United States Senate elections, 1978

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United States Senate elections, 1978

← 1976 November 7, 1978 1980 →

33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate
(plus 2 special elections)
51 seats needed for a majority

  Majority party Minority party
  Robert C. Byrd – 1977.jpg Howard baker jr.jpg
Leader Robert Byrd Howard Baker
Party Democratic Republican
Leader since January 3, 1977 January 3, 1977
Leader's seat West Virginia Tennessee
Seats before 61 38
Seats after 59 40
Seat change Decrease 2 Increase 2
Popular vote 14,362,402 13,520,147
Percentage 50.6% 47.6%
Swing Decrease 3.1% Increase 6.1%
Seats up 16 17
Races won 14 19

  Third party
 
Party Independent
Seats before 1
Seats after 1[1]
Seat change Steady
Seats up 1
Races won 1

1978 Senate election map.svg
Results, with special elections
     Democratic gain      Democratic hold
     Republican gain      Republican hold

Majority Leader before election

Robert Byrd
Democratic

Elected Majority Leader

Robert Byrd
Democratic

The United States Senate elections, 1978 in the middle of Democratic President Jimmy Carter's term. Thirteen seats changed hands between parties. The Democrats at first lost a net of two seats to the Republicans, and then one more in a special election. Democrats nevertheless retained a 58-41 majority.

Results summary[edit]

Parties Total Seats Popular Vote
1976 1978 +/- Vote %
Democratic Party 61 58 Decrease 3 14,362,402 50.60%
Republican Party 38 41 Increase 3 13,520,147 47.63%
Independent 1 1 Steady 299,624 1.06%
American Party 0 0 Steady 35,168 0.12%
Prohibition Party 0 0 Steady 34,951 0.12%
Socialist Worker's Party 0 0 Steady 29,796 0.10%
Libertarian Party 0 0 Steady 25,071 0.09%
Others 0 0 Steady 79,479 0.28%
Total 100 100 Steady 28,386,638 100.0%

Source: "Election Statistics - Office of the Clerk". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives – via clerk.house.gov. 

Gains and losses[edit]

Republican gains[edit]

Republicans took three open seats, including one special election in Minnesota, as well as regular elections in Mississippi and South Dakota. They also defeated five Democratic incumbents: Floyd Haskell (Colorado), Dick Clark (Iowa), William Hathaway (Maine), Wendell Anderson (Minnesota), and Thomas McIntyre (New Hampshire). The two Republican victories in Minnesota saw the state's Senate delegation change from two Democrats to two Republicans in the same election.

Democratic gains[edit]

The Republican gains were offset by Democratic defeats of Edward Brooke (Massachusetts) and Robert Griffin (Michigan), and captures of Republican open seats in Nebraska, New Jersey, and Oklahoma.

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
Ran
D47
Ran
D48
Ran
D49
Ran
D50
Ran
Majority → D51
Ran
D60
Retired
D59
Retired
D58
Retired
D57
Ran
D56
Ran
D55
Ran
D54
Ran
D53
Ran
D52
Ran
D61
Retired
I1 R38
Retired
R37
Retired
R36
Retired
R35
Ran
R34
Ran
R33
Ran
R32
Ran
R31
Ran
R21 R22
Ran
R23
Ran
R24
Ran
R25
Ran
R26
Ran
R27
Ran
R28
Ran
R29
Ran
R30
Ran
R20 R19 R18 R17 R16 R15 R14 R13 R12 R11
R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10

After the general 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
Ran
D47
Ran
D48
Ran
D49
Ran
D50
Ran
Majority → D51
Ran
I1 D59
Gain
D58
Gain
D57
Gain
D56
Gain
D55
Gain
D54
Hold
D53
Hold
D52
Hold
R40
Gain
R39
Gain
R38
Gain
R37
Gain
R36
Gain
R35
Gain
R34
Gain
R33
Hold
R32
Hold
R31
Hold
R21 R22
Ran
R23
Ran
R24
Ran
R25
Ran
R26
Ran
R27
Ran
R28
Ran
R29
Ran
R30
Ran
R20 R19 R18 R17 R16 R15 R14 R13 R12 R11
R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10

After the special 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
R41
Gain
I1 D58
Hold
D57 D56 D55 D54 D53 D52
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
Key:
D# Democratic
R# Republican
I# Independent

Race summary[edit]

Special elections during the 95th Congress[edit]

In these special elections, the winner was seated during 1978 or before January 3, 1979; ordered by election date, then state.

State
(linked to
summaries below)
Incumbent Results Candidates
Senator Party Electoral history
Alabama
(Class 3)
Maryon Pittman Allen Democratic 1978 (Appointed) Interim appointee lost nomination to finish term.
New senator elected November 7, 1978.
Democratic hold.
Donald W. Stewart (Democratic) 55.1%
James D. Martin (Republican) 43.3%
Michael R. A. Erdey (Libertarian) 0.8%
A. J. Killingsworth (Prohibition) 0.8%
Minnesota
(Class 1)
Muriel Humphrey Democratic 1978 (Appointed) Appointee retired.
New senator elected November 7, 1978.
Republican gain
David Durenberger (Republican) 61.4%
Bob Short (Democratic) 34.6%
Paul Helm (American) 2.9%
Christine Frank (Socialist) 0.7%
Frederick Hewitt (Libertarian) 0.3%

Elections leading to the next Congress[edit]

In these general elections, the winners were elected for the term beginning January 3, 1979; ordered by state.

All of the elections involved the Class 2 seats.

State
(linked to
summaries below)
Incumbent Results Candidates
Senator Party Electoral history
Alabama John Sparkman Democratic 1946 (Special)
1948
1954
1960
1966
1972
Incumbent retired.
New senator elected.
Democratic hold
Howell Heflin (Democratic) 94.0%
Jerome B. Couch (Prohibition) 6.0%
Alaska Ted Stevens Republican 1968 (Appointed)
1970
1972
Incumbent re-elected. Ted Stevens (Republican) 75.6%
Donald W. Hobbs (Democratic) 24.1%
Arkansas Kaneaster Hodges, Jr. Democratic 1977 (Appointed) Interim appointee retired.
New senator elected.
Democratic hold
David Pryor (Democratic) 76.5%
Tom Kelly (Republican) 16.3%
John J. Black (Independent) 7.2%
Colorado Floyd K. Haskell Democratic 1972 Incumbent lost re-election.
New senator elected.
Republican gain
William L. Armstrong (Republican) 58.7%
Floyd K. Haskell (Democratic) 40.3%
Vedder V. Dorn (United States Party) 0.7%
John Shue (National Statesman) 0.3%
Delaware Joe Biden Democratic 1972 Incumbent re-elected. Joe Biden (Democratic) 58.0%
James H. Baxter (Republican) 41.0%
Donald G. Gies (American) 1.0%
Georgia Sam Nunn Democratic 1972 (Special)
1972
Incumbent re-elected. Sam Nunn (Democratic) 83.1%
John W. Stokes (Republican) 16.9%
Idaho James A. McClure Republican 1972 Incumbent re-elected. James A. McClure (Republican) 68.4%
Dwight Jensen (Democratic) 31.6%
Illinois Charles H. Percy Republican 1966
1972
Incumbent re-elected. Charles H. Percy (Republican) 53.3%
Alex Seith (Democratic) 45.5%
William R. Roy (Libertarian) 0.5%
Patricia Grogan (Socialist Workers) 0.5%
Gerald Rose (Socialist Labor) 0.2%
Iowa Dick Clark Democratic 1972 Incumbent lost re-election.
New senator elected.
Republican gain
Roger Jepsen (Republican) 51.1%
Dick Clark (Democratic) 47.9%
Gerald Leo Baker (Independent) 0.5%
Ben L. Olson (Libertarian) 0.4%
Kansas James B. Pearson Republican 1962 (Appointed)
1962 (Special)
1966
Incumbent retired.
New senator elected.
Republican hold.
Incumbent resigned December 23, 1978 to give successor preferential seniority.
Winner appointed December 23, 1978 to finish the term.
Nancy Kassebaum (Republican) 53.9%
William R. Roy (Democratic) 42.4%
James R. Maher (Conservative) 3.0%
Russell Mikels (Prohibition) 0.7%
Kentucky Walter Huddleston Democratic 1972 Incumbent re-elected. Walter Huddleston (Democratic) 61.0%
Louis Guenthner (Republican) 36.9%
Anthony A. McCord (American) 2.1%
Louisiana J. Bennett Johnston Democratic 1972 (Appointed)
1972
Incumbent re-elected. J. Bennett Johnston (Democratic) 59.4%
Woody Jenkins (Democratic) 40.6%
Maine William Hathaway Democratic 1972 Incumbent lost re-election.
New senator elected.
Republican gain
William Cohen (Republican) 56.6%
William Hathaway (Democratic) 33.9%
Hayes E. Gahagan (Independent) 7.4%
John J. Jannace (Independent) 1.5%
Plato Truman (Independent) 0.6%
Massachusetts Edward Brooke Republican 1966
1972
Incumbent lost re-election.
New senator elected.
Democratic gain
Paul Tsongas (Democratic) 55.1%
Edward Brooke (Republican) 44.9%
Michigan Robert P. Griffin Republican 1966 (Appointed)
1966
1972
Incumbent lost re-election.
New senator elected.
Democratic gain
Carl Levin (Democratic) 52.1%
Robert P. Griffin (Republican) 47.9%
Minnesota Wendell Anderson Democratic 1976 (Appointed) Interim appointee lost election.
New senator elected..
Republican gain.
Incumbent resigned December 29, 1978 to give successor preferential seniority.
Winner appointed December 30, 1978 to finish the term.
Rudy Boschwitz (Republican) 56.6%
Wendell Anderson (Democratic) 40.4%
Sal Carlone (American) 1.5%
William Peterson (Socialist Workers) 0.6%
Brian Coyle (Public Interest Independent) 0.5%
Jean T. Brust (Workers) 0.2%
Leonard Richards (Libertarian) 0.2%
Mississippi James O. Eastland Democratic 1942
1948
1954
1960
1972
Incumbent retired.
New senator elected.
Republican gain.
Incumbent resigned December 27, 1978 to give successor preferential seniority.
Winner appointed December 27, 1978 to finish the term.
Thad Cochran (Republican) 45.3%
Maurice Dantin (Democratic) 31.8%
Charles Evers (Independent) 22.6%
Henry Kirksey (Independent) 0.3%
Montana Paul G. Hatfield Democratic 1978 (Appointed) Interim appointee lost nomination.
New senator elected.
Democratic hold.
Incumbent resigned December 12, 1978 to give successor preferential seniority.
Winner appointed December 15, 1978 to finish the term.
Max Baucus (Democratic) 55.7%
Larry Williams (Republican) 44.3%
Nebraska Carl Curtis Republican 1954
1960
1966
1972
Incumbent retired.
New senator elected.
Democratic gain
J. James Exon (Democratic) 67.6%
Donald Shasteen (Republican) 32.3%
New Hampshire Thomas J. McIntyre Democratic 1962 (Special)
1966
1972
Incumbent lost re-election.
New senator elected.
Republican gain
Gordon J. Humphrey (Republican) 50.7%
Thomas J. McIntyre (Democratic) 48.5%
Craig Franklin (Libertarian) 0.8%
New Jersey Clifford P. Case Republican 1954
1960
1966
1972
Incumbent lost renomination.
New senator elected.
Democratic gain
Bill Bradley (Democratic) 55.3%
Jeffrey Bell (Republican) 43.1%
Herbert Harry Shaw (Independent) 0.2%
Bill Gahres (Independent) 0.2%
Jack Moyers (Independent) 0.2%
Robert Bowen (Labor) 0.2%
J.M. Carter, Jr. (Independent) 0.2%
Jasper C. Gould (Independent) 0.2%
William R. Thorn (Independent) 0.1%
Paul Ferguson (Independent) 0.1%
Alice Conner (Independent) 0.1%
New Mexico Pete Domenici Republican 1972 Incumbent re-elected. Pete Domenici (Republican) 53.4%
Toney Anaya (Democratic) 46.6%
North Carolina Jesse Helms Republican 1972 Incumbent re-elected. Jesse Helms (Republican) 54.5%
John Ingram (Democratic) 45.5%
Oklahoma Dewey F. Bartlett Republican 1972 Incumbent retired.
New senator elected.
Democratic gain
David L. Boren (Democratic) 65.5%
Robert B. Kamm (Republican) 32.9%
Glenn E. Hager (Independent) 0.5%
Riley Donica (Independent) 0.4%
Paul Edward Trent (Independent) 0.4%
Richard King Carter (Independent) 0.3%
Oregon Mark Hatfield Republican 1966
1972
Incumbent re-elected. Mark Hatfield (Republican) 61.6%
Vernon Cook (Democratic) 38.3%
Rhode Island Claiborne Pell Democratic 1960
1966
1972
Incumbent re-elected. Claiborne Pell (Democratic) 75.1%
James G. Reynolds (Republican) 24.9%
South Carolina Strom Thurmond Republican 1954
1954 (Appointed)
1956 (Resigned)
1956 (Special)
1960
1966
1972
Incumbent re-elected. Strom Thurmond (Republican) 55.6%
Charles D. Ravenel (Democratic) 44.4%
South Dakota James Abourezk Democratic 1972 Incumbent retired.
New senator elected.
Republican gain
Larry Pressler (Republican) 66.8%
Don Barnett (Democratic) 33.2%
Tennessee Howard Baker Republican 1966
1972
Incumbent re-elected. Howard Baker (Republican) 55.5%
Jane Eskind (Democratic) 40.3%
Thomas Anderson (Independent) 4.0%
Fern Lucius Keasler (Independent) 0.2%
Texas John Tower Republican 1961 (Special)
1966
1972
Incumbent re-elected. John Tower (Republican) 49.8%
Bob Krueger (Democratic) 49.3%
Luis A. Diaz de Leon (La Raza Unida) 0.8%
Miguel Pendas (Socialist Workers) 0.2%
Virginia William L. Scott Republican 1972 Incumbent retired.
New senator elected.
Republican hold.
Incumbent resigned January 1, 1979 to give successor preferential seniority.
Winner appointed January 2, 1979 to finish the term.
John Warner (Republican) 50.2%
Andrew P. Miller (Democratic) 49.8%
West Virginia Jennings Randolph Democratic 1958 (Special)
1960
1966
1972
Incumbent re-elected. Jennings Randolph (Democratic) 50.5%
Arch A. Moore, Jr. (Republican) 49.5%
Wyoming Clifford Hansen Republican 1966
1972
Incumbent retired.
New senator elected.
Republican hold.
Incumbent resigned December 31, 1978 to give successor preferential seniority.
Winner appointed January 1, 1979 to finish the term.
Alan K. Simpson (Republican) 62.2%
Raymond B. Whitaker (Democratic) 37.8%

Alabama[edit]

Incumbent Democratic Senator John Sparkman retired and was succeeded by Howell Heflin, the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama. Heflin, the Democratic candidate, faced no Republican opponent in the general election, defeating Prohibition Party nominee Jerome B. Couch.

Alabama election

← 1972
1984 →

  Heflin.jpg
Nominee Howell Heflin Jerome B. Couch
Party Democratic Prohibition
Popular vote 547,054 34,951
Percentage 94% 6%

U.S. Senator before election

John Sparkman
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Howell Heflin
Democratic

General election results[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Howell Heflin 547,054 93.99%
Prohibition Jerome B. Couch 34,951 6.01%
Majority 512,103 87.98%
Turnout 582,005
Democratic hold Swing

Alabama (Special)[edit]

Following the death of Senator Jim Allen, his widow Maryon was appointed by governor George Wallace to fill the vacancy until a special election could be held. In this election, Democratic state senator Donald W. Stewart defeated former Republican Congressman James D. Martin to serve the remaining two years of the term.

Alabama election

← 1974
1980 →

  Donald W. Stewart.jpg James D. Martin.jpg
Nominee Donald W. Stewart James D. Martin
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 401,852 316,170
Percentage 55.1% 43.3%

U.S. Senator before election

Maryon Pittman Allen
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Donald W. Stewart
Democratic

General election results[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Donald W. Stewart 401,852 55.06%
Republican James D. Martin 316,170 43.32%
Libertarian Michael R. A. Erdey 6,006 0.08%
Prohibition A. J. Killinsworth 5,814 0.08%
Majority 85,682 11.74%
Turnout 729,842
Democratic hold Swing

Alaska[edit]

Incumbent Republican Senator Ted Stevens won reelection, defeating Democrat Donald Hobbs.

United States Senate election in Alaska, 1978[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Ted Stevens (Incumbent) 92,783 75.59%
Democratic Donald Hobbs 29,574 24.09%
Write-ins Write-ins 384 0.31%
Majority 63,209 51.50%
Turnout 122,741
Republican hold Swing

Arkansas[edit]

Colorado[edit]

Delaware[edit]

Delaware election

← 1972
1984 →

  Joe Biden first official photo.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Joe Biden James H. Baxter Jr.
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 93,930 66,479
Percentage 57.96% 41.02%

Delaware Election Results by county, all Democrat.png
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Joe Biden
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Joe Biden
Democratic

Incumbent Democrat United States Senator Joe Biden won re-election to a second term, defeating Republican challenger James H. Baxter Jr., the Delaware Secretary of Agriculture.[3]

General election results[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Joe Biden (Incumbent) 93,930 57.96% +7.48%
Republican James H. Baxter Jr. 66,479 41.02% -8.08%
American

Donald G. Gies 1,663 1.02% +0.68%
Majority 27,451 16.94% +15.56%
Turnout 162,072
Democratic hold Swing

Georgia[edit]

Georgia election

← 1972
1984 →

  Sam Nunn.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Sam Nunn (Incumbent) John Stokes
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 536,320 108,808
Percentage 83.1% 16.9%

Georgia D Sweep.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Sam Nunn
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Sam Nunn
Democratic

Incumbent Democrat Sam Nunn won re-election to a second term.[4]

General election results[5]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Sam Nunn 536,320 83.13% +29.17%
Republican John W. Stokes 108,808 16.87% -29.14%
Majority 427,512 66.27% +58.32%
Turnout 645,128
Democratic hold Swing

Idaho[edit]

Idaho election

← 1972
1984 →

  Jimmcclure.jpg No image.svg
Nominee James A. McClure Dwight Jensen
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 194,412 89,635
Percentage 68.44% 31.56%

U.S. Senator before election

James A. McClure
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

James A. McClure
Republican

Incumbent Republican Senator James A. McClure was elected to a second term in office.

United States Senate election in Idaho, 1978[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican James A. McClure (Incumbent) 194,412 68.44%
Democratic Dwight Jensen 89,635 31.56%
Majority 104,777 36.88%
Turnout 284,047
Republican hold Swing

Illinois[edit]

Illinois election

← 1972
1984 →

  Charles Percy.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Charles Percy Alex Seith
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 1,698,711 1,448,187
Percentage 53.34% 45.47%

U.S. Senator before election

Charles H. Percy
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Charles H. Percy
Republican

Incumbent Republican Charles H. Percy ran for re-election to a third term in the United States Senate. Percy was opposed by Democratic nominee Alex Seith (D), attorney and former member of the Cook County Zoning Board of Appeals. Though Percy had been expected to coast to re-election over Seith, a first-time candidate, the election quickly became competitive. In the last few days of the campaign, a desperate Percy ran a television advertisement that featured him apologizing and acknowledging that, "I got your message and you're right."[6] Percy's last-ditch effort appeared to have paid off, as he was able to edge out Seith to win what would end up being his third and final term in the Senate.

United States Senate election in Illinois, 1978[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Charles H. Percy (Incumbent) 1,698,711 53.34% -8.88%
Democratic Alex Seith 1,448,187 45.47% +8.13%
Libertarian Bruce Lee Green 16,320 0.51%
Socialist Workers Patricia Grogan 15,922 0.50%
Socialist Labor Gerald Rose 5,465 0.18%
Write-ins 159 0.00%
Majority 250,524 7.87% -17.00%
Turnout 3,184,764
Republican hold Swing

Iowa[edit]

Kansas[edit]

Kentucky[edit]

Louisiana[edit]

Maine[edit]

Maine election

← 1972
1984 →

  Senator William Cohen (R-ME).jpg William Dodd Hathaway.jpg
Nominee William Cohen William Hathaway
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 212,294 127,327
Percentage 56.59% 33.94%

 
Nominee Hayes Gahagan
Party Independent
Popular vote 27,824
Percentage 7.42%

U.S. Senator before election

William Hathaway
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

William Cohen
Republican

Incumbent Democrat William Hathaway decided to run for re-election to a second term, but was defeated by William Cohen, the Republican nominee and the United States Congressman from Maine's 2nd congressional district and Hayes Gahagan, former Maine State Senator

United States Senate election in Maine, 1978[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican William Cohen 212,294 56.59% +9.83%
Democratic William Hathaway (Incumbent) 127,327 33.94% -19.29%
Independent Hayes E. Gahagan 27,824 7.42%
Independent John J. Jannace 5,553 1.48%
Independent Plato Truman 2,116 0.56%
Majority 84,967 22.65% +16.19%
Turnout 375,114
Republican gain from Democratic Swing

Massachusetts[edit]

Massachusetts election

← 1972
1984 →

  Senator Paul Tsongas.jpg Edward Brooke.jpg
Nominee Paul Tsongas Edward Brooke
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 1,093,283 890,584
Percentage 55.06% 44.85%

1978 MA Senate.png
Results by town. Red indicates towns carried by Edward Brooke, blue indicates towns carried by Paul Tsongas.

U.S. Senator before election

Edward Brooke
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Paul Tsongas
Democratic

Incumbent Republican Senator Edward Brooke was defeated by Democratic Congressman Paul E. Tsongas.

Republican primary [7]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Edward Brooke 146,351 53.25%
Republican Avi Nelson 128,388 46.72%
All others 78 0.03%
Democratic primary [8]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Paul Tsongas 296,915 35.55%
Democratic Paul Guzzi 258,960 31.01%
Democratic Kathleen Sullivan Alioto 161,036 19.28%
Democratic Howard Phillips 65,397 7.83%
Democratic Elaine Noble 52,464 6.28%
All others 379 0.05%
General election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Paul E. Tsongas 1,093,283 55.06%
Republican Edward Brooke 890,584 44.85%
All others 1,833 0.09%
Total votes 1,985,700 68.01%

Michigan[edit]

Michigan election

← 1972
1984 →

  CarlLevin--100thCongress--.png Robert Paul Griffin.jpg
Nominee Carl Levin Robert P. Griffin
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 1,484,193 1,362,165
Percentage 52.1% 47.9%

U.S. Senator before election

Robert P. Griffin
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Carl Levin
Democratic

Incumbent Republican Robert P. Griffin ran for re-election to a third term, but was defeated by the Democratic candidate, and former Michigan Attorney General Carl Levin.

General election results[9]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Carl Levin 1,484,193 52.1% N/A
Republican Robert P. Griffin (Incumbent) 1,362,165 47.8% -4.29%
Independent Others 272 0.01% -52.13%

Minnesota[edit]

Minnesota election

← 1972
1984 →

  RudyBoschwitz.jpg Wendell Anderson.jpg
Nominee Rudy Boschwitz Wendell Anderson
Party Independent-Republican DFL
Popular vote 894,092 638,375
Percentage 56.57% 40.39%

U.S. Senator before election

Wendell Anderson
DFL

Elected U.S. Senator

Rudy Boschwitz
Independent-Republican

Incumbent Democrat Wendell Anderson was defeated by Republican challenger businessman Rudy Boschwitz.

In 1978, all three key statewide races in Minnesota were up for election—the Governorship, and both Senate Seats (the other Senate seat belonged to Hubert Humphrey, who died in 1978). But, there was a particular oddity to the three races—all three had incumbents who were never elected to the office in the first place. This became a well played issue by the Republicans—a billboard put up across the state read, "The DFL is going to face something scary -- an election".

When Walter Mondale ascended to the Vice Presidency in 1976, sitting Governor Wendell Anderson appointed himself to the open seat. This act did not sit well with the electorate. Plywood magnate Rudy Boschwitz campaigned as a liberal Republican and spent freely of his own money, but all that seemed to really matter was that he was neither a DFLer or Wendell Anderson in an election cycle where both were rejected by the voters. The end result was not even close—the challenger Boschwitz won in a 16-point landslide as all three statewide offices switched into Republican hands.

Democratic primary election results[10]
Party Candidate Votes %
DFL Wendell Anderson (Incumbent) 286,209 56.9%
DFL John S. Connolly 159,974 31.8%
DFL Daryl W. Anderson 23,159 4.6%
DFL Lloyd M. Roberts 12,709 2.5%
DFL Dick Bullock 11,485 2.3%
DFL Emil L. Moses 9,580 1.9%
Republican primary election results[10]
Party Candidate Votes %
Independent-Republican Rudy Boschwitz 185,393 86.8%
Independent-Republican Harold Stassen 28,170 13.2%
General election results[11]
Party Candidate Votes %
Independent-Republican Rudy Boschwitz 894,092 56.57%
DFL Wendell Anderson 638,375 40.39%
American

Sal Carlone 23,261 1.47%
Socialist Workers William Peterson 9,856 0.62%
Independent Brian J. Coyle 8,083 0.51%
Workers League Jean T. Brust 3,891 0.25%
Libertarian Leonard J. Richards 2,992 0.19%
Others Write-ins 72 0.01%

Minnesota (Special)[edit]

Minnesota special election

← 1976
1982 →

  DavidDurenberger.jpg Bob Short (1969).jpg
Nominee David Durenberger Bob Short
Party Independent-Republican DFL
Popular vote 957,908 538,675
Percentage 61.47% 34.57%

U.S. Senator before election

Muriel Humphrey
DFL

Elected U.S. Senator

David Durenberger
Independent-Republican

Incumbent Muriel Humphrey retired. Democratic candidate Bob Short was defeated by Republican candidate David Durenberger.

In 1978, all three key statewide races in Minnesota were up for election—the Governorship, and both Senate Seats (the other Senate seat belonged to Wendell Anderson, who, as Governor of Minnesota, appointed himself to fill the seat vacated by Walter Mondale, when Mondale ascended to the Vice Presidency in 1976). But, there was a particular oddity to the three races—all three had incumbents who were never elected to the office in the first place. This became a well played issue by the Republicans—a billboard put up across the state read, "The DFL is going to face something scary -- an election".

When Hubert H. Humphrey died in office in January 1978, sitting Governor Rudy Perpich appointed Humphrey's widow, Muriel to sit until a special election could be held later that year. However, Muriel Humphrey opted not to seek election to the seat in her own right, and the DFL nominated former Texas Rangers owner Bob Short to run in the subsequent special election. The Independent-Republicans, on their part, nominated the liberal Republican David Durenberger, creating an unusual race in which the DFL candidate was positioned to the right of the Independent-Republican candidate. In addition to the general sense of dissatisfaction voters felt for the DFL, the DFL also had to contend with a large number of liberal members of the DFL, who were dissatisfied with Short's positions on hot button issues such as abortion, motorboat usage in the Boundary Waters Canoe area, and government spending, crossing party lines to vote for Durenberger. As a result, Durenberger won in a 26.9-percent landslide as the governorship and both U.S. Senate seats switched into Republican hands.

Democratic special primary election results[10]
Party Candidate Votes %
DFL Bob Short 257,289 48.0%
DFL Donald M. Fraser 253,818 47.4%
DFL Sharon Anderson 16,094 3.0%
DFL Richard A. Palmer 8,425 1.6%
Republican special primary election results[10]
Party Candidate Votes %
Independent-Republican David Durenberger 139,187 67.3%
Independent-Republican Malcolm Moos 32,314 15.6%
Independent-Republican Ken Nordstrom 14,635 7.1%
Independent-Republican Will Lundquist 12,261 5.9%
Independent-Republican Adell H. Campbell 8,523 4.1%
Special election results[12]
Party Candidate Votes %
Independent-Republican David Durenberger 957,908 61.47%
DFL Bob Short 538,675 34.57%
American

Paul Helm 45,402 2.91%
Socialist Workers Christine Frank 11,397 0.73%
Libertarian Frederick Hewitt 4,116 0.26%
Others Write-ins 878 0.06%

Mississippi[edit]

Mississippi election

← 1972
1984 →

  Thad Cochran 1977 Congressional photo.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Thad Cochran Maurice Dantin
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 267,302 187,541
Percentage 45.3% 31.8%

 
Nominee Charles Evers
Party Independent
Popular vote 133,646
Percentage 22.6%

U.S. Senator before election

James Eastland
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Thad Cochran
Republican

Incumbent Democrat James Eastland decided to retire. Republican Thad Cochran won the open seat over Democrat Maurice Dantin, former District Attorney[13] and Independent Charles Evers, Mayor of Fayette.

Evers was the first African American elected since the Reconstruction era to be mayor in any Mississippi city in 1969. He ran as an independent, and as a result his campaign divided the Democrats and allowed Cochran to win the senate seat with a 45 percent plurality.[14] This made him the first Republican to win a statewide election in Mississippi in a century.[15] Eastland resigned on December 27, 1978 to give Cochran a seniority advantage over new incoming senators.[16]

Mississippi U.S. Senate Election, 1978[17]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Thad Cochran 267,302 45.3%
Democratic Maurice Dantin 187,541 31.8%
Independent Charles Evers 133,646 22.6%
Independent Henry Jay Kirksey 1,747 0.3%

Montana[edit]

Montana election

← 1972
1984 →

  Max Baucus 1977 Congressional photo.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Max Baucus Larry R. Williams
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 160,353 127,589
Percentage 55.69% 44.31%

U.S. Senator before election

Paul G. Hatfield
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Max Baucus
Democratic

Following the death of Senator Lee Metcalf on January 12, 1978, Montana Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul G. Hatfield was appointed to serve for the remainder of Metcalf's term. Hatfield opted to run for re-election, but was overwhelmingly defeated in the Democratic primary by Congressman Max Baucus of the 1st congressional district. Baucus advanced to the general election, where he was opposed by Larry R. Williams, an author and the Republican nominee. Baucus ended up defeating Williams by a solid margin to win his first term in the Senate, and, following Hatfield's resignation on December 12, 1978, he began serving his first term in the Senate.

Democratic Party primary results[18]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Max Baucus 87,085 65.25%
Democratic Paul Hatfield (Incumbent) 25,789 19.32%
Democratic John Driscoll 18,184 13.62%
Democratic Steve Shugrue 2,404 1.80%
Total votes 133,462 100.00%
Republican Primary results[18]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Larry Williams 35,479 61.66%
Republican Bill Osborne 16,436 28.57%
Republican Clancy Rich 5,622 9.77%
Total votes 57,537 100.00%
United States Senate election in Montana, 1978[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Max Baucus 160,353 55.69% +3.74%
Republican Larry R. Williams 127,589 44.31% -3.74%
Majority 32,764 11.38% +7.48%
Turnout 287,942
Democratic hold Swing

Nebraska[edit]

Nebraska election

← 1972
1984 →

  1979 p80 J James Exon.jpg No image.svg
Nominee J. James Exon Donald Eugene Shasteen
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 334,096 159,708
Percentage 67.7% 32.3%

U.S. Senator before election

Carl Curtis
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

J. James Exon
Democratic

Incumbent Republican Carl Curtis decided to retire instead of seeking a fifth term. In the elections, Democratic nominee J. James Exon won the open seat over Republican Donald Eugene Shasteen.

General election results[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic J. James Exon 334,096 67.66% +20.82%
Republican Donald Eugene Shasteen 159,708 32.34% -20.82%
Majority 174,390 35.32% +28.99%
Turnout 493,802
Democratic gain from Republican Swing

New Hampshire[edit]

New Jersey[edit]

New Mexico[edit]

New Mexico election

← 1972
1984 →

  Pete Domenici official portrait 2.jpg Toney Anaya 2008.jpg
Nominee Pete Domenici Toney Anaya
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 183,442 160,045
Percentage 53.4% 46.6%

New Mexico Senatorial Election Results by County, 1978.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Pete Domenici
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Pete Domenici
Republican

Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Pete Domenici successfully ran for re-election to a second term, defeating Democrat Toney Anaya, Attorney General of New Mexico.

General election results[19][2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Pete Domenici (Incumbent) 183,442 53.41%
Democratic Toney Anaya 160,045 46.59%
Majority 23,397 6.81%
Total votes 343,487 100.00%
Republican hold

North Carolina[edit]

North Carolina election

← 1972
1984 →

  JesseHelms.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Jesse Helms John Ingram
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 619,151 516,663
Percentage 54.5% 45.5%

U.S. Senator before election

Jesse Helms
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Jesse Helms
Republican

The general election was fought between the Republican Incumbent Jesse Helms and Democrat John Ingram. Helms won re-election, by a slightly wider margin than in 1972.

1978 North Carolina U.S. Senate Democratic primary election – First round [20]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Luther H. Hodges, Jr. 260,868 40.08%
Democratic John Ingram 170,715 26.23%
Democratic Lawrence Davis 105,381 16.19%
Democratic McNeill Smith 82,703 12.71%
Democratic Dave McKnight 9,422 1.45%
Democratic William Griffin 8,907 1.37%
Democratic Tom Sawyer 8,482 1.30%
Turnout 650,942
1978 North Carolina U.S. Senate Democratic primary election – Second round [20]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic John Ingram 244,469 54.24% +28.01%
Democratic Luther H. Hodges, Jr. 206,223 45.76% +5.68%
Turnout 450,692

Jesse Helms won the Republican Party's nomination unopposed.

1978 North Carolina U.S. Senate election[20]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Jesse Helms 619,151 54.51% +0.50%
Democratic John Ingram 516,663 45.49% -0.50%
Turnout 1,135,814

Oklahoma[edit]

Oregon[edit]

Rhode Island[edit]

Rhode Island election

← 1972
1984 →

  Claiborne Pell.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Claiborne Pell James G. Reynolds
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 229,557 76,061
Percentage 75.1% 24.9%

Rhode Island Election Results by County, all Democratic.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Claiborne Pell
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Claiborne Pell
Democratic

Incumbent Democrat Claiborne Pell successfully sought re-election, defeating Republican James G. Reynolds.

Democratic primary results[21]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Claiborne Pell (Incumbent) 69,729 87.01%
Democratic Raymond J. Greiner 6,076 7.58%
Democratic Francis P. Kelley 4,330 5.41%
Majority 63,653 79.43%
Total votes 80,135 100.00%
General election results[22][2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Claiborne Pell (Incumbent) 229,557 75.11%
Republican James G. Reynolds 76,061 24.89%
Majority 153,496 50.22%
Total votes 305,618 100.00%
Democratic hold

South Carolina[edit]

South Carolina election

← 1972
1984 →

  Strom Thurmond.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Strom Thurmond Charles D. Ravenel
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 351,733 281,119
Percentage 55.6% 44.4%

U.S. Senator before election

Strom Thurmond
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Strom Thurmond
Republican

Popular incumbent Republican Strom Thurmond defeated Democratic challenger Charles D. Ravenel.

The South Carolina Democratic Party held their primary for governor on June 13, 1978. Charles D. Ravenel, an unsuccessful candidate in the 1974 gubernatorial contest, originally planned to run for governor again in 1978, but was convinced by Vice President Walter Mondale in 1977 to run for senator. He garnered over 50% of the vote in the primary and avoided a runoff election.

Democratic Primary
Candidate Votes %
Charles D. Ravenel 205,348 55.9%
John Bolt Culbertson 69,184 18.9%
Tom Triplett 50,957 13.9%
Tom McElveen 41,550 11.3%

Senator Strom Thurmond faced no opposition from South Carolina Republicans and avoided a primary election.

Thurmond generally ignored Ravenel on the campaign and refused to debate him. When they did cross paths, Thurmond criticized Ravenel for never having held a political office. Ravenel did not help his cause by his actions in the 1974 gubernatorial race when he refused to endorse the Democratic nominee after he had been disqualified. This irritated many Democrats and they also accused him of being nothing more than a liberal New Yorker. Age was beginning to become an issue with Thurmond, so to combat perceptions of old age, Thurmond often appeared with his children on the campaign trail. While 1978 was generally a Democratic year, Thurmond was able to pull off a commanding victory over Ravenel.

South Carolina U.S. Senate Election, 1978
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Strom Thurmond 351,733 55.6% -7.9%
Democratic Charles D. Ravenel 281,119 44.4% +7.9%
No party Write-Ins 257 0.0% 0.0%
Majority 70,614 11.2% -15.8%
Turnout 633,109 57.7% -7.5%
Republican hold

South Dakota[edit]

Tennessee[edit]

Tennessee election

← 1972
1984 →

  Howard Baker 1989.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Howard Baker Jane Eskind
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 642,644 466,228
Percentage 55.54% 40.30%

U.S. Senator before election

Howard Baker
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Howard Baker
Republican

Two-term popular incumbent Howard Baker, who had served as United States Senate Minority Leader since 1977, ran for reelection against first-time candidate and Democratic Party activist Jane Eskind.

In the August 3 Democratic primary Eskind won in an open primary against eight other candidates:[23]

  • Eskind - 196,156 (34.52%)
  • Bruce - 170,795 (30.06%)
  • Lee - 89,939 (15.83%)
  • Boyd - 48,458 (8.53%)
  • Bradley - 22,130 (3.90%)
  • Heinsohn - 17,787 (3.13%)
  • Foster - 10,671 (1.88%)
  • Nyabongo - 7,682 (1.35%)
  • Vick - 4,414 (0.78%)
  • Write-in - 147 (0.03%)

In the Republican primary, also held August 3, Baker easily emerged as the winner:[24]

  • Baker - 205,680 (83.44%)
  • Howard - 21,154 (8.58%)
  • Boles - 8,899 (3.61%)
  • Patty - 3,941 (1.60%)
  • Seiler - 3,831 (1.55%)
  • Trapp - 2,994 (1.22%)

Baker won with a 15-point margin in the general election, held on November 7:[25]

General election results
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Howard Baker 642,644 55.54%
Democratic Jane Eskind 466,228 40.30%
Independent Thomas Jefferson Anderson 45,908 3.97%
Independent Fern L. Keasler 2,243 0.19%

Texas[edit]

Texas election

← 1972
1984 →

  John Tower.jpg Bob Krueger.jpg
Nominee John G. Tower Bob Krueger
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 1,151,376 1,139,149
Percentage 49.8% 49.3%

U.S. Senator before election

John G. Tower
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

John G. Tower
Republican

Republican U.S. Senator John G. Tower won re-election to a fourth term over Democrat Bob Krueger, U.S. Congressman of Texas's 21st congressional district.

General election results[26]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican John Tower 1,151,376 49.8%
Democratic Bob Krueger 1,139,149 49.3%

Virginia[edit]

Virginia election

← 1972
1984 →

  John W Warner Sec of Navy.jpg No image.svg
Nominee John Warner Andrew P. Miller
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 613,232 608,511
Percentage 50.2% 49.8%

1978 virginia senate election map.png
U.S. Senate election results map. Red denotes counties/districts won by Warner. Blue denotes those won by Miller.

U.S. Senator before election

William L. Scott
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

John Warner
Republican

Incumbent William L. Scott retired. Former Secretary of the Navy Republican John Warner beat Attorney General of Virginia Andrew P. Miller. Scott then resigned January 1, 1979 and Warner was appointed January 2, 1979 for early seniority purposes.

United States Senate election in Virginia, 1978[27]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican John Warner 613,232 50.17% -1.28%
Democratic Andrew P. Miller 608,511 49.79% +3.67%
Write-ins 513 0.04% +0.04%
Majority 4,721 0.39% +0.39%
Turnout 1,222,256
Republican hold

West Virginia[edit]

Wyoming[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Harry F. Byrd Jr. (VA) was an Independent who caucused with the Democrats. In some circles he is called an "Independent Democrat," but his actual registration was listed as "Independent." See, e.g., United States Congress. "Harry Flood Byrd, Jr. (id: B001209)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 1978" (PDF). Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. Retrieved July 2, 2014. 
  3. ^ http://dda.delaware.gov/pressrel/2011/012811_SecAward.pdf
  4. ^ "Ourcampaigns.com". Ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved May 23, 2018. 
  5. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=5326
  6. ^ "The Message of the 1978 Off-Year Elections". Time.com. November 20, 1978. Retrieved April 4, 2015. 
  7. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=290354
  8. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=290355
  9. ^ Parker, Randy; crickets chirp (July 7, 2003). "Our Campaigns: MI U.S. Senate". Our Campaigns. 
  10. ^ a b c d "Minnesota Election Results 1978 (Primary Election)" (PDF). Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved October 21, 2017. 
  11. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=5315
  12. ^ https://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=6259
  13. ^ https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=5ngsAAAAIBAJ&sjid=yvoDAAAAIBAJ&pg=7196,1592291&dq=maurice+dantin&hl=en
  14. ^ Black, Earl; Merle Black (2003). The Rise of Southern Republicans. Harvard University Press. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-674-01248-6. 
  15. ^ "Results of Elections Across the Nation". The Blade. November 7, 1978. Retrieved April 18, 2010. 
  16. ^ Associated Press (December 27, 1978). "Eastland Quits Early To Aid His Successor". The Blade. Retrieved April 19, 2010. 
  17. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=5320
  18. ^ a b "Report of the Official Canvass of the Vote Cast at the Primary Election Held in the State of Montana, June 6, 1978". Montana Secretary of State. Retrieved July 2, 2014. 
  19. ^ "NM US Senate". OurCampaigns. Retrieved March 16, 2014. 
  20. ^ a b c "North Carolina DataNet #46" (PDF). University of North Carolina. April 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 25, 2008. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  21. ^ "RI US Senate - D Primary". OurCampaigns. Retrieved March 18, 2014. 
  22. ^ "RI US Senate". OurCampaigns. Retrieved March 18, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Our Campaigns - TN US Senate - D Primary Race - Aug 03, 1978". ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved November 24, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Our Campaigns - TN US Senate - R Primary Race - Aug 03, 1978". ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved November 24, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Our Campaigns - TN US Senate Race - Nov 07, 1978". ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved November 24, 2014. 
  26. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=5309
  27. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=5329
  • Bass, Jack; Marilyn W. Thompson (1998). Ol' Strom: An Unauthorized Biography of Strom Thurmond. Longstreet. pp. 290–292. 
  • State Election Commission (1979). Report of the South Carolina State Election Commission. Columbia, SC: State Election Commission. p. 54. 
  • "Challenging a Southern Legend". Time. October 16, 1978. Retrieved February 9, 2008.