United States Senate elections, 1878 and 1879

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United States Senate elections, 1878 and 1879
United States
1876 / 1877 ←
Dates vary by state
(And other dates for special elections)
→ 1880 / 1881

26 of the 76 seats in the United States Senate (with special elections)
39 seats needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party
 
Party Democratic Republican
Seats before 36 38
Seats won 14 10
Seats after 42 31
Seat change Increase 6 Decrease 7
Seats up 8 17

  Third party Fourth party
 
Party Anti-Monopoly Independent
Seats before 1 1
Seats won 0 0
Seats after 1 1
Seat change Steady Steady
Seats up 0 0

Majority Party before election

Republican

Elected Majority Party

Democratic

The United States Senate elections of 1878 and 1879 were elections which had the Democratic Party retake control of the United States Senate for the first time since before the Civil War.

As these elections were prior to ratification of the seventeenth amendment, Senators were chosen by State legislatures.

Results summary[edit]

Senate Party Division, 46th Congress (1879–1881)

  • Majority Party: Democratic (42)
  • Minority Party: Republican (31)
  • Other Parties: Independent (1), Anti-Monopoly (1)
  • Total Seats: 76

Change in Senate composition[edit]

Before the elections[edit]

D8 D7 D6 D5 D4 D3 D2 D1
D9 D10 D11 D12 D13 D14 D15 D16 D17 D18
D28 D27 D26 D25 D24 D23 D22 D21 D20 D19
D29
Ran
D30
Ran
D31
Ran
D32
Ran
D33
Unknown
D34
Unknown
D35
Retired
D36
Retired
AM1 I1
Plurality → R38
Retired
R29
Unknown
R30
Unknown
R31
Retired
R32
Retired
R33
Retired
R34
Retired
R35
Retired
R36
Retired
R37
Retired
R28
Ran
R27
Ran
R26
Ran
R25
Ran
R24
Ran
R23
Ran
R22
Ran
R21 R20 R19
R9 R10 R11 R12 R13 R14 R15 R16 R17 R18
R8 R7 R6 R5 R4 R3 R2 R1

After the elections[edit]

D8 D7 D6 D5 D4 D3 D2 D1
D9 D10 D11 D12 D13 D14 D15 D16 D17 D18
D28 D27 D26 D25 D24 D23 D22 D21 D20 D19
D29
Re-elected
D30
Re-elected
D31
Hold
D32
Hold
D33
Hold
D34
Hold
D35
Hold
D36
Gain
D37
Gain
D38
Gain
Majority → D39
Gain
R29
Hold
R30
Hold
R31
Gain
V1
R loss
AM1 I1 D42
Gain
D41
Gain
D40
Gain
R28
Hold
R27
Re-elected
R26
Re-elected
R25
Re-elected
R24
Re-elected
R23
Re-elected
R22
Re-elected
R21 R20 R19
R9 R10 R11 R12 R13 R14 R15 R16 R17 R18
R8 R7 R6 R5 R4 R3 R2 R1
Key:
AM# Anti-Monopoly Party
D# Democratic
I# Independent
R# Republican
V# Vacant

Race summaries[edit]

Special elections during the 45th Congress[edit]

In these elections, the winners were seated during 1878 or in 1879 before March 4; ordered by election date.

State Incumbent Results Candidates
Senator Party Electoral history
Missouri
(Class 3)
David H. Armstrong Democratic 1877 (Appointed) Interim appointee retired when successor elected.
Winner elected January 27, 1879.
Democratic hold.
Winner did not run for the next term, see below.
James Shields (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Indiana
(Class 3)
Daniel W. Voorhees Democratic 1877 (Appointed) Interim appointee elected January 31, 1879.
Winner was also elected to the next term, see below.
Daniel W. Voorhees (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Michigan
(Class 1)
Isaac P. Christiancy Republican 1874 Incumbent resigned February 10, 1879 due to ill health.
Winner elected February 22, 1879.
Republican hold.
Zachariah Chandler (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]

Races leading to the 46th Congress[edit]

In these general elections, the winners were elected for the term beginning March 4, 1885; ordered by state.

All of the elections involved the Class 3 seats.

State Incumbent Results Candidates
Senator Party Electoral
history
Alabama George E. Spencer Republican 1868 (Special)
1872
Incumbent retired.
Winner elected in August 1878.
Democratic gain.
George S. Houston (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Arkansas Stephen W. Dorsey Republican 1872 or 1873 Incumbent retired.
Winner elected in 1878.
Democratic gain.
James D. Walker (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
California Aaron A. Sargent Republican 1872 or 1873 Incumbent retired.
Winner elected in 1878.
Democratic gain.
James T. Farley (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Colorado Jerome B. Chaffee Republican 1876 Incumbent retired.
Winner elected in 1879.
Republican hold.
Nathaniel P. Hill (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Connecticut William Henry Barnum Democratic 1876 Unknown if incumbent retired or lost re-election.
Winner elected in 1879.
Republican gain.
Orville H. Platt (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Florida Simon B. Conover Republican 1872 or 1873 Incumbent retired.
Winner elected in 1878.
Democratic gain.
Wilkinson Call (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Georgia John Brown Gordon Democratic 1873 Incumbent re-elected in 1879. John Brown Gordon (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Illinois Richard J. Oglesby Republican 1872 or 1873 Incumbent retired.
Winner elected in 1879.
Republican hold.
John A. Logan (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Indiana Daniel W. Voorhees Democratic 1877 (Appointed)
1879 (Special)
Incumbent re-elected in 1879. Daniel W. Voorhees (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Iowa William B. Allison Republican 1872 Incumbent re-elected January 23, 1878.[1] William B. Allison (Republican) 104 votes
Daniel F. Miller (Republican) 35 votes
E. N. Gates 3 votes[1]
Kansas John Ingalls Republican 1873 Incumbent re-elected in 1879. John Ingalls (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Kentucky Thomas C. McCreery Democratic 1872 Incumbent retired.
Winner elected in 1879.
Democratic hold.
Thomas C. McCreery (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Louisiana James B. Eustis Democratic 1876 (Special) Incumbent lost re-election.
Winner elected in 1879.
Democratic hold.
Benjamin F. Jonas (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Maryland George R. Dennis Democratic 1872 or 1873 Unknown if incumbent retired or lost re-election.
Winner elected in 1878 or in 1879.
Democratic hold.
James Black Groome (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Missouri James Shields Democratic Illinois:
—1848 or 1849
—1849 (Election voided)
1849 (Special)
—1855 (Lost)
Minnesota:
1858
—1859 (Lost)
Missouri:
1879 (Special)
Incumbent retired.
Winner elected in 1879.
Democratic hold.
George G. Vest (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Nevada John P. Jones Republican 1873 Incumbent re-elected in 1879. John P. Jones (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
New Hampshire Bainbridge Wadleigh Republican 1872 Unknown if incumbent retired or lost re-election.
Legislature failed to elect.
Republican loss.
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
New York Roscoe Conkling Republican 1867
1873
Incumbent re-elected January 22, 1879. Roscoe Conkling (Republican)
William Dorsheimer (Democratic)
Peter Cooper (Greenback)
North Carolina Augustus Merrimon Democratic 1872 Incumbent lost re-election.
Winner elected in 1879.
Democratic hold.
Zebulon Vance (Democratic)
Augustus Merrimon (Democratic)
Ohio Stanley Matthews Republican 1877 (Special) Incumbent retired.
Winner elected in 1878 or 1879.
Democratic gain.
George H. Pendleton (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Oregon John H. Mitchell Republican 1872 Incumbent retired.
Winner elected in 1878 or 1879.
Democratic gain.
James H. Slater (Democratic)
John H. Mitchell (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Pennsylvania J. Donald Cameron Republican 1877 (Special) Incumbent re-elected January 20, 1879. J. Donald Cameron (Republican) 53.78%
Hiester Clymer (Democratic) 36.65%
Daniel Agnew (Greenback) 6.37%
Edward McPherson (Republican) 1.20%
Russell Thayer (Republican) 0.40%
Galusha A. Grow (Republican) 0.40%
South Carolina John J. Patterson Republican 1872 or 1873 Unknown if incumbent retired or lost re-election.
Winner elected in 1878.
Democratic gain.
Wade Hampton III (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Vermont Justin S. Morrill Republican 1866
1872
Incumbent re-elected in 1878. Justin S. Morrill (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Wisconsin Timothy O. Howe Republican 1861
1866
1872
Incumbent lost re-election.
Winner elected January 22, 1879.[2]
Republican hold.
Matthew H. Carpenter (Republican)
Timothy O. Howe (Republican)
Elisha W. Keyes (Republican)

Elections during the 46th Congress[edit]

In this election, the winner was elected in 1879 after March 4; ordered by date.

State Incumbent Results Candidates
Senator Party Electoral history
New Hampshire
(Class 3)
Charles H. Bell Republican 1879 (Appointed) Legislature had failed to elect, see above.
Interim appointee retired when successor elected.
Winner elected June 17, 1879.
Republican hold.
Henry W. Blair (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]

Complete list of elections[edit]

New York[edit]

In New York, the election was held on January 21, 1879, by the New York State Legislature. Republican Roscoe Conkling had been re-elected in January 1873 to this seat, and his term would expire on March 3, 1879. At the State election in November 1877, 19 Republicans and 13 Democrats were elected for a two-year term (1878-1879) in the State Senate. At the State election in November 1878, 97 Republicans, 28 Democrats and 3 Greenbackers were elected for the session of 1879 to the Assembly, and Republican Thomas Murphy was elected to fill the vacancy in the State Senate caused by the death of Democrat John Morrissey. The 102nd New York State Legislature met from January 7 to May 22, 1879, at Albany, New York.

The caucus of Republican State legislators met on January 20, Temporary President of the State Senate William H. Robertson presided. Present were all Republican legislators except State Senator Louis S. Goebel[3] (6th D.) and Assemblyman James W. Wadsworth. They re-nominated the incumbent U.S. Senator Conkling unanimously. The caucus of the Democratic State legislators met also on January 20. State Senator Thomas C. E. Ecclesine (8th D.) offered to adopt a prostest against the senatorial election proceedings, claiming that the senatorial and assembly districts were incorrectly apportioned and thus the State Legislature did not represent the wish of the people of the State. The protest was substituted by a resolution to appoint a committee which would elaborate an address on the apportionment at a later date. Ecclesine then marched out, and the remaining legislators nominated Lieutenant Governor William Dorsheimer for the U.S. Senate.

1879 Democratic caucus for United States Senator result
Candidate First ballot Second ballot
William Dorsheimer 11 18
James F. Starbuck 8 8
DeWitt C. West[4] 8 6
Elijah Ward 2

The two Greenback assemblymen John Banfield (Chemung Co.) and George E. Williams (Oswego Co.) voted for 87-year-old Peter Cooper, a New York City inventor, industrialist and philanthropist who had run for U.S. President in 1876 on the Greenback ticket.

Roscoe Conkling was the choice of both the Assembly and the State Senate, and was declared elected.

1879 United States Senator election result
  Republican Democrat Greenback
State Senate
(32 members)
Roscoe Conkling 20 William Dorsheimer 12
State Assembly
(128 members)
Roscoe Conkling 95 William Dorsheimer 23 Peter Cooper 2

Note: The votes were cast on January 21, but both Houses met in a joint session on January 22 to compare nominations, and declare the result.

Pennsylvania[edit]

In Pennsylvania, the election was held January 20, 1879. J. Donald Cameron was re-elected by the Pennsylvania General Assembly to the United States Senate.[5]

After Sen. Simon Cameron resigned from office, his son J. Donald Cameron was elected by the General Assembly, consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate, in 1877 to serve the remainder of the unexpired term, which was to expire on March 4, 1879. The Pennsylvania General Assembly convened on January 20, 1879, to elect a Senator to serve the term beginning on March 4, 1879. The results of the vote of both houses combined are as follows:

State Legislature Results[5]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican J. Donald Cameron (Inc.) 135 53.78
Democratic Hiester Clymer 92 36.65
Greenback Daniel Agnew 16 6.37
Republican Edward McPherson 3 1.20
Republican Russell Thayer 1 0.40
Republican Galusha A. Grow 1 0.40
N/A Not voting 3 1.20
Totals 251 100.00%

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Clark, page 185
  2. ^ Thompson, p. 262.
  3. ^ State Senator Goebel refused to caucus with any of the parties, but voted for Conkling at the election.
  4. ^ DeWitt Clinton West (1824-1880), of Lowville, assemblyman 1853
  5. ^ a b "U.S. Senate Election - 20 January 1879" (PDF). Wilkes University. Retrieved December 22, 2013.