Daniel K. Akaka retired from the Senate Thursday after a career that started in 1990, but for at least one more day, his presence lived on in the Senate chamber.
During a routine Senate quorum call Friday afternoon, a clerk mistakenly led off the calling of the roll with “Mr. Akaka.”
The clerk’s misstep should be no surprise because the Hawaii Democrat’s name had been first in the alphabet during his lengthy career. The reading of his name became so ubiquitous that The New York Times highlighted the end of the tradition in a story about Akaka’s retirement.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., requested the quorum call to allow time for some senators to move around on the floor before the chamber finished business for the afternoon.
In the 113th Congress, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., has assumed the mantle of being first in the alphabet, an honor which he could have theoretically missed out on at the last minute had Hawaii’s Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed himself to the Senate. Absent that, Alexander’s name it will be until he retires — or perhaps until a Sen. Aaron comes along.