United States Senate elections, 1988
The United States Senate election, of November 8, 1988 was an election for the United States Senate in which, in spite of the Republican victory by George H. W. Bush in the presidential election, the Democrats gained a net of one open seat in the Senate. The Democratic majority in the Senate increased from 54-45 to 55-45.
The Democrats captured four Republican seats, which included an open seat in Virginia and the seats of three incumbents, Chic Hecht of Nevada, Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. of Connecticut, and David K. Karnes of Nebraska. These gains were partially offset by the Republican capture of open seats by Trent Lott in Mississippi and Connie Mack III in Florida, and the defeat of incumbent John Melcher of Montana to Conrad Burns.
|Parties||Total Seats||Popular Vote|
|Conservative Party (New York)||0||0||-||189,226||0.28%|
|Source: Election Statistics - Office of the Clerk|
- Connecticut: Democratic Attorney General Joe Lieberman narrowly defeated Sen. Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. (R-CT) in his bid for a fourth term. A liberal in an increasingly conservative party, Weicker found himself at odds with his fellow Republicans. This rift would lead many conservatives (such as National Review editor William F. Buckley, Jr.) to endorse Lieberman.
- Nebraska: Sen. David Karnes (R-NE) lost by a large margin to former Governor Bob Kerrey (D). Karnes had been appointed to the Senate following the death of Sen. Edward Zorinsky (D-NE) and, though he survived a tough primary challenge from Rep. Hal Daub (R-NE), he proved no match for the popular Kerrey in the general election.
- Nevada: Sen. Chic Hecht (R-NV) was narrowly defeated by Governor Richard Bryan (D). Hecht had been considered vulnerable for his undistinguished record and a series of verbal gaffes.
- Virginia: Sen. Paul S. Trible, Jr. (R-VA) retired rather than run a contentious re-election race against former Governor Chuck Robb (D). Robb would instead face Republican Maurice Dawkins, a black minister, and defeat him in a landslide.
- Florida: Sen. Lawton Chiles (D-FL) retired rather than run for a fourth term. Congressman Connie Mack III (R-FL) overcame some concerns about his very conservative House record to defeat Rep. Buddy MacKay (D-FL).
- Mississippi: Senate President pro tempore John C. Stennis (D-MS) retired after 41 years in the Senate. House Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-MS) defeated Congressman Wayne Dowdy by a comfortable margin in the increasing Republican Mississippi.
- Montana: Sen. John Melcher (D-MT) was defeated by Republican Conrad Burns. A political novice, Burns would score an upset victory riding on the coattails of Bush's modest Montana victory.
- New Jersey: Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) won election to a second term over Republican Wall Street executive Pete Dawkins. Lautenberg's campaign, led by James Carville and Paul Begala, attacked the once favored Dawkins as a carpetbagger (he moved to New Jersey from New York to make his Senate run) and opportunist.
- Wisconsin: Former state Democratic Party Chairman Herb Kohl defeated Republican State Senator Susan Engeleiter for the seat of retiring Sen. William Proxmire (D-WI). Kohl capitalized on his popularity in the state as the heir to the department stores that bear his family's name and as owner of the Milwaukee Bucks NBA team.
- Washington: Former Sen. Slade Gorton (R-WA) defeated Rep. Mike Lowry (D-WA) for the seat of Sen. Daniel J. Evans (R-WA). Gorton won the tight race despite having been voted out of the state's other Senate seat two years earlier.
- Wyoming: Sen. Malcolm Wallop (R-WY) defeated Democratic State Senator John Vinich by less than one percentage point. Wallop became vulnerable due to attacks on his partisan voting record.
Complete list of races
A bolded state name' indicates an article about that state's election. A √ bolded candidate's name indicates the winner.
|Arizona||√ Dennis DeConcini||Democratic||Re-elected, 58.0%||Keith DeGreen (Republican) 42.0%
Rich Tompkins (Libertarian) 1.8%
|California||√ Pete Wilson||Republican||Re-elected, 52.7%||Leo T. McCarthy (Democratic) 44.0%
Maria Elizabeth Muñoz (Peace & Freedom) 1.7%
Jack Dean (Libertarian) 0.8%
Merton D. Short (American Ind.) 0.7%
|Connecticut||Lowell P. Weicker, Jr.||Republican||Lost re-election
Democratic gain, 49.0%
|√ Joe Lieberman (Democratic) 49.7%
Howard Grayson (Libertarian) 0.9%
Melissa Fisher (New Alliance) 0.3%
|Delaware||√ William V. Roth, Jr.||Republican||Re-elected, 62.1%||Shien Biau Woo (Democratic) 37.9%|
|√ Connie Mack III (Republican) 50.4%
Buddy MacKay (Democratic) 49.6%
|Hawaii||√ Spark Matsunaga||Democratic||Re-elected, 76.5%||Maria M. Hustace (Republican) 20.7%
Ken Schoolland (Libertarian) 2.8%
|Indiana||√ Richard Lugar||Republican||Re-elected, 67.7%||Jack Wickes (Democratic) 32.3%|
|Maine||√ George J. Mitchell||Democratic||Re-elected, 81.1%||Jasper S. Wyman (Republican) 18.9%|
|Maryland||√ Paul Sarbanes||Democratic||Re-elected, 61.8%||Alan Keyes (Republican) 38.2%|
|Massachusetts||√ Ted Kennedy||Democratic||Re-elected, 65.0%||Joseph D. Malone (Republican) 33.9%
Mary Fridley (New Alliance) 0.6%
Freda Lee Nason (Libertarian) 0.5%
|Michigan||√ Donald W. Riegle, Jr.||Democratic||Re-elected, 60.4%||James Whitney Dunn (Republican) 38.5%
Dick Jacobs (Libertarian) 0.8%
Sally Bier (Workers Against Concessions) 0.3%
|Minnesota||√ David Durenberger||Republican||Re-elected, 56.2%||Skip Humphrey (Democratic) 40.9%
Polly Mann (Progressive Issues) 2.1%
Derrick Grimmer (Grassroots) 0.4%
Arlen Overvig (Libertarian) 0.2%
Wendy Lyons (Socialist Workers) 0.1%
|Mississippi||John C. Stennis||Democratic||Retired
|√ Trent Lott (Republican) 54.1%
Wayne Dowdy (Democratic) 45.9%
|Missouri||√ John Danforth||Republican||Re-elected, 67.7%||Jay Nixon (Democratic) 31.7%
John Guze (Libertarian) 0.6%
|Montana||John Melcher||Democratic||Lost re-election
Republican gain, 48.1%
|√ Conrad Burns (Republican) 51.9%|
(Special: Class 1)
|David Karnes||Republican||Interim appointee lost election to finish term
Democratic gain, 41.7%
|√ Bob Kerrey (Democratic) 56.7%
Ernie Chambers (New Alliance) 1.6%
|Nevada||Chic Hecht||Republican||Lost re-election
Democratic gain, 47.1%
|√ Richard Bryan (Democratic) 51.3%
James Frye (Libertarian) 1.6%
|New Jersey||√ Frank Lautenberg||Democratic||Re-elected, 53.5%||Pete Dawkins (Republican) 45.2%
Joseph Job (Independent) 0.7%
Jerry Zeldin (Libertarian) 0.4%
Thomas Fiske (Socialist Workers) 0.2%
|New Mexico||√ Jeff Bingaman||Democratic||Re-elected, 63.2%||Bill Valentine (Republican) 36.8%|
|New York||√ Daniel Patrick Moynihan||Democratic||Re-elected, 67.3%||Robert R. McMillan (Republican) 31.6%|
|North Dakota||√ Quentin N. Burdick||Democratic||Re-elected, 59.5%||Earl Strinden (Republican) 39.1%
Kenneth C. Gardner (Libertarian) 1.5%
|Ohio||√ Howard Metzenbaum||Democratic||Re-elected, 56.9%||George Voinovich (Republican) 43.1%|
|Pennsylvania||√ H. John Heinz III||Republican||Re-elected, 66.4%||Joseph C. Vignola (Democratic) 32.4%
Darcy Richardson (Consumer) 0.6%
Henry Haller (Libertarian) 0.3%
Samuel Cross (Populist) 0.1%
Sam Blancato (New Alliance) 0.1%
|Rhode Island||√ John Chafee||Republican||Re-elected, 54.3%||Richard A. Licht (Democratic) 45.7%|
|Tennessee||√ Jim Sasser||Democratic||Re-elected, 65.1%||Bill Anderson (Republican) 34.5%
Khalil-Ullah Al-Muhaymin (Independent) 0.4%
|Texas||√ Lloyd Bentsen||Democratic||Re-elected, 59.2%||Beau Boulter (Republican) 40.0%
Jeff Daiell (Libertarian) 0.8%
|Utah||√ Orrin Hatch||Republican||Re-elected, 67.1%||Brian Moss (Democratic) 31.7%
Robert J. Smith (American) 0.9%
William M. Arth (Socialist Workers) 0.2%
|√ Jim Jeffords (Republican) 67.9%
William Gray (Democratic) 29.8%
Jerry Levy (Liberty Union) 1.1%
King Milne (Independent) 1.0%
|Virginia||Paul S. Trible, Jr.||Republican||Retired
|√ Chuck Robb (Democratic) 71.2%
Maurice A. Dawkins (Republican) 28.8%
|Washington||Daniel J. Evans||Republican||Retired
|√ Slade Gorton (Republican) 50.7%
Mike Lowry (Democratic) 49.3%
|West Virginia||√ Robert Byrd||Democratic||Re-elected, 63.2%||M. Jay Wolfe (Republican) 36.8%|
|√ Herb Kohl (Democratic) 52.2%
Susan Engeleiter (Republican) 47.8%
|Wyoming||√ Malcolm Wallop||Republican||Re-elected, 50.4%||John Vinich (Democratic) 49.6%|
Senate composition before and after elections
- United States presidential election, 1988
- United States House elections, 1988
- United States gubernatorial elections, 1988
- United States Senate elections, 1986
- United States Senate elections, 1990