United States Senate elections, 1976

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United States Senate elections, 1976
United States
1974 ←
November 2, 1976
→ 1978

33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate
51 seats needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party
  Robert Byrd Majority Portrait.jpg Howard baker jr.jpg
Leader Robert Byrd Howard Baker
Party Democratic Republican
Leader's seat West Virginia Tennessee
Last election 61 seats 37 seats
Seats before 61 37
Seats won 61 38
Seat change Steady Increase 1
Popular vote 31,790,526 24,562,431
Percentage 53.7% 41.5%
Swing Decrease 1.5% Increase 1.9%

  Third party Fourth party
 
Party Independent Conservative (N.Y.)
Last election 1 seat 1 seat
Seats before 1 1
Seats won 1 0
Seat change Steady Decrease 1

1976 Senate election map.svg

  Democratic gain
  Democratic hold
  Independent hold
  Republican gain
  Republican hold

Majority Leader before election

Mike Mansfield
Democratic

Elected Majority Leader

Robert Byrd
Democratic

The United States Senate election, 1976 was an election for the United States Senate that coincided with Democratic Jimmy Carter's election to the presidency and the United States Bicentennial celebration. Although almost half of the seats being decided in this election changed parties, Carter's narrow victory did not provide coattails for the Democrats, and the balance of the chamber remained the same. This was the first election in which the Libertarian Party competed, running candidates in 9 of the 33 contested seats.

Results summary[edit]

Parties Total Seats Popular Vote
1974 1976 +/- Vote  %
  Democratic Party 60 61 Increase 1 31,790,526 53.72%
  Republican Party 37 38 Increase 1 24,562,431 41.51%
  Independent 1 1 Steady 1,173,414 1.98%
American Party 0 0 Steady 204,556 0.35%
Socialist Worker's Party 0 0 Steady 125,528 0.21%
American Independent Party 0 0 Steady 110,921 0.19%
  Libertarian Party 0 0 Steady 78,588 0.13%
Others 1 0 Decrease 1 1,128,043 1.91%
Total 100 100 Steady 59,174,007 100.0%
Source: Election Statistics - Office of the Clerk

Change in Senate composition[edit]

Before the elections[edit]

D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 D7 D8 D9 D10
D20 D19 D18 D17 D16 D15 D14 D13 D12 D11
D21 D22 D23 D24 D25 D26 D27 D28 D29 D30
D40 D39 D38 D37 D36 D35 D34 D33 D32 D31
D41 D42 D43 D44 D45 D46 D47 D48 D49 D50
Majority → D51
D60 D59 D58 D57 D56 D55 D54 D53 D52
D61 I1 C1 R37 R36 R35 R34 R33 R32 R31
R21 R22 R23 R24 R25 R26 R27 R28 R29 R30
R20 R19 R18 R17 R16 R15 R14 R13 R12 R11
R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10

At the end of the last Congress (2 months later)[edit]

D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 D7 D8 D9 D10
D20 D19 D18 D17 D16 D15 D14 D13 D12 D11
D21 D22 D23 D24 D25 D26 D27 D28 D29 D30
D40 D39 D38 D37 D36 D35 D34 D33 D32 D31
D41 D42 D43 D44 D45 D46 D47 D48 D49 D50
Majority → D51
D60O D59 D58 D57 D56 D55 D54 D53 D52
D61+ I1 V1 C1 R36+ R35+ R34+ R33 R32 R31
R21 R22 R23 R24 R25 R26 R27 R28 R29 R30
R20 R19 R18 R17 R16 R15 R14 R13 R12 R11
R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10
  • D40O: Minnesota seat: The incumbent, who was not up for election, resigned to become U.S. Vice President. A successor was appointed to finish the term.
  • D60O: Michigan seat: The incumbent had retired and then died. His elected successor was appointed to finish the term.
  • D61+: Nebraska seat: The incumbent had retired and then resigned to give his elected successor preferential seniority through appointment to finish the term.
  • R34+: California seat: The incumbent had lost re-election and then resigned to give his elected successor preferential seniority through appointment to finish the term.
  • R35+: Missouri seat: The incumbent had retired and then resigned to give his elected successor preferential seniority through appointment to finish the term.
  • R36+: California seat: The incumbent had retired and then resigned to give his elected successor preferential seniority through appointment to finish the term.
  • V1+: Ohio seat: The incumbent had retired, then resigned to resume the practice of law, and the seat remained vacant to the end of the term.

As a result of the elections[edit]

D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 D7 D8 D9 D10
D20 D19 D18 D17 D16 D15 D14 D13 D12 D11
D21 D22 D23 D24 D25 D26 D27 D28 D29 D30
D40 D39 D38 D37 D36 D35 D34 D33 D32 D31
D41 D42 D43 D44 D45 D46 D47 D48 D49 D50
Majority → D51
D60+ D59+ D58+ D57+ D56+ D55+ D54O D53O D52
D61+ I1 R31O R32+ R33+ R34+ R35+ R36+ R37+ R38+
R21 R22 R23 R24 R25 R26 R27 R28 R29 R30
R20 R19 R18 R17 R16 R15 R14 R13 R12 R11
R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10
Key:
C# Conservative, caucusing with the Republicans
D# Democratic
I# Independent, caucusing with the Democrats
R# Republican
V# =Vacant
 
Incumbent re-elected or appointee elected to finish term
O Party hold: New senator elected from same party
+ Party gain: New senator elected from different party

Retirements[edit]

The leaders of both parties retired. Democrats had a net gain of one seat from retirements.

Democratic holds[edit]

  1. Michigan: Philip Hart (D) was replaced by Donald W. Riegle, Jr. (D).
    • Hart then died December 27, 1976 and Riegle was appointed to finish the term.
  2. Montana: Majority leader Mike Mansfield (D) was replaced by John Melcher (D).

Democratic gains[edit]

  1. Arizona: Paul Fannin (R) was replaced by Dennis DeConcini (D).
  2. Hawaii: Hiram Fong (R) was replaced by Spark Matsunaga (D).
  3. Nebraska: Roman Hruska (R) was replaced by Edward Zorinsky (D).
    • Hruska then resigned December 27, 1976 and Zorinsky was appointed in his place.

Republican hold[edit]

  1. Pennsylvania: Hugh Scott (R) was replaced by John Heinz (R).

Republican gains[edit]

  1. Missouri: Stuart Symington (D) was replaced by John Danforth (R).
    • Symington then resigned December 27, 1976 and Danforth was appointed to finish the term.
  2. Rhode Island: John O. Pastore (D) was replaced by John Chafee (R).
    • Pastore then resigned December 28, 1976 and Chafee was appointed to finish the term.

Incumbents who lost[edit]

Republicans had a net gain of one seat from re-election gains.

Democratic gains[edit]

  1. Maryland: John Glenn Beall, Jr. (R) lost re-election to Paul Sarbanes (D).
  2. New York: James L. Buckley (C) lost re-election as a Republican to Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D).
  3. Ohio: Robert Taft, Jr. (R) lost re-election to former Senator Howard Metzenbaum (D).
    • Taft then resigned December 28, 1976. The seat remained vacant for the rest of the term.
  4. Tennessee: Bill Brock (R) lost re-election to Jim Sasser (D).

Republican gains[edit]

  1. California: John V. Tunney (D) lost re-election to S. I. Hayakawa (R).
    • Tunney then resigned January 1, 1977 and Hayakawa was appointed to finish the term.
  2. Indiana: Vance Hartke (D) lost re-election to Richard Lugar (R).
  3. New Mexico: Joseph Montoya (D) lost re-election to Harrison Schmitt (R).
  4. Utah: Frank Moss (D) lost re-election to Orrin Hatch (R).
  5. Wyoming: Gale W. McGee (D) lost re-election to Malcolm Wallop (R).

Complete list of races[edit]

A bolded state name links to an article about that state's election.

State Incumbent Party Result Candidates
Arizona Paul Fannin Republican Retired
Democratic gain
Dennis DeConcini (Democratic) 54.0%
Sam Steiger (Republican) 43.3%
Allan Norwitz (Libertarian) 1.0%
California John V. Tunney Democratic Lost re-election
Republican gain
S. I. Hayakawa (Republican) 50.2%
John V. Tunney (Democratic) 46.9%
Connecticut Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. Republican Re-elected Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. (Republican) 57.7%
Gloria Schaffer (Democratic) 41.2%
Delaware William V. Roth, Jr. Republican Re-elected William V. Roth, Jr. (Republican) 55.8%
Thomas C. Maloney (Democratic) 43.6%
Florida Lawton Chiles Democratic Re-elected Lawton Chiles (Democratic) 63.0%
John Grady (Republican) 37.0%
Hawaii Hiram Fong Republican Retired
Democratic gain
Spark Matsunaga (Democratic) 53.7%
William F. Quinn (Republican) 40.6%
Indiana Vance Hartke Democratic Lost re-election
Republican gain
Richard Lugar (Republican) 58.8%
Vance Hartke (Democratic) 40.5%
Maine Edmund Muskie Democratic Re-elected Edmund Muskie (Democratic) 60.2%
Robert A. G. Monks (Republican) 39.8%
Maryland John Glenn Beall, Jr. Republican Lost re-election
Democratic gain
John Glenn Beall, Jr. (Republican) 38.8%
Paul Sarbanes (Democratic) 56.5%
Massachusetts Ted Kennedy Democratic Re-elected Ted Kennedy (Democratic) 69.3%
Michael S. Robertson (Republican) 29.0%
Carol Henderson Evans (Socialist Workers) 1.1%
H. Graham Lowry (U.S. Labor) 0.6%
Michigan Philip Hart Democratic Retired
Democratic hold
Donald W. Riegle, Jr. (Democratic) 52.5%
Marvin L. Esch (Republican) 46.8%
Minnesota Hubert Humphrey Democratic Re-elected Hubert Humphrey (Democratic) 67.5%
Gerald W. Brekke (Republican) 25.0%
Paul Helm (Independent) 6.6%
Mississippi John C. Stennis Democratic Re-elected John C. Stennis (Democratic) Unopposed
Missouri Stuart Symington Democratic Retired
Republican gain
John Danforth (Republican) 56.9%
Warren E. Hearnes (Democratic) 42.5%
Lawrence Petty (Independent) 0.6%
Montana Mike Mansfield Democratic Retired
Democratic hold
John Melcher (Democratic) 64.2%
Stanley C. Burger (Republican) 35.8%
Nebraska Roman Hruska Republican Retired
Democratic gain
Edward Zorinsky (Democratic) 52.4%
John Y. McCollister (Republican) 47.5%
Nevada Howard Cannon Democratic Re-elected Howard Cannon (Democratic) 63.0%
David Towell (Republican) 31.4%
New Jersey Harrison A. Williams Democratic Re-elected Harrison A. Williams (Democratic) 60.7%
David A. Norcross (Republican) 38.0%
New Mexico Joseph Montoya Democratic Lost re-election
Republican gain
Harrison Schmitt (Republican) 56.8%
Joseph Montoya (Democratic) 42.7%
New York James L. Buckley Conservative Lost re-election as a Republican
Democratic gain
Daniel Patrick Moynihan (Democratic) 54.2%
James L. Buckley (Republican) 44.9%
North Dakota Quentin N. Burdick Democratic Re-elected Quentin N. Burdick (Democratic) 62.1%
Robert Stroup (Republican) 36.6%
Ohio Robert Taft, Jr. Republican Lost re-election
Democratic gain
Howard Metzenbaum (Democratic) 49.5%
Robert Taft, Jr. (Republican) 46.5%
Pennsylvania Hugh Scott Republican Retired
Republican hold
H. John Heinz III (Republican) 52.4%
William J. Green, III (Democratic) 46.8%
Rhode Island John O. Pastore Democratic Retired
Republican gain
John Chafee (Republican) 57.7%
Richard P. Lorber (Democratic) 42.0%
Tennessee Bill Brock Republican Lost re-election
Democratic gain
Jim Sasser (Democratic) 52.5%
Bill Brock (Republican) 47.0%
Texas Lloyd Bentsen Democratic Re-elected Lloyd Bentsen (Democratic) 56.8%
Alan Steelman (Republican) 42.2%
Utah Frank Moss Democratic Lost re-election
Republican gain
Orrin Hatch (Republican) 53.7%
Frank Moss (Democratic) 44.8%
Vermont Robert Stafford Republican Re-elected Robert Stafford (Republican) 50.0%
Thomas P. Salmon (Democratic) 45.3%
Virginia Harry F. Byrd, Jr. Independent Re-elected Harry F. Byrd, Jr. (Independent) 57.2%
Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. (Democratic) 38.3%
Washington Henry M. Jackson Democratic Re-elected Henry M. Jackson (Democratic) 71.8%
George M. Brown (Republican) 24.2%
West Virginia Robert Byrd Democratic Re-elected Robert Byrd (Democratic) 99.9%
Wisconsin William Proxmire Democratic Re-elected William Proxmire (Democratic) 72.2%
Stanley York (Republican) 27.0%
Wyoming Gale W. McGee Democratic Lost re-election
Republican gain
Malcolm Wallop (Republican) 54.7%
Gale W. McGee (Democratic) 45.4%

See also[edit]