Senator Robert Byrd Surpasses Arizona's Carl Hayden as Longest Serving Federal Legislator

The old boys club just got a little older.

Today, West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd surpassed former Arizona Congressman Carl Hayden as the longest serving congressman in history.

Hayden served the state of Arizona in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate for 57 years (20,773 days). After his retirement in 1968, he was succeeded by Conservative golden-boy Barry Goldwater.

Before his gigs in Congress, Hayden was the territorial sheriff of Maricopa County, where he claimed he was made popular for extraditing prisoners and welcoming extradition officers from other jurisdictions.

It was too early for him to have his own reality show to help make him popular, like our current top constable?

Byrd, who turns 92 this week, broke Hayden's record today and was honored by his Senate colleagues.

Byrd was elected to Congress in 1953, and boasts a 98 percent attendance record ever since.

In the 1940s, Byrd was an active member of the Ku Klux Klan in West Virginia (go figure), and held the, um, prestigious title of "Exalted Cyclops," whatever the hell that is.

In recent years, Byrd has called his association with the Klan "the most egregious mistake I've ever made." One year into his first term in Congress, Byrd quit the group.

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James King
Contact: James King