United States Senate elections, 1946 and 1947

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United States Senate elections, 1946 and 1947
United States
← 1944 November 5, 1946[1] 1948 / 1949 →

32 of the 96 seats in the United States Senate
(as well as special elections)

49 seats needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party
  WallaceWhiteJr.jpg AlbenBarkley.jpg
Leader Wallace White Alben Barkley
Party Republican Democratic
Leader's seat Maine Kentucky
Seats before 39 56
Seats won 50 46
Seat change Increase 11 Decrease 10
Popular vote 14,984,498 11,369,078
Percentage 54.5% 41.4%
Swing Increase 8.4% Decrease 8.9%
Seats up 10 21
Races won 21 11

  Third party
 
Party Progressive
Seats before 1
Seats won 0
Seat change Decrease 1
Seats up 1
Races won 0

US 1946 senate election map.svg
Results including special elections
     Republican gain
     Republican hold      Democratic hold

Majority Leader before election

Alben Barkley
Democratic

Elected Majority Leader

Wallace White
Republican

The United States Senate elections of 1946 were held November 5, 1946,[1] in the middle of Democratic President Harry S. Truman's first term. There was also a special election in November 1947.[1]

The Republicans took control of the Senate by picking up twelve seats, mostly from the Democrats.

The vote was largely seen as a referendum on Truman, whose approval rating had sunk to 32%[2] over the president's controversial handling of a wave of post-war labor strikes, such as a nationwide railroad strike in May, at a time when Americans depended on train service for both commuter and long-distance travel. Just as damaging was Truman's back-and-forth over whether to end unpopular wartime price controls to handle shortages, particularly in foodstuffs. For example, price controls on beef had led to a "hamburger famine", but when Truman, in a surprise move, lifted the controls on October 14 — just weeks before the election — meat prices shot up to record levels.[citation needed]

Republican wave[edit]

The president's lack of popular support is widely seen as the reason for the Democrats' congressional defeat, the largest since they were trounced in the 1928 pro-Republican wave that brought Herbert Hoover to power. And for the first time since before the Great Depression, Republicans were seen as the party which could best handle the American economy.

However, the Republicans also benefited from what today would be called "a good map," meaning that of the one-third of Senate seats up for election, the majority were held by Democrats.

Besides the Republicans being able to hold onto all of their seats, this was the party's largest senate gain since 1920.

Gains and losses[edit]

In addition to a net Republican gain by appointment before the election, the Republicans picked up twelve seats, eleven of them from Democrats, and one from Progressive Robert M. La Follette, Jr. (P-WI). This gave them a Senate majority for the first time since Hoover's administration.

In addition to capturing open seats in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and New York, the Republicans defeated seven Democratic incumbents:

Change in Senate composition[edit]

Before the elections[edit]

  D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 D7 D8
D18 D17 D16 D15 D14 D13 D12 D11 D10 D9
D19 D20 D21 D22 D23 D24 D25 D26 D27 D28
D38
Ran
D37
Ran
D36
Ran
D35 D34 D33 D32 D31 D30 D29
D39
Ran
D40
Ran
D41
Ran
D42
Ran
D43
Ran
D44
Ran
D45
Ran
D46
Ran
D47
Ran
D48
Ran
Majority → D49
Ran
R39
Retired
P1
Ran
D56
Retired
D55
Retired
D54
Retired
D53
Ran
D52
Ran
D51
Ran
D50
Ran
R38
Retired
R37
Ran
R36
Ran
R35
Ran
R34
Ran
R33
Ran
R32
Ran
R31
Ran
R30
Ran
R29
R19 R20 R21 R22 R23 R24 R25 R26 R27 R28
R18 R17 R16 R15 R14 R13 R12 R11 R10 R9
R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8

Result of the general elections[edit]

  D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 D7 D8
D18 D17 D16 D15 D14 D13 D12 D11 D10 D9
D19 D20 D21 D22 D23 D24 D25 D26 D27 D28
D38
Re-elected
D37
Re-elected
D36
Re-elected
D35 D34 D33 D32 D31 D30 D29
D39
Re-elected
D40
Re-elected
D41
Re-elected
D42
Re-elected
D43
Re-elected
D44
Hold
D45
Hold
D46
Hold
R50
Gain
R49
Gain
Majority → R48
Gain
R39
Hold
R40
Gain
R41
Gain
R42
Gain
R43
Gain
R44
Gain
R45
Gain
R46
Gain
R47
Gain
R38
Hold
R37
Hold
R36
Re-elected
R35
Re-elected
R34
Re-elected
R33
Re-elected
R32
Re-elected
R31
Re-elected
R30
Re-elected
R29
R19 R20 R21 R22 R23 R24 R25 R26 R27 R28
R18 R17 R16 R15 R14 R13 R12 R11 R10 R9
R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8

Result of the special elections[edit]

  D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 D7 D8
D18 D17 D16 D15 D14 D13 D12 D11 D10 D9
D19 D20 D21 D22 D23 D24 D25 D26 D27 D28
D38 D37 D36 D35 D34 D33 D32 D31 D30 D29
D39 D40 D41 D42 D43 D44
Hold
D45
Hold
R51
Gain
R50
Gain, same as general
R49
Hold
Majority → R48
Hold
R39 R40 R41 R42 R43 R44 R45 R46
Appointee elected
R47
Appointee elected
R38 R37 R36 R35 R34 R33 R32 R31 R30 R29
R19 R20 R21 R22 R23 R24 R25 R26 R27 R28
R18 R17 R16 R15 R14 R13 R12 R11 R10 R9
R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8
Key:
D# Democratic
P# Progressive
R# Republican
V# Vacant

Race summaries[edit]

Special elections during the 79th Congress[edit]

In these special elections, the winner was seated during 1946 or before January 3, 1947; ordered by election date.

State Incumbent Results Candidates
Senator Party Electoral history
Alabama
(Class 2)
George R. Swift Democratic 1946 (Appointed) Interim appointee retired.
New senator elected November 5, 1946.
Democratic hold.
John Sparkman (Democratic)
Unopposed
California
(Class 1)
William F. Knowland Republican 1945 (Appointed) Interim appointee elected November 5, 1946.
Winner also elected to next term, see below.
William F. Knowland (Republican) 55.8%
Will Rogers Jr. (Democratic) 15.9%
Frederic C. Smedley 3.2%
George H. McLain (Democratic) 3.12%[3]
Connecticut
(Class 1)
Thomas C. Hart Republican 1945 (Appointed) Interim appointee retired.
New senator elected November 5, 1946.
Republican hold.
Winner also elected to next term, see below.
Raymond E. Baldwin (Republican) 55.8%
Joseph M. Tone (Democratic) 40.5%
Frederic C. Smedley 3.2%[4]
Idaho
(Class 2)
Charles C. Gossett Democratic 1945 (Appointed) Interim appointee lost nomination.
New senator elected November 5, 1946.
Republican gain.
Henry C. Dworshak (Republican) 58.6%
George E. Donart (Democratic) 41.4%
Kentucky
(Class 2)
William A. Stanfill Republican 1945 (Appointed) Interim appointee retired.
New senator elected November 5, 1946.
Republican hold.
John S. Cooper (Republican) 53.3%
John Y. Brown (Democratic) 46.5%
North Dakota
(Class 3)
Milton R. Young Republican 1945 (Appointed) Interim appointee elected November 5, 1946. Milton R. Young (Republican) 55.5%
William Lanier (Democratic) 27.4%
Gerald P. Nye (Independent) 15.2%
Ohio
(Class 1)
James W. Huffman Democratic 1945 (Appointed) Interim appointee retired.
New senator elected November 5, 1946.
Republican gain.
Winner was not elected to the next term, see below.
Kingsley A. Taft (Republican) 56.2%
Henry P. Webber (Democratic) 43.8%[5]
Virginia
(Class 2)
Thomas G. Burch Democratic 1946 (Appointed) Interim appointee retired.
New senator elected November 5, 1946.
Democratic hold.
A. Willis Robertson (Democratic) 68.2%
Robert H. Woods (Republican) 29.0%

Races leading to the 80th Congress[edit]

In these general elections, the winners were elected for the term beginning January 3, 1947; ordered by state.

All of the elections involved the Class 1 seats.

State Incumbent Results Candidates
Senator Party Electoral history
Arizona Ernest W. McFarland Democratic 1940 Incumbent re-elected. Ernest W. McFarland (Democratic) 69.2%
Ward S. Powers (Republican) 30.1%
California William F. Knowland Republican 1945 (Appointed) Interim appointee elected.
Winner also elected to finish term, see above.
William F. Knowland (Republican) 54.1%
Will Rogers Jr. (Democratic) 44.2%
Douglas Corrigan (Prohibition) 1.62%[3]
Connecticut Thomas C. Hart Republican 1945 (Appointed) Interim appointee retired.
New senator elected.
Republican hold.
Winner also elected to finish term, see above.
Raymond E. Baldwin (Republican) 55.8%
Wilbur L. Cross (Democratic) 41.0%
Frederic C. Smedley 3.3%[4]
Delaware James M. Tunnell Democratic 1940 Incumbent lost re-election.
New senator elected.
Republican gain.
John J. Williams (Republican) 55.2%
James M. Tunnell (Democratic) 44.9%
Florida Spessard Holland Democratic 1946 (Appointed) Interim appointee elected. Spessard Holland (Democratic) 78.7%
J. Harry Schad (Republican) 21.4%
Indiana Raymond E. Willis Republican 1940 Incumbent retired.
New senator elected.
Republican hold.
William E. Jenner (Republican) 52.4%
M. Clifford Townsend (Democratic) 46.8%
Maine Owen Brewster Republican 1940 Incumbent re-elected. Owen Brewster (Republican) 63.6%
Peter M. MacDonald (Democratic) 36.5%
Maryland George L. P. Radcliffe Democratic 1934
1940
Incumbent lost renomination.
New senator elected.
Democratic hold.
Herbert R. O'Conor (Democratic) 50.2%
David J. Markey (Republican) 49.8%
Massachusetts David I. Walsh Democratic 1918
1924 (Lost)
1926 (Special)
1928
1934
1940
Incumbent lost re-election.
New senator elected.
Republican gain.
Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. (Republican) 59.6%
David I. Walsh (Democratic) 39.7%
Michigan Arthur H. Vandenberg Republican 1928 (Special)
1928
1934
1940
Incumbent re-elected. Arthur H. Vandenberg (Republican) 67.1%
James H. Lee (Democratic) 32.0%
Minnesota Henrik Shipstead Republican 1922
1928
1934
1940
Incumbent lost renomination.
New senator elected.
Republican hold.
Edward John Thye (Republican) 58.9%
Theodore Jorgenson (Democratic) 39.8%
Mississippi Theodore G. Bilbo Democratic 1934
1940
Incumbent re-elected. Theodore G. Bilbo (Democratic)
Unopposed[6]
Missouri Frank P. Briggs Democratic 1945 (Appointed) Interim appointee lost election.
New senator elected.
Republican gain.
James P. Kem (Republican) 52.7%
Frank P. Briggs (Democratic) 47.1%
Montana Burton K. Wheeler Democratic 1922
1928
1934
1940
Incumbent lost renomination.
New senator elected.
Republican gain.
Zales N. Ecton (Republican) 53.5%
Leif Erickson (Democratic) 45.4%
Nebraska Hugh Butler Republican 1940 Incumbent re-elected. Hugh Butler (Republican) 70.8%
John E. Mekota (Democratic) 29.2%
Nevada Edward P. Carville Democratic 1945 (Appointed) Incumbent lost renomination.
New senator elected.
Republican gain.
George W. Malone (Republican) 55.2%
Berkeley L. Bunker (Democratic) 44.8%
New Jersey H. Alexander Smith Republican 1944 (Special) Incumbent re-elected. H. Alexander Smith (Republican) 58.5%
George E. Brunner (Democratic) 40.1%
New Mexico Dennis Chavez Democratic 1935 (Appointed)
1936 (Special)
1940
Incumbent re-elected. Dennis Chavez (Democratic) 51.5%
Patrick J. Hurley (Republican) 48.5%
New York James M. Mead Democratic 1940 Incumbent retired to run for New York Governor.
New senator elected.
Republican gain.
Irving M. Ives (Republican) 52.6%
Herbert H. Lehman (Democratic) 47.6%
North Dakota William Langer Republican 1940 Incumbent re-elected. William Langer (Republican) 53.3%
Arthur E. Thompson (Independent) 23.5%
Abner B. Larson (Democratic) 23.2%
Ohio James W. Huffman Democratic 1945 (Appointed) Interim appointee retired.
New senator elected.
Republican gain.
Winner was not elected to finish the term, see above.
John W. Bricker (Republican) 57.0%
James W. Huffman (Democratic) 42.4%[5]
Pennsylvania Joseph F. Guffey Democratic 1934
1940
Incumbent lost re-election.
New senator elected.
Republican gain.
Edward Martin (Republican) 59.3%
Joseph F. Guffey (Democratic) 39.8%
Rhode Island Peter G. Gerry Democratic 1934
1940
Incumbent retired.
New senator elected.
Democratic hold.
J. Howard McGrath (Democratic) 55.1%
W. Gurnee Dwyer (Republican) 44.9%
Tennessee Kenneth D. McKellar Democratic 1916
1922
1928
1934
1940
Incumbent re-elected. Kenneth D. McKellar (Democratic) 66.6%
W. B. Ladd (Republican) 26.2%
Texas Tom Connally Democratic 1928
1934
1940
Incumbent re-elected. Tom Connally (Democratic) 88.5%
Murray C. Sells (Republican) 11.5%
Utah Abe Murdock Democratic 1940 Incumbent lost re-election.
New senator elected.
Republican gain.
Arthur V. Watkins (Republican) 51.2%
Abe Murdock (Democratic) 48.8%
Vermont Ralph Flanders Republican 1946 (Appointed) Interim appointee elected. Ralph E. Flanders (Republican) 74.6%
Charles P. McDevitt (Democratic) 25.4%
Virginia Harry F. Byrd Democratic 1933 (Appointed)
1933 (Special)
1934
1940
Incumbent re-elected. Harry F. Byrd (Democratic) 64.9%
Lester S. Parsons (Republican) 30.5%
Washington Hugh B. Mitchell Democratic 1945 (Appointed) Interim appointee lost election.
New senator elected.
Republican gain.
Incumbent resigned December 25, 1946.
Winner appointed December 26, 1946 to finish term.
Harry P. Cain (Republican) 54.3%
Hugh B. Mitchell (Democratic) 45.2%
West Virginia Harley M. Kilgore Democratic 1940 Incumbent re-elected. Harley M. Kilgore (Democratic) 50.3%
Thomas Sweeney (Republican) 49.7%
Wisconsin Robert M. La Follette Jr. Progressive 1925 (Special)
1928
1934
1940
Incumbent lost renomination as a Republican.
New senator elected.
Republican gain.
Joseph R. McCarthy (Republican) 61.3%
Howard J. McMurray (Democratic) 37.4%
Edwin Knappe (Socialist) 1.2%
Wyoming Joseph C. O'Mahoney Democratic 1933 (Appointed)
1934
1940
Incumbent re-elected. Joseph C. O'Mahoney (Democratic) 56.2%
Harry B. Henderson (Republican) 43.8%

Elections during the 80th Congress[edit]

In these elections, the winners were elected in 1947 after January 3; sorted by election date.

State Incumbent Results Candidates
Senator Party Electoral history
Mississippi
(Class 1)
Theodore G. Bilbo Democratic 1934
1940
1946
Incumbent died August 21, 1947.
New senator elected November 4, 1947.
Democratic hold.
John C. Stennis (Democratic) 26.9%
William M. Colmer (Democratic) 23.6%
Forrest B. Jackson (Democratic) 22.5%
Paul B. Johnson, Jr. (Democratic) 14.0%
John E. Rankin (Democratic) 12.6%[6]

Arizona[edit]

Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Ernest McFarland ran for re-election to a second term, easily defeating his Republican challenger Ward S. Powers in the general election.

United States Senate election in Arizona, 1946[7]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Ernest McFarland 80,415 69.18%
Republican Ward S. Powers 35,022 30.13%
Communist Morris Graham 802 0.69%
Majority 45,393 39.05%
Turnout 116,239
Democratic gain from Republican Swing

Connecticut[edit]

Republican candidate Raymond E. Baldwin defeated the Democrats who were holding the office. He resighned only three years after the election.

United States Senate election in Connecticut, 1952[8]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Raymond E. Baldwin 381,328 55.84%
Democratic Joseph M. Tone 276,424 40.48%
Socialist Frederick C. Smedley 22,012 3.22%
Socialist Labor John W. Aiken 3,156 0,46%
Majority 104,904 29.32%
Turnout 682,920
Swing to Republican from Democratic Swing

Massachusetts[edit]

Republican Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. defeated incumbent David I. Walsh.

United States Senate election in Massachusetts, 1946[9]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. 989,736 59.55
Democratic David I. Walsh 660,200 39.72
Socialist Labor Henning A. Blomen 9,221 0.56
Prohibition Mark R. Shaw 2,898 0.17

New York[edit]

The New York state election was held on November 5, 1946.

The Socialist Labor state convention met on April 7 and nominated Eric Hass for the U.S.Senate.[10] The party filed a petition to nominate candidates under the name "Industrial Government Party."

The Liberal Party gathered 51,015 signatures and filed a petition to nominate candidates with the Secretary of State on September 2.[11]

The Republican state convention met on September 4 at Saratoga Springs, New York. They nominated Assembly Majority Leader Irving M. Ives.[12]

The Democratic state convention met on September 4 at Albany, New York, and nominated Ex-Governor Herbert H. Lehman (in office 1933-1942) for the U.S. Senate.[13]

The American Labor state convention met on September 3 and endorsed Lehman.[14] Fielding, Chapman and Abt were withdrawn from the ticket on September 5, and Democrats Corning, Young and Epstein substituted on the ticket.[15]

The Socialist Workers Party filed a petition to nominate candidates headed by Farrell Dobbs for Governor.

The Industrial Government, Socialist and Socialist Workers tickets were not allowed on the ballot because of "defective nominating petitions." The Court of Appeals upheld the decisions of the lower courts.[16]

The whole Republican ticket was elected in a landslide.

Republican ticket Democratic ticket American Labor ticket Liberal ticket Communist ticket
Irving M. Ives 2,559,363 Herbert H. Lehman 2,306,112 Herbert H. Lehman Herbert H. Lehman (none)

Obs.:

  • "Blank, void and scattering" votes: 178,694

Pennsylvania[edit]

Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Joseph F. Guffey sought re-election to another term, but was defeated by Republican nominee Edward Martin.

General election results[17]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Edward Martin 1,853,458 59.26% +11.90%
Democratic Joseph F. Guffey (inc.) 1,245,338 39.81% -11.98%
Prohibition Dale H. Learn 17,451 0.56% +0.28%
Socialist Labor Frank Knotek 11,613 0.37% +0.31%
Totals 3,127,860 100.00%

Vermont[edit]

Incumbent Republican Ralph Flanders successfully ran for re-election to a full term in the United States Senate, defeating Democratic candidate Charles P. Mcdevitt.

United States Senate election in Vermont, 1946[18]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Ralph Flanders (inc.) 54,729 74.6
Democratic Charles P. Mcdevitt 18,594 25.4
Total votes 73,323 100

Virginia[edit]

Incumbent Senator Harry F. Byrd, Sr. was re-elected to a third term after defeating Republican Lester S. Parsons.

United States Senate election in Virginia, 1946[17]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Harry F. Byrd, Sr. (inc.) 163,960 64.84% -28.48%
Republican Lester S. Parsons 77,005 30.45% +30.45%
Independent Howard Carwile 5,189 2.05%
Communist Alice Burke 3,318 1.31% -1.50%
Prohibition Thomas E. Boorde 1,764 0.70% +0.70%
Socialist Clarke T. Robb 1,592 0.63% +0.63%
Write-ins 35 0.01% -0.06%
Majority 86,955 34.39% -55.14%
Turnout 252,863
Democratic hold

Virginia (Special)[edit]

Appointed Democratic Senator Thomas G. Burch retired after filling the vacancy caused by the death of Senator Carter Glass. Absalom Willis Robertson defeated Republican Robert H. Woods and was elected to finish Glass's term in office.

United States Senate special election in Virginia, 1946[17]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Absalom Willis Robertson 169,680 68.15% -22.93%
Republican Robert H. Woods 72,253 29.02% +29.02%
Socialist Lawrence S. Wilkes 7,024 2.82% -3.71%
Write-ins 5 <0.01%
Majority 97,427 39.13% -45.42%
Turnout 248,962
Democratic hold

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c The Maine election was September 9, 1946. There were also special elections in November 1946 and one in November 1947.
  2. ^ Leuchtenburg, William E. (November 2006). "New Faces of 1946: An unpopular president. A war-weary people. In the midterm elections of 60 years ago, voters took aim at incumbents". Smithsonian (magazine). Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution. p. 2 of 5. Retrieved May 12, 2009. "On October 14, scarcely more than three weeks before midterm elections, Truman bit the bullet. Even when his approval rating dropped to 32 percent, he had told reporters that controls were indispensable. On this night, however, speaking to the largest radio audience since the end of the war, Truman lashed out at "the few men in Congress who, in the service of selfish interests, have been determined for some time to wreck price controls no matter what the cost might be to our people." Then he stunned the nation by announcing that he was lifting controls on meat. With the lid off, prices skyrocketed. The New York Daily News headlined: PRICES SOAR, BUYERS SORE/STEERS JUMP OVER THE MOON. Brickbats flew at the president. "Brother," said Ohio's Clarence J. Brown, chair of the Republican Congressional Committee, "the tide is sweepin' our way.""
  3. ^ a b http://www.ourcampaigns.com/ContainerHistory.html?ContainerID=201
  4. ^ a b http://www.ourcampaigns.com/ContainerHistory.html?ContainerID=205
  5. ^ a b http://www.ourcampaigns.com/ContainerHistory.html?ContainerID=263
  6. ^ a b http://www.ourcampaigns.com/ContainerHistory.html?ContainerID=244
  7. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=3284
  8. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=7722
  9. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=147415
  10. ^ "Socialist Labor Party Ticket". The New York Times. April 8, 1946. (Subscription required (help)). 
  11. ^ "LIBERALS TO FILE PETITIONS TODAY". The New York Times. September 2, 1946. (Subscription required (help)). 
  12. ^ "ALBANY 'TEAM' KEPT". The New York Times. September 5, 1946. (Subscription required (help)). 
  13. ^ "DEWEY IS ASSAILED; ...MEAD SPURNS ANY RED AID". The New York Times. September 5, 1946. (Subscription required (help)). 
  14. ^ "DEMOCRATIC DEAL IRKS LABOR PARTY". The New York Times. September 4, 1946. (Subscription required (help)). 
  15. ^ "ALP WITHDRAWS 3 FROM STATE TICKET". The New York Times. September 6, 1946. (Subscription required (help)). 
  16. ^ "MINOR PARTIES RULED OFF BALLOT IN STATE". The New York Times. October 26, 1946. (Subscription required (help)). 
  17. ^ a b c "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 1946" (PDF). Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House. Retrieved July 9, 2014. 
  18. ^ "General Election Results - U.S. Senator - 1914-2014" (PDF). Office of the Vermont Secretary of State. Retrieved June 16, 2015.