Top 5 Political Old-Timers

PHOTO: Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., attends a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center to recognize the 46th anniversary of Medicare.
Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images

Last week, ABC News brought you the top 5 political whippersnappers - the U.S.'s youngest political players. This week, read about the top five political old-timers - the current public officials who have had the longest careers in politics.

The names of some of these older guys might surprise you.

PHOTO: Hilmar Moore is the mayor of Richmond, Texas.

Hilmar Guenther Moore turns 92 in July, a couple of months after finishing the 31st term of his 63-year tenure as mayor of the small town of Richmond, Texas.

Moore began serving as mayor at age 29 in 1949 when a group of friends asked him at lunch if he would be interested in serving out the unfinished term of the previous mayor.

From 1950 through today, Moore has been consistently re-elected to the position, making him one of the longest-serving current mayors in the U.S.

In 2008, a life-size statue of Moore was erected near the Richmond City Hall. Moore was honored, he told the Houston Chronicle in 2008, but said he thought "statues are supposed to be for dead people."

He said he planned to continue running for re-election and serving in pubilc office "so long as I know who I am and where I am."

PHOTO: Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., attends a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center to recognize the 46th anniversary of Medicare.
Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., has enough mileage on him to say what he really thinks about the way things are run in Washington, particularly in regards to the 2010 Republican freshman class.

"Before they even know where the men's or women's restroom is, they're making speeches telling how important they are and how this has got to be done," Dingell told Roll Call in December. "They think, 'I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread. I'm going to save this country.' But they're the only sons of bitches that think that."

Dingell was sworn in for his 29th full term in the House last January and is the longest-serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives. As such, Dingell is also the dean of the House of Representatives – a position that entails swearing in new House speakers – and he also takes it upon himself to admonish his fellow congressmen when they get out of line.

"These tea baggers come in and ... don't know the rules. They don't know the traditions," the dean told Roll Call. "It's just like taking a grade school class, bringing 'em down here and saying, 'Here, run the country."

In 2009, Dingell broke the record of the previous dean, Rep. Jamie L. Whitten, D-Miss., as longest-ever serving House member when he surpassed 53 years of service.

PHOTO: Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, is interviewed by Roll Call in his Capitol office.
Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images

When Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, became the longest-serving current member of the Senate, he had never taken a vacation in his entire life.

"Well this may sound as though I'm psychotic or something. I've never had a vacation in my life," Inouye told local Hawaii news station KHON 2 at the time. "I just like to work. I seem to love challenges, and there are many at this time."

Inouye was first elected to public office in Hawaii before it even became a state and has been in politics ever since, currently serving his ninth term as U.S. senator from Hawaii.

His 49-year tenure makes him the longest currently serving senator and the president pro tempore of the Senate, the third in line to assume the presidency.

At 87 years old, Inouye is also the second-oldest member of the Senate, just after Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., who is 88.

Nevertheless, Inouye told KHON 2 in 2010 that he did not plan to retire soon, and he then successfully ran for his ninth term.

While he hasn't set any records, Vice President Joe Biden is also quite the old-timer of the national political scene.

Two spots ahead of Inouye in the presidential line of succession, Biden first took office as a U.S. senator from Delaware in 1973 at the age of 30 – just old enough to qualify for a U.S. Senate seat.

Biden has been in national public office ever since. He ended up serving in the Senate for 36 years until 2009, when he became vice president.

The combination of the years throughout Biden's entire career - from his membership on the New Castle County Council, starting in 1971, through the present vice presidential office - totals 41 years in public life. That's more than three times the amount of time President Obama has worked in public office, which is 12 years since 1997.

Eleven years might not seem like a long time, but it makes Rick Perry the longest-serving sitting U.S. governor. Having dropped out of the Republican presidential race, Perry recently assured a crowd near Austin, Texas, that he was "not slipping off into the sunset. ... We've got plenty of work to do right here in the state of Texas."

Perry, of all people, would know, because he is the longest-serving governor in Texas history and the longest continually serving current governor in the U.S., despite the functional hiatus he took for his presidential campaign.

"I don't know what y'all have been doing for the last six months, but I think you kind of know what I've been up to," Perry told the Austin crowd.

Perry assumed the office of Texas governor from the position of Texas lieutenant governor in 2000 when George W. Bush became president. He has been continually re-elected ever since.

However, the national political stage has not necessarily seen the last of Perry, who told ABC News that he could very well be back in the running for president in 2016.

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