United States Senate elections, 2006

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United States Senate elections, 2006
United States
2004 ←
November 7, 2006
→ 2008

Class 1 (33 of the 100) seats in the U.S. Senate
51 seats needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party
  Harry Reid official portrait 2009.jpg Sen Mitch McConnell official.jpg
Leader Harry Reid Mitch McConnell
Party Democratic Republican
Leader's seat Nevada Kentucky
Last election 44 seats 55 seats
Seats before 44 55
Seats won 49 49
Seat change Increase 5 Decrease 6
Popular vote 32,344,708 25,437,934
Percentage 53.2% 41.8%
Swing Increase 2.4% Decrease 3.5%

  Third party
 
Party Independent
Last election 1
Seats before 1*
Seats after 2*
Seat change Increase 1
Popular vote 735,733

2006 Senate election map (results).svg

  Democratic gain
  Democratic hold
  Republican hold
  Independent gain
  Independent hold

* The independents caucused with the Democrats.


Majority Leader before election

Bill Frist
Republican

Elected Majority Leader

Harry Reid
Democratic

Elections for the United States Senate were held on November 7, 2006, with all 33 Class 1 Senate seats being contested. The term of office for those elected in 2006 ran from January 3, 2007 to January 3, 2013. Prior to the election, the Republican Party controlled 55 of the 100 Senate seats.

The Senate elections were part of the Democratic sweep of the 2006 elections, in which Democrats made numerous gains and no Congressional or gubernatorial seat held by a Democrat was won by a Republican.[1]

Six Republican incumbents were defeated by Democrats:

Incumbent Democrat Joe Lieberman (Connecticut) lost the Democratic primary, but won re-election as an independent. Democrats kept their two open seats in Minnesota and Maryland, and Republicans held onto their lone open seat in Tennessee. In Vermont, Bernie Sanders, an independent, was elected to the seat left open by independent Senator Jim Jeffords. In the 2006 election, two new female Senators (Claire McCaskill and Amy Klobuchar) were elected to seats previously held by men. This brought the total number of female senators to an all-time high of 16.

Following the elections, no party held a majority of seats for the first time since 1954. However, the party balance for the Senate stood at 51-49 in favor of the Democrats, because independents Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman caucused with the Democrats. The Democrats needed 51 seats to control the Senate because Vice President Dick Cheney would have broken any 50-50 tie in favor of the Republicans.

Results summary[edit]

Summary of the November 7, 2006 United States Senate election results [edit]

Parties Total
Republican Democratic Independent Libertarian Green Independence Constitution Others
Last election (2004) 55 44 1ID 100
Before this election 55 44 1ID 100
Not Up Total 40 27 67
Class 2 (2002→2008) 21 12 0 33
Class 3 (2004→2010) 19 15 0 34
Up Class 1 15 17 1ID 33
Incumbent
retired
Held by same party 1 2 1 4
Replaced by other party 0
Incumbent
ran
Won re-election 8 14 22
Lost re-election Decrease 6 Republicans replaced
by Increase 6 Democrats
IncreaseDecrease 6
Lost renomination, held by same party 0
Lost renomination, and party lost Decrease 1 Democrat re-elected
as an Increase IndependentID
IncreaseDecrease 1
Total held 9 16 1 26
Total not held / gained Decrease 6 Increase 5 Increase 1 IncreaseDecrease 6
Total elected 9 22 2ID 33
Popular
vote
Votes (turnout: 29.7 %) 25,437,934 32,344,708 378,142 612,732 295,935 231,899 26,934 1,115,432 60,839,144
Share 41.81% 53.16% 0.62% 1.01% 0.49% 0.38% 0.04% 1.83% 100%
Result 49 49 2ID 100
End of this Congress 55 44 1ID 100

ID The Independents joined with the Democrats in their caucus.

Sources:

Change in 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 I1 R55 R54 R53 R52 R51
Majority→
R41 R42 R43 R44 R45 R46 R47 R48 R49 R50
R40 R39 R38 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

Change in 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 I1 R55 R54 R53 R52 R51
Majority→
R41 R42 R43 R44 R45 R46 R47 R48 R49 R50
R40 R39 R38 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

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 O D43 O I2 @ I1 O D44 + D45 + D46 + D47 + D48 +
Majority→ D49 +
R41 R42 R43 R44 R45 R46 R47 R48 R49
R40 R39 R38 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
Note:
  • I2 @: Connecticut seat: Incumbent Democrat Joe Lieberman lost renomination.
    He won re-election as an independent who would caucus with the Democrats.
    This seat, therefore, was held by the incumbent, but the party changed.
Key:
D# Democratic
R# Republican
I# Independent, caucusing with Democrats
 
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
@ Party gain: Incumbent re-elected from different party

Race summary[edit]

State
(linked to summary articles, below)
Incumbent Result Candidates
(Winner in bold)
Senator Party Electoral
history
Arizona Jon Kyl Republican 1994
2000
Incumbent re-elected Jon Kyl (Republican) 53.3%
Jim Pederson (Democratic) 43.5%
Richard Mack (Libertarian) 3.2%
California Dianne Feinstein Democratic 1992 (special)
1994
2000
Incumbent re-elected Dianne Feinstein (Democratic) 59.4%
Dick Mountjoy (Republican) 35.2%
Don Grundmann (American Independent) 1.8%
Todd Chretien (Green) 1.7%
Michael Metti (Libertarian) 1.6%
Marsha Feinland (Peace and Freedom) 1.3%
Connecticut Joe Lieberman Democratic 1988
1994
2000
Incumbent lost renomination, but re-elected
Independent gain
Joe Lieberman (Connecticut for Lieberman) 49.7%
Ned Lamont (Democratic) 39.7%
Alan Schlesinger (Republican) 9.6%
Ralph Ferrucci (Green) 0.5%
Timothy Knibbs (Concerned Citizens) 0.4%
Delaware Tom Carper Democratic 2000 Incumbent re-elected Tom Carper (Democratic) 67.1%
Jan Ting (Republican) 27.4%
Christine O'Donnell (Write-in) 4.4%
William E. Morris (Libertarian) 1.1%
Florida Bill Nelson Democratic 2000 Incumbent re-elected Bill Nelson (Democratic) 60.3%
Katherine Harris (Republican) 38.1%
Belinda Noah (Independent) 0.5%
Brian Moore (Green) 0.4%
Floyd Ray Frazier (Independent) 0.3%
Roy Tanner (Independent) 0.3%
Hawaii Daniel Akaka Democratic 1990 (appointed)
1990 (special)
1994
2000
Incumbent re-elected Daniel Akaka (Democratic) 61.4%
Cynthia Thielen (Republican) 36.8%
Lloyd Mallan (Libertarian) 1.9%
Indiana Richard Lugar Republican 1976
1982
1988
1994
2000
Incumbent re-elected Richard Lugar (Republican) 87.3%
Steve Osborn (Libertarian) 12.6%
Maine Olympia Snowe Republican 1994
2000
Incumbent re-elected Olympia Snowe (Republican) 74.4%
Jean Hay Bright (Democratic) 20.5%
Bill Slavick (Independent) 5.2%
Maryland Paul Sarbanes Democratic 1976
1982
1988
1994
2000
Incumbent retired
Democratic hold
Ben Cardin (Democratic) 54.2%
Michael Steele (Republican) 44.2%
Kevin Zeese (Green) 1.5%
Massachusetts Ted Kennedy Democratic 1964
1970
1976
1982
1988
1994
2000
Incumbent re-elected Ted Kennedy (Democratic) 69.5%
Kenneth Chase (Republican) 30.5%
Michigan Debbie Stabenow Democratic 2000 Incumbent re-elected Debbie Stabenow (Democratic) 56.9%
Mike Bouchard (Republican) 41.3%
Leonard Schwartz (Libertarian) 0.7%
David Sole (Green) 0.6%
W. Dennis FitzSimons (Constitution) 0.5%
Minnesota Mark Dayton Democratic 2000 Incumbent retired
Democratic hold
Amy Klobuchar (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) 58.1%
Mark Kennedy (Republican) 37.9%
Robert Fitzgerald (Independence) 3.2%
Michael Cavlan (Green) 0.5%
Ben Powers (Constitution) 0.3%
Mississippi Trent Lott Republican 1988
1994
2000
Incumbent re-elected Trent Lott (Republican) 63.6%
Erik Fleming (Democratic) 34.8%
Harold Taylor (Libertarian) 1.5%
Missouri Jim Talent Republican 2002 (special) Incumbent lost re-election
Democratic gain
Claire McCaskill (Democratic) 49.6%
Jim Talent (Republican) 47.3%
Frank Gilmour (Libertarian) 1.2%
Lydia Lewis (Green) 0.9%
Montana Conrad Burns Republican 1988
1994
2000
Incumbent lost re-election
Democratic gain
Jon Tester (Democratic) 49.2%
Conrad Burns (Republican) 48.3%
Stan Jones (Libertarian) 2.6%
Nebraska Ben Nelson Democratic 2000 Incumbent re-elected Ben Nelson (Democratic) 63.9%
Pete Ricketts (Republican) 36.1%
Nevada John Ensign Republican 2000 Incumbent re-elected John Ensign (Republican) 55.4%
Jack Carter (Democratic) 41%
None of These Candidates 1.4%
David Schumann (Constitution) 1.3%
Brendan Trainor (Libertarian) 0.9%
New Jersey Bob Menendez Democratic 2006 (appointed) Appointee elected to full term Bob Menendez (Democratic) 53.4%
Thomas Kean Jr. (Republican) 44.3%
Len Flynn (Libertarian) 0.7%
Ed Forchion (Marijuana) 0.5%
J.M. Carter (Independent) 0.4%
N. Leonard Smith (Independent) 0.3%
Daryl Brooks (Independent) 0.2%
Angela Lariscy (Socialist Workers) 0.2%
Gregory Pason (Socialist) 0.1%
New Mexico Jeff Bingaman Democratic 1982
1988
1994
2000
Incumbent re-elected Jeff Bingaman (Democratic) 70.6%
Allen McCulloch (Republican) 29.3%
New York Hillary Clinton Democratic 2000 Incumbent re-elected Hillary Clinton (Democratic) 67.0%
John Spencer (Republican) 31.0%
Howie Hawkins (Green) 1.2%
Jeff Russell (Libertarian) 0.4%
Bill Van Auken (Socialist Equality) 0.2%
Roger Calero (Socialist Workers) 0.2%
North Dakota Kent Conrad Democratic 1986
1992 (special)
1994
2000
Incumbent re-elected Kent Conrad (Democratic) 68.8%
Dwight Grotberg (Republican) 29.5%
Roland Riemers (Independent) 1.0%
James Germalic (Independent) 0.6%
Ohio Mike DeWine Republican 1994
2000
Incumbent lost re-election
Democratic gain
Sherrod Brown (Democratic) 56.2%
Mike DeWine (Republican) 43.8%
Pennsylvania Rick Santorum Republican 1994
2000
Incumbent lost re-election
Democratic gain
Bob Casey, Jr. (Democratic) 58.7%
Rick Santorum (Republican) 41.3%
Rhode Island Lincoln Chafee Republican 1999 (Appointed)
2000
Incumbent lost re-election
Democratic gain
Sheldon Whitehouse (Democratic) 53.5%
Lincoln Chafee (Republican) 46.5%
Tennessee Bill Frist Republican 1994
2000
Incumbent retired
Republican hold
Bob Corker (Republican) 50.7%
Harold Ford, Jr. (Democratic) 48.0%
Ed Choate (Independent) 0.6%
David Gatchell (Independent) 0.2%
Emory "Bo" Heyward (Independent) 0.2%
H. Gary Keplinger (Independent) 0.2%
Chris Lugo (Green) 0.1%
Texas Kay Bailey Hutchison Republican 1993 (special)
1994
2000
Incumbent re-elected Kay Bailey Hutchison (Republican) 61.7%
Barbara Ann Radnofsky (Democratic) 36.0%
Scott Jameson (Libertarian) 2.3%
Utah Orrin Hatch Republican 1976
1982
1988
1994
2000
Incumbent re-elected Orrin Hatch (Republican) 62.6%
Pete Ashdown (Democratic) 30.8%
Scott Bradley (Constitution) 3.8%
Roger Price (Personal Choice)1.6%
Dave Seely (Libertarian) 0.8%
Julian Hatch (Green) 0.4%
Vermont Jim Jeffords Independent 1988
1994
2000
Incumbent retired
Independent hold
Bernie Sanders (Independent) 65.4%
Richard Tarrant (Republican) 32.3%
Cris Ericson (Independent) 0.6%
Craig Hill[disambiguation needed] (Green) 0.5%
Peter Moss (Independent) 0.5%
Peter Diamondstone (Liberty Union) 0.3%
Virginia George Allen Republican 2000 Incumbent lost re-election
Democratic gain
Jim Webb (Democratic) 49.6%
George Allen (Republican) 49.2%
Gail Parker (Independent Green) 1.1%
Washington Maria Cantwell Democratic 2000 Incumbent re-elected Maria Cantwell (Democratic) 56.85%
Mike McGavick (Republican) 39.93%
Bruce Guthrie (Libertarian) 1.41%
Aaron Dixon (Green) 1.02%
Robin Adair (Independent) 0.79%
West Virginia Robert Byrd Democratic 1958
1964
1970
1976
1982
1988
1994
2000
Incumbent re-elected Robert Byrd (Democratic) 64.4%
John Raese (Republican) 33.7%
Jesse Johnson (Mountain) 1.9%
Wisconsin Herb Kohl Democratic 1988
1994
2000
Incumbent re-elected Herb Kohl (Democratic) 67.31%
Robert Lorge (Republican) 29.48%
Rae Vogeler (Green) 1.98%
Ben Glatzel (Independent) 1.17%
Wyoming Craig L. Thomas Republican 1994
2000
Incumbent re-elected Craig L. Thomas (Republican) 69.99%
Dale Groutage (Democratic) 29.86%
State
(linked to summary articles, below)
Senator Party Electoral
history
Result Candidates
(Winner in bold)
Incumbent

Partial list of races[edit]

Senate composition following the 2006 elections
  2 Democrats
  2 Republicans
  1 Democrat and 1 Republican
1 Democrat and 1 Independent

Arizona[edit]

Wealthy real estate developer Jim Pederson declared his intention to challenge Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona on September 14, 2005. Pederson served as Arizona Democratic Party Chairman from 2001 to 2005 while spending millions of his own money to help Democrats modernize and to elect Janet Napolitano as governor. Kyl got an unexpected boost when TIME listed him as one of the Ten Best Senators. While polling in October showed Pederson catching up, Kyl was re-elected 53%-44%.

Connecticut[edit]

Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut was originally thought to be a shoo-in, but his reelection prospects were complicated by political cross-currents. Lieberman drew fire from the more anti-war elements within the Democratic party for his continual support for the foreign policy of President George W. Bush and for statements in which he has criticized other Democrats for "undermining the President" during a time of war. Greenwich telecom-networking businessman Ned Lamont declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination in March, and while the Democratic state convention in May overwhelmingly endorsed Lieberman, Lamont's 33.4% support was more than twice the 15% needed to force a primary.

Lamont defeated Lieberman for the Democratic nomination in the August 8 primary 52%-48%. Lieberman decided to remain in the race as a "petitioning candidate,"[2] having announced on July 3, 2006, that he would begin collecting the necessary signatures to run as an independent in case he lost the primary.[3] He also filed to create a new independent party, "Connecticut for Lieberman."

Challenging Lamont and Lieberman in the general election was Republican Alan Schlesinger, former mayor of Derby and a former state representative. Schlesinger had a history of winning crossover Democratic voters, but he had never run in a large constituency. Schlesinger was embarrassed when it was revealed that he was thrown out of a casino for counting cards under an assumed name.[4]

Lieberman went on to win the election with 50% of the vote to Lamont's 40%. Schlesinger trailed far behind with only 10%, in part due to Lieberman receiving support from only 33% of Democrats but a commanding 70% of Republicans. While Lieberman won as the CFL nominee, he decided to serve as an Independent Democrat in the current Congress and continue to caucus with Senate Democrats.

Maryland[edit]

Senator Paul Sarbanes announced on March 11, 2005, that he would retire rather than run for re-election in 2006. Sarbanes' seat had been considered safe, considering Maryland's Democratic voting tendencies and the overall pro-Democratic undercurrents of the 2006 elections. Representative Ben Cardin bested former Representative and NAACP President Kweisi Mfume and others in the Democratic primary. Lieutenant Governor Michael S. Steele, a Republican, announced his candidacy on October 25, 2005, and won the Republican nomination over token opposition. Democrats had a natural advantage in Maryland, with its large number of African-American voters and government workers, but Steele's personal popularity and potential appeal with fellow blacks kept the race somewhat competitive. On November 7, Cardin was victorious over Steele by a vote of 54%-44%.[5]

Minnesota[edit]

On February 9, 2005, Senator Mark Dayton announced that he would not seek a second term in the Senate. Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar was the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) nominee.

Republican Representative Mark Kennedy secured major GOP endorsements in early 2005 and defeated nominal opposition in the primary. Kennedy benefited from high-profile Republicans coming to do fundraisers for him, including Vice President Dick Cheney in July 2005 and President George W. Bush in December 2005. An October 30 Mason-Dixon poll had Klobuchar leading Kennedy 50% to 40%.[6] On November 7, 2006, Amy Klobuchar won the race with 58% of the vote to Mark Kennedy's 38%.[7]

Missouri[edit]

Senator Jim Talent of Missouri, who was narrowly elected in a 2002 special election for the remaining four years of one term, faced a strong Democratic challenge for his seat. Missouri did not hold an election for governor in 2006, making this the only major statewide race in a traditional battleground state. Talent faced state Auditor Claire McCaskill, a former Jackson County Prosecutor and the 2004 Democratic gubernatorial nominee.

McCaskill carried some political baggage from her 2004 loss; however, Talent was elected to the Senate after a nearly successful gubernatorial bid, the same position McCaskill was in for the 2006 election. McCaskill went out of her way to appeal to rural voters, who had largely favored her opponent in the gubernatorial race. She also benefited from talking up her support of embryonic stem cell research, which a slight majority of Missourians supported but which Talent opposed. A related constitutional amendment was also on the ballot and narrowly passed.

The race was among the most competitive in the nation. McCaskill and Talent exchanged small leads in various polls throughout the campaign. In the end, McCaskill defeated Talent 50%-47%.

Montana[edit]

Jon Tester (D) narrowly defeated incumbent Conrad Burns (R).

Senator Conrad Burns of Montana faced a strong challenge from Brian Schweitzer (who later became governor) in 2000, but was re-elected by a mere 3% in a state that went for Bush twice by margins of over 20%. This, combined with the increasing strength of the state Democratic Party and accusations of ethical issues related to the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling scandal, made this a highly competitive race. Burns faced Democratic primary winner and state Senate President Jon Tester, an organic farmer from Big Sandy.

Burns has long had a history of verbal missteps, and 2006 was no exception. On July 27, he was forced to apologize after he verbally attacked out-of-state firefighters who were preparing to leave Montana after helping contain a summer forest fire and directly questioned their competence and skill; Burns was strongly criticized.[8]

For much of the campaign, Tester led by substantial margins. Burns narrowed the gap by attacking Tester as a liberal extremist. November 2, Mason-Dixon polled Tester and Burns tied at 47% with 5% undecided.[9] On November 4, Rasmussen Reports had Tester leading 50% to 48%.[10]

Shortly before noon Mountain time November 8, Tester was declared the victor by a slim margin, 198,032 votes to 194,904.[11] The race was the closest Senate election of 2006 in terms of absolute vote difference; the closest race by percentage difference was the Virginia senate election.

New Jersey[edit]

Jon Corzine, elected to the Senate in 2000, was elected Governor of New Jersey in 2005. Corzine appointed Rep. Bob Menendez to serve the last year of the Senate term, and Menendez was sworn in to fill Corzine's vacancy on January 18, 2006.[12] Republican State Senator Thomas Kean, Jr. (the son of former Governor and 9/11 Commission Chairman Thomas Kean) announced on March 25, 2005, that he would run for the U.S. Senate. Both nominees had problems within their own parties; Menendez alienated many fellow Democrats with his aggressiveness and abrasiveness, while Kean was unpopular with party conservatives who considered him to be too liberal.

Menendez had an approval rating of 38%, which was thought to be a sign of vulnerability for the incumbent, especially since his disapproval was at 50%.[13] Although incumbents approval ratings below 50% are generally considered vulnerable, this standard perhaps did not apply to Menendez as he had just been appointed at the start of 2006 and was not well known statewide, a far different situation from most incumbents. President George W. Bush was highly unpopular in the state, but Governor Corzine's early performance in office met with widespread disapproval, contributing to the large number of undecided voters. The campaign became increasingly aggressive, with Menendez calling Kean a Bush lackey while Kean repeatedly attacked Menendez as corrupt.

An October 16 Zogby poll had Kean leading Menendez 47% to 45%.[14] An October 23 LA Times/Bloomberg poll had Menendez leading Kean 45% to 41%.[15] A Rasmussen Reports poll from October 25 had Kean leading Menendez 43% to 41%.[16] A November 2 poll by Zogby/Reuters showed a 49% to 37% Menendez lead.[17] Another November 2 poll by Rutgers showed Menendez up 46% to 42%[18] and a third by Public Mind showed a 48% to 38% Menendez edge.[19] A November 3 poll by [Rasmussen] showed a 48% to 43% Menendez lead.[20] A Monmouth University November 3 had Menendez leading Kean 45% to 42% with 10% undecided.[21]

On election night Menendez defeated Kean Jr. by a vote of 53% to 44%.[22]

Ohio[edit]

Senator Mike DeWine of Ohio had uninspiring approval ratings and the current Coingate scandal involving the Ohio Republican Party and the widespread unpopularity of Governor Bob Taft were thought to be hurting his re-election chances months before the election. He faced primary challenges from several more conservative Republicans, such as William G. Pierce, who were unhappy with his relatively centrist stances including his role as one of the Gang of 14 who intervened to stop a showdown over judicial nominations.

Lawyer and Iraq War veteran Paul Hackett, who narrowly lost to Jean Schmidt in the 2nd congressional district on August 2, 2005, said in October 2005 he would seek the Democratic nomination to challenge DeWine. Rep. Sherrod Brown announced his candidacy that same month. Hackett withdrew from the race on February 14, 2006. Both DeWine and Brown won their primaries easily. An October 12 Rasmussen Reports poll had Brown leading DeWine 46% to 41%.[23] An October 30 Reuters/Zogby poll had Brown leading DeWine 49% to 42%.[24] A Rasmussen poll released November 4 showed Brown pulling away from DeWine with a 53% to 41% lead.[25]

Brown comfortably won the election, garnering 56% of the vote to DeWine's 44%.[26]

Pennsylvania[edit]

Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, then the third-highest-ranking member of the Republican caucus, was the Democrats' top target in 2006. He was a very conservative member of the Senate in a state that last voted for a Republican presidential nominee in 1988.

In his last election in the year 2000, Santorum received 7,706 more votes than Al Gore, the Democratic candidate for President, who won Pennsylvania by 4.5 percent.[27] That year, Santorum ran against U.S. Rep. Ron Klink, a pro-life Democrat who wasn't supported by party contributors and was heavily outspent. Democrats thus saw Santorum's seat as extremely vulnerable and made it a priority for a pick-up in 2006. Popular pro-life State Treasurer Bob Casey, Jr. was the Democratic nominee and was fully supported by the party establishment.

Santorum did not benefit from his recent controversial book, It Takes a Family, in which he criticized public schools and questioned whether or not both parents in a family should work, alleging that women who work are making a selfish decision and only do so because they find it "empowering". These stances were seized on by the Casey campaign as proof that Santorum was too conservative for Pennsylvania voters. Santorum also suffered from controversy concerning both his residency and a charter school his children were enrolled in. He also voiced many social views that some thought extreme, including arguing that homosexual relationships were no more deserving of legal endorsement than bestiality.

Every public poll taken during the campaign showed Casey ahead. Most polling done after Labor Day showed Casey with a double-digit lead. On election night, Casey defeated Santorum 59%-41%. Polls conducted in the final closing days of the campaign showed Casey leading 52%-39% and 48%-40%, meaning that the Democrat had performed much better than what the polls showed. This was the largest margin of defeat for an incumbent Senator since George McGovern's loss to James Abdnor in 1980.

Rhode Island[edit]

Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, a liberal Republican, faced a primary challenge from conservative Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey. Former state Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse, who narrowly lost the gubernatorial nomination in 2002, faced token opposition in the Democratic primary.

The Republican primary was contentious. Laffey ran as a conservative, but he came under fire from other conservatives for supporting tax increases as Mayor and increasing spending. It was widely believed that the more liberal Chafee would have an easier time winning in the general election due to his appeal to independents.[citation needed] Laffey received support from the conservative Club for Growth. Although he was the most liberal Republican in the Senate and was repeatedly accused of being a RINO by members of his own party, the NRSC spent a large amount of money backing Chafee, and, in an unprecedented move, announced that they would abandon the race if Laffey won. Chafee prevailed in the September 12 primary 54%-46%, and Laffey endorsed him for re-election. Chafee, however, may have been damaged by the contentious primary that potentially alienated Republican voters.

Chafee faced a complicated situation due to his political beliefs. He was unpopular with conservative Republicans whose votes he would need in order to win the primary, yet represented a heavily Democratic constituency that overwhelmingly disapproved of George W. Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress. As a liberal Democrat running in a liberal, Democratic stronghold, Whitehouse did not face these problems. The Whitehouse campaign sought to characterize the election as a referendum on Bush and the Republican Congress; critics argued that Whitehouse was simply casting himself as a proxy vote for a Democratic majority in the Senate.

Polls showed a close race, with Whitehouse holding a narrow lead going into the election. In the end, however, voters seemed to place more emphasis on party control than their personal affection for Chafee. Whitehouse prevailed over Chafee on election night winning by a vote of 53%-47%.

Tennessee[edit]

Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, the current Majority Leader, had previously promised to leave the Senate when his second term ended in January 2007, and was widely considered to have presidential aspirations for 2008 (however, he announced in late November 2006, that he would not pursue a Presidential run).

Although Tennessee's electoral votes went to George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, a majority of the state offices were held by Democrats. Tennessee also has more registered Democratic voters than Republican voters and was at the time one of two states in the south to send more Democrats to the U.S. House of Representatives than Republicans, the other being Arkansas.

The Democratic nominee was Representative Harold Ford, Jr. and the Republican nominee was Bob Corker, both of whom won primaries on August 3. Corker, former mayor of Chattanooga and 1994 Senate candidate, was well funded and advertised heavily in the western portion of the state during his primary campaign, where he was relatively unknown before this race. Ford was the representative from Tennessee's 9th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. Like Corker, Ford showed exceptional fundraising prowess, and the race was an expensive one for both parties.

The candidates exchanged leads in the polls, and there were a number of negative charges. Ford attacked Corker's business dealings. Corker portrayed Ford as a hyper-political Washington insider with nothing in common with Tennessee residents. The campaign made headlines when the Republican National Committee ran an ad that, among other things, ridiculed Ford for attending a party thrown by the Playboy corporation. It featured a fictional blond Playboy Bunny squealing, "I met Harold at the Playboy Party!" and then winking and saying, "Harold, call me." Democrats called the ad an attempt to play on racial prejudice, and Corker distanced himself from the ad.

Corker won the election 51%-48%.

Vermont[edit]

Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont left the Republican Party to become an independent soon after being reelected as a Republican in the 2000 election. On April 20, 2005, he declared he would not seek another term. The national Democratic Party put independent Representative Bernie Sanders on their party's ballot in order to keep other Democrats from having a possible "spoiler" effect on the general election results. Sanders won both the Democratic line and an independent line on the ballot.

Richard Tarrant was the Republican nominee, after winning the primary election on September 12. Sanders, a popular political figure in Vermont, won with 65% of the vote.

Virginia[edit]

Early in the 2006 campaign, freshman incumbent Republican George Allen of Virginia held a double-digit lead in nearly all polls, and had positioned himself as a potential presidential candidate in 2008. That status was seriously jeopardized by a series of controversial events occurring during Allen's re-election campaign, culminating in his loss to his Democratic opponent, former Secretary of the Navy and decorated combat veteran Jim Webb. Retired Air Force officer Gail Parker ran as the Independent Green party candidate.

Among the most bitter Senate contests of the year, Allen's approval rating had dropped in statewide polls due in part to a series of embarrassing incidents during the campaign. In mid-August at a campaign stop in southwest Virginia, Allen called S. R. Sidarth, a Webb volunteer of Indian descent, "macaca" and welcomed him to America, although he was born in Virginia.[28] Controversy surrounding Allen continued into September following his reaction to questions about his Jewish heritage.[29] Additional reports surfaced in late September that Allen uttered the N-word on a frequent basis while a student at the University of Virginia, according to former college football teammates.[30] Allen fired back by pointing out remarks that Webb made during the 1980s that were demeaning to female veterans. He struck again when he released excerpts of graphic sexual scenes from some of the books Webb had penned, portraying the writing as misogynistic and pornography. Webb responded that these were based on events that he personally witnessed while in the military and while working as a journalist.

As controversy and allegations on both sides increased, the gap between the candidates tightened significantly. On October 30, Reuters/Zogby had Webb leading Allen 45% to 44%.[31] A November 2 Rasmussen Reports poll had Allen and Webb tied at 49%.[32] A November 3 Mason-Dixon poll had Webb leading 46% to 45% with 7% undecided.[33]

As polls closed on November 7, 2006, the margin of votes between Webb and Allen was approximately 7,000 votes, or less than 0.5% of all votes cast, a margin eligible to trigger a recount per Virginia election law.[34] On the evening of November 8, 2006, NBC and the Associated Press declared Webb the winner.[35] Following recanvassing, the Virginia Board of Elections declared Webb the winner by 9,162 votes, a margin of 0.38%.[36]

On the afternoon of November 9, 2006, Allen gave a speech conceding the election to Webb, stating "The people of Virginia have spoken and I respect their decision. The Bible teaches us there is a time and place for everything, and today I called and congratulated Jim Webb."[37] Web's win was the pivotal seat for Democrats to regain the majority in the Senate (51-49). [38]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Don Rose (December 26, 2006). "Democratic Sweep May Be". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  2. ^ Topic Galleries - Courant.com
  3. ^ Susan Haigh. Lieberman Weighs Campaign As Independent. My Way News. July 3, 2006. Last accessdate August 29, 2006.
  4. ^ Update From CT: Schlesinger Chased From Race?. The Hotline. July 12, 2006. Last accessdate August 29, 2006.
  5. ^ Joshua Partlow, Washington Post, "Cardin, O'Malley Win in Md. Races", November 8, 2006. Retrieved November 14, 2006.
  6. ^ Rachel E. Stassen-Berger, "Klobuchar still in command", the Pioneer Press, November 2, 2006. Accessed November 13, 2006.
  7. ^ Rachel E. Stassen-Berger, "Klobuchar off to a divided Senate", the Pioneer Press, November 8, 2006. Accessed November 13, 2006.
  8. ^ Courtney Lowery. Conrad Burns Issues Apology for Altercation with Firefighters. NewWest Missoula. July 28, 2006.
  9. ^ Charles S. Johnson, Billings Gazette, "Poll: Burns, Tester in dead heat", November 4, 2006. Retrieved November 13, 2006.
  10. ^ Rasmussen Reports, "Burns (R) Trailing Tester (D) By Two", November 5, 2006. Retrieved November 13, 2006.
  11. ^ Mary Clare Jalonick, Breitbart.com, "Playing Outsider, Tester Wins Mont. Seat", November 5, 2006. Retrieved November 13, 2006.
  12. ^ Menéndez Appointed to Senate. Hispanic Business. December 7, 2005. Last accessdate August 29, 2006.
  13. ^ Survey USA, October 16, 2006. Accessed November 13, 2006.
  14. ^ Zogby International, Toss-up! GOP, Dems Battle For Senate Control Down Stretch, October 19, 2006. Retrieved November 13, 2006.
  15. ^ Ronald Brownstein, "Democrats' Senate hopes lie with rural voters, poll finds" LA Times, October 25, 2006. Retrieved November 13, 2006.
  16. ^ Rasmussen Reports, "New Jersey Senate: Kean (R) and Menendez (D) Tied", October 28, 2006. Retrieved November 13, 2006.
  17. ^ John Whitesides, ABC News, "Results in key Senate races: Reuters poll", November 2, 2006. Retrieved November 13, 2006.
  18. ^ Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, "MENENDEZ HOLDS FOUR PERCENT EDGE IN SENATE RACE", November 2, 2006. Retrieved November 13, 2006.
  19. ^ Fairleigh Dickinson University, Public Mind Poll, November 2, 2006. Retrieved November 13, 2006.
  20. ^ Rasmussen Reports, "New Jersey Senate: Menendez Now Up by 5", November 3, 2006. Retrieved November 13, 2006.
  21. ^ Erik Larsen, Courier-News, "Kean trailing by only 3 points", November 6, 2006. Retrieved November 13, 2006.
  22. ^ Donna de la Cruz, USA Today, "Menendez beats Kean in heated New Jersey Senate race", November 8, 2006. Retrieved November 13, 2006.
  23. ^ Rasmussen Reports, "Ohio Senate: Brown Holds On to 5-Point Edge", October 16, 2006. Retrieved November 13, 2006.
  24. ^ John Whitesides, Reuters, "Results in key Senate races — Reuters poll", November 2, 2006. Retrieved November 13, 2006.
  25. ^ Rasmussen Reports, "Ohio Senate: Brown Runs Away with Lead" Retrieved November 13, 2006.
  26. ^ Ohio Secretary of State, "Unofficial Results: November 7, 2006", Retrieved November 13, 2006.
  27. ^ Voter Results In Pennsylvania. CNN. November 17, 2000. Last access date August 29, 2006.
  28. ^ Allen on Damage Control After Remarks to Webb Aide. Washington Post, August 16, 2006.
  29. ^ New Twist In Senate Race in Virginia The New York Times, September 20, 2006.
  30. ^ Teammates: Allen used "N-word" in college Salon.com, September 24, 2006.
  31. ^ John Whitesides, Reuters, "Results in key Senate races — Reuters poll", November 2, 2006. Retrieved November 14, 2006.
  32. ^ Rasmussen Reports, "Webb and Allen Dead Even", November 5, 2006. Retrieved November 14, 2006.
  33. ^ Jeff E. Schapiro, The Richmond Times-Dispatch, "New Times-Dispatch poll: Allen, Webb in dead heat", November 4, 2006. Retrieved November 14, 2006.
  34. ^ Commonwealth of Virginia State Board of Elections, "Virginia Recounts – The Basics", November 2006. Retrieved November 14, 2006.
  35. ^ "Democrats win control of Senate". MSNBC. November 9, 2006. Retrieved November 9, 2006. 
  36. ^ Commonwealth of Virginia, "Unofficial Results", November 7, 2006. Retrieved November 14, 2006.
  37. ^ "Allen concedes, giving Senate control to Dems". CNN. November 9, 2006. Archived from the original on November 10, 2006. Retrieved November 9, 2006. 
  38. ^ "Democrats win control of Senate". NBC. November 9, 2006.