2002 United States Senate election in Texas

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2002 United States Senate election in Texas

← 1996 November 5, 2002 2008 →
  John Cornyn official portrait.jpg Ron Kirk.jpg
Nominee John Cornyn Ron Kirk
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 2,496,243 1,955,758
Percentage 55.3% 43.3%

2002 United States Senate election in Texas results map by county.svg
County results
Cornyn:      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%      80–90%      90–100%
Kirk:      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%      80–90%

U.S. senator before election

Phil Gramm

Elected U.S. Senator

John Cornyn

The 2002 United States Senate election in Texas was held on November 5, 2002. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Phil Gramm decided to retire, instead of seeking a fourth term. State Attorney General Republican John Cornyn won the open seat. This was the first open-seat election since 1984.

Major candidates[edit]



General election[edit]


Despite the fact that Texas is a red state, Kirk ran on a socially progressive platform: supporting abortion rights and opposing Bush judicial nominee Priscilla Owen, although Kirk was a former George W. Bush supporter.[1] He also supported increases in defense spending, such as Bush's proposed $48 billion increase in military spending, except for the money Bush wanted to use for missile defense.[2] Kirk had the support of former Governor Ann Richards and former U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen.

Cornyn was criticized for taking campaign money from Enron and other controversial companies. And although other Democrats have seized on the issue, Kirk is well-entrenched in the Dallas business community, and his wife resigned from two private-sector jobs that created potential conflicts of interest for Kirk while he was mayor.

An October Dallas Morning News poll had Cornyn leading 47% to 37%.[3] A record $18 million was spent in the election.[4]



Source Ranking As of
Sabato's Crystal Ball[5] Lean R November 4, 2002


Poll source Date(s)
of error
Cornyn (R)
Kirk (D)
Other /
SurveyUSA October 29–31, 2002 683 (LV) ± 3.9% 53% 45% 2%


General election results[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican John Cornyn 2,496,243 55.3% +0.5%
Democratic Ron Kirk 1,955,758 43.3% -0.6%
Libertarian Scott Jameson 35,538 0.8% -0.1%
Green Roy Williams 25,051 0.6%
Write-in James W. Wright 1,422 0.0%
Majority 540,485 11.97%
Turnout 4,514,012

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Key:
    A – all adults
    RV – registered voters
    LV – likely voters
    V – unclear


  1. ^ "2002 VOTER'S GUIDE: / U.S. Senate / Cornyn vs. Kirk: More than U.S. Senate seat at stake here". Houston Chronicle. 27 October 2002. p. H.2. ProQuest 395977920.
  2. ^ http://infoweb.newsbank.com/iw-search/we/InfoWeb?p_product=NewsBank&p_theme=aggregated5&p_action=doc&p_docid=0F506C3B899A51C6&p_docnum=5&p_queryname=6
  3. ^ Cienski, Jan (31 October 2002). "Ethnicity, money are the recipe for 'Dream Team': Battle for Texas: Democrats court blacks, Hispanics in Republican state". National Post. Don Mills, Ont. p. A17. ProQuest 330127613.
  4. ^ "Center for Responsive Politics".
  5. ^ "Senate Races". www.centerforpolitics.org. November 4, 2002. Archived from the original on November 18, 2002. Retrieved June 25, 2021.