Sen. Murray on track to link up with history

By Tim Raetzloff | Nov 11, 2010

When Patty Murray was elected to a fourth term as U.S. Senator last week, it was an event of historic proportions in Washington.

On the first day of her next term, Sen. Murray becomes the fourth longest-serving U.S. Senator in Washington history. If Sen. Murray completes her term in office, she will become the third longest-serving U.S. Senator in Washington history.

Everyone who has lived in Washington for more than 40 years knows that Warren Magnuson (he served six terms) and Henry (Scoop) Jackson (he was in his sixth term when he died) are the longest serving senators in state history. But between Sen. Murray and the two icons is Wesley Livsey Jones. He may be long forgotten, but he may have been the most powerful U.S. senator in Washington history.

Jones was first elected to the Senate in 1909 and he served until 1932. He was elected the first time before the adoption of the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

A few states, led by Oregon, had begun direct election before the amendment was ratified, but I don’t know whether Washington was one of those states. I assume that Jones was elected by the Legislature in 1909 and was re-elected by the electorate in 1914, 1920 and 1926.

A Republican, Jones was bounced from office in the Franklin Delano Roosevelt sweep of 1932, and he died two weeks later on Nov. 19.

Wesley Jones held powerful positions among the Republican leadership in the Senate, including majority whip. His name is still mentioned often, though few realize its significance. It comes up almost every year as foreign shipping companies attempt to overturn his most famous piece of legislation, the Jones Act – which regulates shipping between U.S. ports.

Of course most people have no idea that the Jones Act was crafted by and named for a senator from Washington.

Sen. Murray enters history with this election, but it is also an appropriate time to look back at the man she will likely replace as the third longest-serving senator in Washington history.

Murray, Magnuson and Jones all served in the same Senate seat for a total of 77 years out of the last 101 years.

Only Elijah Grammer, Homer Bone, Slade Gorton and Brock Adams have served in that capacity in the last 100 years. Only Bone served more than one term; Grammer served less than a year, and Gorton and Adams served one term each.

Another area firm skyrockets

Bellevue-based Motricity is the newest billion-dollar company in Washington, as measured by market capitalization.

Market capitalization is calculated by multiplying the value of one share by the number of shares outstanding. Shares in the mobile data service company are trading at $31.59 as I write this.

Motricity had 10,270,280 shares outstanding as of Nov. 1, according to the most recent SEC 10-Q filing. That gives Motricity a market value of $1.272 billion.

Motricity topped $1 billion in market capitalization for the first time on Nov. 4.

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(Tim Raetzloff, who operates Abarim Business Computers at Five Corners in Edmonds, evaluates Puget Sound business activity and other topics in his regular column in the Beacon.)

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