United States Senate elections, 1950

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United States Senate elections, 1950
United States
1948 ←
November 7, 1950 → 1952

36 of the 96 seats in the United States Senate
49 seats were needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party
  Mcfarland ernest.jpg Kenneth wherry.jpg
Leader Ernest McFarland Ken Wherry
Party Democratic Republican
Leader's seat Arizona Nebraska
Last election 54 seats 42 seats
Seats won 49 47
Seat change Decrease 5 Increase 5
Popular vote 15,297,854 16,166,439
Percentage 47.2% 49.9%
Swing Decrease 9.0% Increase 7.3%

Us 1950 senate election map.svg

  Republican holds
  Republican gains
  Democratic holds
  Democratic gains

Majority Leader before election

Scott Lucas

Elected Majority Leader

Ernest McFarland

The United States Senate election of 1950 occurred in the middle of Harry Truman's second term as President. As with most 20th-century second-term mid-terms, the party out of the Presidency made significant gains. The Republican opposition made a net gain of five seats, taking advantage of the Democratic administration's declining popularity during the Cold War and the aftermath of the Recession of 1949. The Democrats held a narrow 49 to 47 seat majority after the election. This became the first time since 1932 that the Senate Majority Leader lost his seat.

Change in Senate composition[edit]

Senate composition 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 D30 D31 D32 D33 D34 D35 D36 D37 D38
D48 D47 D46 D45 D44 D43 D42 D41 D40 D39
D49 ← Majority
D50 D51 D52 D53 D54 R42 R41 R40 R39
R29 R30 R31 R32 R33 R34 R35 R36 R37 R38
R28 R27 R26 R25 R24 R23 R22 R21 R20 R19
R9 R10 R11 R12 R13 R14 R15 R16 R17 R18
R8 R7 R6 R5 R4 R3 R2 R1

Senate composition as a result of 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 D30 D31 D32 D33 D34 D35 D36 D37 D38
D48O D47O D46O D45O D44O D43 D42 D41 D40 D39
D49+ ← Majority
R47+ R46+ R45+ R44+ R43+ R42+ R41O R40O R39
R29 R30 R31 R32 R33 R34 R35 R36 R37 R38
R28 R27 R26 R25 R24 R23 R22 R21 R20 R19
R9 R10 R11 R12 R13 R14 R15 R16 R17 R18
R8 R7 R6 R5 R4 R3 R2 R1
D Democratic
R Republican
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

Gains and losses[edit]

The Republicans defeated four incumbent Democrats:

  1. Illinois: Democrat Scott W. Lucas (the incumbent Majority Leader), lost to Everett Dirksen (R).
  2. Maryland: Millard Tydings (D) lost to John M. Butler (R).
  3. Pennsylvania: Francis J. Myers (D) lost to James H. Duff (R).
  4. Utah: Elbert B. Thomas (D) lost to Wallace F. Bennett (R).
Ticket to a victory dinner for Richard Nixon at the Wm. Penn Hotel.

Republicans also won two open seats:

  1. Idaho: Glen H. Taylor (D) lost renomination to David Worth Clark, who ended up losing the general election to Herman Welker (R).
  2. California: Sheridan Downey (D) retired, citing ill health and facing a tough renomination fight against Helen Gahagan Douglas, who ended up losing the general election to Richard Nixon (R).

Democrats defeated one incumbent Republican:

  1. Missouri: Forrest C. Donnell (R) lost to Thomas C. Hennings, Jr. (D)

Subsequent changes[edit]

During the next Congress, three states would have party changes to deaths and appointments.

  1. Kentucky: Virgil Chapman (D) died March 8, 1951.
    • Thomas R. Underwood (D) was appointed March 19, 1951 to continue his term.
    • John S. Cooper (R), then won a special election November 4, 1952 to finish the term. Republican gain.
  2. Michigan: Arthur H. Vandenberg (R) died April 18, 1951.
    • Blair Moody (D) was appointed April 23, 1951 to continue his term.
    • Charles E. Potter (R) then won a special election November 4, 1952 to finish the term. Democratic gain, then Republican gain: overall Republican hold.
  3. Connecticut: Brien McMahon (D) died July 28, 1952.
    • William A. Purtell (R) was appointed August 29, 1952 to continue his term.
    • Prescott Bush (R), who had lost in this (1950) special election, then won a special election November 4, 1952 to finish the term. Republican gain.

Complete list of races[edit]

State Incumbent Party Result Candidates
Alabama Lister Hill Democratic Re-elected Lister Hill (Democratic) 76.5%
John G. Crommelin, Jr. (Independent) 23.5%
Arizona Carl Hayden Democratic Re-elected Carl Hayden (Democratic) 62.8%
Bruce Brockett (Republican) 37.2%
Arkansas J. William Fulbright Democratic Re-elected J. William Fulbright Unopposed
California Sheridan Downey Democratic Retired
Republican gain
Richard M. Nixon (Republican) 59.2%
Helen Gahagan Douglas (Democratic) 40.8%
Colorado Eugene D. Millikin Republican Re-elected Eugene D. Millikin (Republican) 53.3%
John A. Carroll (Democratic) 46.8%
Connecticut Brien McMahon Democratic Re-elected Brien McMahon (Democratic) 51.7%
Joseph E. Talbot (Republican) 46.6%
Special (Class 1)
William Benton Democratic Appointee elected to finish term Ending January 3rd 1953
William Benton (Democratic) 49.2%
Prescott S. Bush (Republican) 49.1%
Florida Claude Pepper Democratic Lost renomination
Democratic hold[1]
George A. Smathers (Democratic) 76.2%
John P. Booth (Republican) 23.7%
Georgia Walter F. George Democratic Re-elected Walter F. George Unopposed
Idaho Glen H. Taylor Democratic Lost renomination
Republican gain
Herman Welker (Republican) 61.7%
D. Worth Clark (Democratic) 38.3%
Special (Class 2)
Henry C. Dworshak Republican Appointee elected to finish termEnding January 3rd 1955
Henry C. Dworshak (Republican) 51.9%
Claude J. Burtenshaw (Democratic) 48.1%
Illinois Scott W. Lucas Democratic Lost re-election
Republican gain
Everett M. Dirksen (Republican) 53.9%
Scott W. Lucas (Democratic) 45.8%
Indiana Homer E. Capehart Republican Re-elected Homer E. Capehart (Republican) 52.8%
Alex M. Campbell (Democratic) 46.4%
Iowa Bourke B. Hickenlooper Republican Re-elected Bourke B. Hickenlooper (Republican) 54.8%
Albert J. Loveland (Democratic) 44.7%
Kansas Frank Carlson Republican Re-elected Frank Carlson (Republican) 54.3%
Paul Aiken (Democratic) 43.8%
Kentucky Earle C. Clements Democratic Re-elected Earle C. Clements (Democratic) 54.2%
Charles I. Dawson (Republican) 45.1%
Louisiana Russell B. Long Democratic Re-elected Russell B. Long (Democratic) 87.7%
Charles S. Gerth (Republican) 12.3%
Maryland Millard E. Tydings Democratic Lost re-election
Republican gain
John M. Butler (Republican) 53.0%
Millard E. Tydings (Democratic) 46.0%
Missouri Forrest C. Donnell Republican Lost re-election
Democratic gain
Thomas C. Hennings, Jr. (Democratic) 53.6%
Forrest C. Donnell (Republican) 46.4%
Nevada Patrick A. McCarran Democratic Re-elected Patrick A. McCarran (Democratic) 58.0%
George E. Marshall (Republican) 42.0%
New Hampshire Charles W. Tobey Republican Re-elected Charles W. Tobey (Republican) 55.7%
Emmet J. Kelley (Democratic) 38.0%
Wesley Powell (Independent) 6.3%
New York Herbert H. Lehman Democratic Re-elected Herbert H. Lehman (Democratic) 50.3%
Joe R. Hanley (Republican) 45.3%
North Carolina Clyde R. Hoey Democratic Re-elected Clyde R. Hoey (Democratic) 68.7%
Halsey B. Leavitt (Republican) 31.3%
North Carolina
Special (Class 2)
Frank Porter Graham Democratic Appointee lost nomination to finish term
Democratic hold
Willis Smith (Democratic) 67.0%
E. L. Gavin (Republican) 32.6%
North Dakota Milton R. Young Republican Re-elected Milton R. Young (Republican) 67.6%
Harry O'Brien (Democratic) 32.4%
Ohio Robert A. Taft Republican Re-elected Robert A. Taft (Republican) 57.5%
Joseph T. Ferguson (Democratic) 42.5%
Oklahoma Elmer Thomas Democratic Lost renomination
Democratic hold
A. S. Mike Monroney (Democratic) 54.8%
W. H. Bill Alexander (Republican) 45.2%
Oregon Wayne Morse Republican Re-elected Wayne Morse (Republican) 74.8%
Howard Latourette (Democratic) 23.2%
Pennsylvania Francis J. Myers Democratic Lost re-election
Republican gain
James H. Duff (Republican) 51.3%
Francis J. Myers (Democratic) 47.7%
Rhode Island
Special (Class 1)
Edward L. Leahy Democratic Appointee retired Winner Elected To Finish Term Ending January 3rd 1953
Democratic hold
John O. Pastore (Democratic) 61.6%
Austin T. Levy (Republican) 38.4%
South Carolina Olin B. Johnston Democratic Re-elected Olin B. Johnston Unopposed
South Dakota Chandler Gurney Republican Lost renomination
Republican hold
Francis Case (Republican) 63.9%
John A. Engel (Democratic) 36.1%
Utah Elbert D. Thomas Democratic Lost re-election
Republican gain
Wallace F. Bennett (Republican) 53.9%
Elbert D. Thomas (Democratic) 45.8%
Vermont George D. Aiken Republican Re-elected George D. Aiken (Republican) 78.0%
James E. Bigelow (Democratic) 22.0%
Washington Warren G. Magnuson Democratic Re-elected Warren G. Magnuson (Democratic) 53.4%
Walter Williams (Republican) 46.0%
Wisconsin Alexander Wiley Republican Re-elected Alexander Wiley (Republican) 53.3%
Thomas E. Fairchild (Democratic) 46.2%
Edwin Knappe (Socialist) 0.4%

Senate races in 1950[edit]


Democratic incumbent Senator Claude Pepper lost renomination May 2, 1950 to George A. Smathers, who easily won the general election.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "FL US Senate". Our Campaigns. Retrieved June 18, 2013.