re not in short supply around here,” Senator Peter Welch of Vermont, 77, said of octogenarians.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader who swept aside concerns about his health after experiencing two freezes on camera last year, plans to step down from leadership at the end of this year. But Mr. McConnell, 82, has not committed either way to retiring or running again when his term ends in 2027.

President Biden and former President Donald J. Trump are the two oldest men ever to seek the White House.Credit…Haiyun Jiang for The New York Times

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