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LONGEST TERMS IN OFFICE

In the first incarnation of term limits, which started in 1990, constitutional officers and State Senate members can hold an office for two four-year terms. In the State Assembly, the limit was three two-year terms. Under the new term limits, starting in 2012, members of the Legislature are now limited to a total of 12 years in office (no matter which house they are in when they serve those years).

Seats in the US House of Representatives and US Senate are not bound by term limits, and members may serve for as long as the voters in their districts reelect them. The current longest-serving member of the legislature is State Senator Jim Nielsen, who served twelve years in the Senate prior to term limits, four years in the Assembly under old term limits, and has served in the Senate since early 2013.

Also of note is Governor Jerry Brown, whose total service as Governor (12 years) has now broken the previous record set by Earl Warren in the 1950s.

As of January 3, 2015, the longest terms that California elected officials have held a single office is:

Longest Service (By Type)

State Executive

Name Office Dates Years
George Reilly  Board of Equalization 1939-1982  43
Richard E. Collins  Board of Equalization  1907-1946  38
U. S. Webb  Attorney General  1903-1939  36
Charles Johnson  Treasurer  1923-1956  33
Frank C. Jordan  Secretary of State  1911-1940  29
Richard Nevins  Board of Equalization  1959-1987  28
Richard Nevins  SBOE  1959-1986  27
Frank M. Jordan  Secretary of State  1943-1970  27
John C. Corbett  Board of Equalization  1915-1938  23

 

State Legislature

Legislator

Assembly Senate Total
Ralph C. Dills 10.4 32.0 42.4
Nicholas C. Petris 8.0 30.0 38.0
Milton Marks 8.6 29.4 38.0
John  Vasconcellos 30.0 8.0 38.0
Vincent Thomas 38.0   38.0
Randolph Collier   37.0 37.0
Herbert W. Slater 4.0 32.6 36.6
Leroy F Greene 20.0 16.0 36.0
Alfred E. Alquist 4.0 30.0 34.0
Hugh M Burns 6.0 28.0 34.0
Charles W.  Lyon 20.0 14.0 34.0
Hugh P  Donnelly 8.0 24.0 32.0
Newton R. Russell 9.0 23.0 32.0
Thomas A. Maloney 24.0 8.0 32.0
John L. E.  Collier 32.0   32.0
Willie L. Brown Jr. 31.0   31.0
Harry L. Parkman 6.0 24.0 30.0
Donald L. Grunsky 6.0 24.0 30.0
Bradford S  Crittenden 10.0 20.0 30.0
Robert G. Beverly 9.7 20.0 29.7
James J. McBride 4.0 25.0 29.0
Ralph E. Swing   28.0 28.0
Walter W. Stiern   28.0 28.0
Augustus F.  Hawkins 28.0   28.0
Frank  Lanterman 28.0   28.0
Kenneth L.  Maddy 8.0 19.5 27.5
Wadie P. Deddeh 16.0 10.7 26.7
John L. Burton 18.5 8.0 26.5
Bill Greene 8.3 17.7 26.0
Lester A . McMillan 26.0   26.0
Charles J.  Conrad 26.0   26.0
Ross Johnson 16.3 9.6 25.9
William A. Craven 5.5 20.0 25.5
David A. Roberti 4.6 20.9 25.4
Teresa Hughes 17.4 8.0 25.4
Bill Lockyer 9.3 16.0 25.3
Ruben S. Ayala   24.9 24.9
S. L  Heisinger 24.7   24.7
Chris N. Jespersen 6.0 18.1 24.1
Benjamin F. Rush   24.0 24.0
Charles Brown   24.0 24.0
Arthur H. Breed Jr. 4.0 20.0 24.0
Daniel E. Boatwright 8.0 16.0 24.0
Herschel  Rosenthal 8.0 16.0 24.0
Nelson S. Dilworth 8.0 16.0 24.0
Richard J.  Dolwig 10.0 14.0 24.0
John F. Foran 13.5 10.5 24.0
Byron Sher 15.3 8.7 24.0
Jim  Costa 16.0 8.0 24.0
David G.  Kelley 16.0 8.0 24.0
Bill Leonard 16.0 8.0 24.0
Vernon  Kilpatrick 24.0   24.0
Clayton A.  Dills 24.0   24.0
Pauline L. Davis 24.0   24.0
Tom  Bane 24.0   24.0
Ernest C.  Crowley 23.7   23.7
Earl D.  Desmond 10.0 13.4 23.4
Lou A. Cusanovich 9.1 14.0 23.1
Carley V. Porter 23.1   23.1
Charles H.  Deuel 6.0 16.6 22.6
Albert S. Rodda   22.2 22.2
Herbert C. Jones   22.0 22.0
Arthur H. Breed   22.0 22.0
H. L. Richardson   22.0 22.0
George Miller Jr. 2.0 20.0 22.0
Will R. Sharkey 2.0 20.0 22.0
James R. Mills 6.0 16.0 22.0
Frank W. Mixter 6.0 16.0 22.0
Charles M. Calderon 7.4 14.7 22.0
Jack Schrade 8.0 14.0 22.0
William Campbell 8.0 14.0 22.0
Henry E  Carter 14.0 8.0 22.0
Tom McClintock 14.0 8.0 22.0
Roy J. Nielsen 18.0 4.0 22.0
Lloyd W.  Lowrey 22.0   22.0
Edward M.  Gaffney 22.0   22.0
Peter R. Chacon 22.0   22.0
George A.  Clarke 22.0   22.0
Frank P. Belotti 21.9   21.9
Richard Mountjoy 16.0 5.9 21.9
Clark L. Bradley 9.8 12.0 21.8
Edward E  Elliott 21.8   21.8
John F. McCarthy   21.2 21.2
Benjamin F. Langford   21.0 21.0
Harold J. Powers   20.8 20.8
William H. Lancaster 20.6   20.6
Jesse M. Mayo 6.0 14.2 20.2
John T. Knox 20.1   20.1
Barry Keene 6.0 14.0 20.0
Alan Short   20.0 20.0
Diane E. Watson   20.0 20.0
Thomas R. McCormack   20.0 20.0
W. P. Rich   20.0 20.0
Robert B. Presley   20.0 20.0
Henry J. Mello 4.0 16.0 20.0
Jesse R Dorsey 4.0 16.0 20.0
H. E Dillinger 8.0 12.0 20.0
Gary K. Hart 8.0 12.0 20.0
Art Torres 8.0 12.0 20.0
John R. Lewis 10.4 9.6 20.0
Tim Leslie 10.4 9.6 20.0
Steve  Peace 11.0 9.0 20.0
Jack O'Connell 12.0 8.0 20.0
Ray E. Johnson 12.0 8.0 20.0
Cathie Wright 12.0 8.0 20.0
Charles W.   Meyers 20.0   20.0
Louis J. Papan 20.0   20.0
Tom Bates 20.0   20.0
Eleanor  Miller 20.0   20.0
Richard H.  McCollister 20.0   20.0
Patrick Johnston 10.0 9.9 19.9
Carlos  Bee 19.9   19.9
John W. Holmdahl   19.9 19.9
J. M. Inman 2.0 17.7 19.7
Stephen P. Teale   19.6 19.6
Jim Nielsen 4.0 14.3 18.3

 

Congress

Legislator House Dates Years
Hiram Johnson  Senate 1917-1945  28.3
Alan Cranston  Senate 1969-1993  24
Barbara Boxer  Senate 1993-Present  22
Dianne Feinstein  Senate 1992-Present  22
George C. Perkins  Senate 1893-1915  21
Pete Stark  House 1973-2013  40
Henry Waxman  House 1975-2015  40
George Miller  House 1975-2015 40
George E. Brown Jr.  House 1963-1971, 1973-1999  34
Jerry Lewis  House 1979-2013  34
Chet Holifield  House 1942-1974  32
Don Edwards  House 1963-1993  32
David Dreier  House 1981-2013  32
Clarence F. Lea  House 1917-1949  31.8
Edward Roybal  House 1963-1993  30
Howard Berman  House 1983-2013  30
Bill Thomas  House 1978-2007  29
Harry R. Sheppard  House 1937-1965  28
Cecil R. King  House 1941-1969  28
John E. Moss  House 1951-1979  28
Bob Wilson  House 1953-1981  28
Gus Hawkins  House 1963-1991  28
Duncan Hunter  House 1981-2009  28
Nancy Pelosi  House 1987-Present  28
Ron Dellums  House 1971-1997  27
Robert Matsui  House 1971-2005  27
Tom Lantos  House 1981-2008  27
Elton Gallegly  House 1987-2013  26
Wally Herger  House 1987-2013  26
Dana Rohrabacher  House 1989-Present  26
Julius Kahn  House 1899-1903, 1905-1924  24
B. F. Sisk  House 1955-1979  24
Glenn M. Anderson  House 1969-1993  24
Carlos J. Moorhead  House 1973-1997  24
Maxine Waters  House 1991-Present  24
Charles Gubser  House 1953-1974  22
Craig Hosmer  House 1953-1974  22
John J. McFall  House 1957-1979  22
Harold T. Johnson  House 1959-1981  22
Norman Mineta  House 1975-1997  22
Lucille Roybal-Allard  House 1993-Present  22
Anna Eshoo  House 1993-Present  22
Ed Royce House 1993-Present  22
Xavier Becerra  House 1993-Present  22
Howard "Buck" McKeon House 1993-2015 22
Ken Calvert House 1993-Present  22
Sam Farr House 1993-Present  21
Charles M. Teague  House 1955-1975  20
James C. Corman  House 1961-1981  20
Anthony C. Beilenson  House 1977-1997  20
Lynn C. Woolsey  House 1993-2013  20
Bob Filner  House 1993-2013  20
Zoe Lofgren House 1995-Present  20

 

 

 

(1) Farr reached 20 years of service in Congress on June 17, 2013.
(2) Nielsen will reach 20 years of service in the State Senate on December 3, 2020 (in 2050 days).
(3) Has announced that they will not seek reelection in 2016.