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IPFW Political Scientist Weighs In on 2016 Presidential Race

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): A political scientist from IPFW says next year‘s presidential field is shaping up as one of the oldest in US history.

According to IPFW political scientist Mike Wolf, when Ronald Reagan ran for president at age 69, his age was a campaign issue. But Hillary Clinton is just nine months younger than Reagan was when he became the oldest first-term president, and would be the oldest Democratic nominee ever.

Vice President Biden or Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders would be the oldest nominee from either party. Wolf says with prominent C-E-O‘s remaining active and engaged into their 70s, age has faded as an issue. And he suggests Reagan’s success neutralized the issue for future candidates.

Since 1880, Democrats have nominated just one non-incumbent over 60, while George W. Bush is the only Republican nominee since Reagan who wasn‘t at least 64. But in 2016, the parties have swapped places on the aging curve, with four Republican hopefuls in their 40s, according to Wolf.

Wolf says the prevalence of senior citizens on the Democratic side reflects Bill and Hillary Clinton’s dominant role in the party for more than two decades. And he says the potential roster of up-and-coming Democratic hopefuls was gutted by Republican sweeps in the last two off-year elections.

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