United States Senate elections, 1980

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United States Senate elections, 1980
United States
1978 ←
November 4, 1980 → 1982

34 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate
51 seats needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party
  Howard baker jr.jpg Robert Byrd Majority Portrait.jpg
Leader Howard Baker Robert Byrd
Party Republican Democratic
Leader's seat Tennessee West Virginia
Last election 41 seats 58 seats
Seats won 53 46
Seat change Increase 12 Decrease 12
Popular vote 26,597,169 30,699,463
Percentage 44.7% 51.6%
Swing Decrease 2.9% Increase 1.0%
Seats up 10 24

  Third party
Party Independent
Last election 1 seat
Seats before 1*
Seats won 1*
Seat change Steady
Seats up 0

1980 Senate election map.svg

  Democratic hold
  Republican hold
  Republican gain

*The Independent caucused with the Democrats and was not up for election.

Majority Leader before election

Robert Byrd

Elected Majority Leader

Howard Baker

The 1980 U.S. Senate elections coincided with Ronald Reagan's victory in the presidential election. Reagan's large margin of victory over incumbent Jimmy Carter pulled in many Democratic voters and gave a huge boost to Republican Senate candidates.

The Republicans gained a net of 12 seats from the Democrats and gained control of the Senate, 53–46–1. Majority and minority leaders Robert Byrd and Howard Baker exchanged places. This election marked the first time since 1954 that the Republican Party controlled either house of Congress. Despite large gains, Republican Senate candidates actually lost the popular vote.

This was the largest Senate swing since 1958, and was the largest Republican gain since 1946, when Republicans also picked up 12 seats.

Results summary[edit]

53 1 46
Republican I Democrat
Parties Total Seats Popular Vote
1978 1980 Change Vote  %
  Democratic Party 58 46 Decrease 12 30,699,463 51.62%
  Republican Party 41 53 Increase 12 26,597,169 44.73%
  Libertarian Party 0 0 Steady 401,077 0.67%
  Independent 1 1 Steady 112,242 0.19%
Others 0 0 Steady 1,658,979 2.79%
Total 100 100 Steady 59,468,930 100.0%
Source: Election Statistics – Office of the Clerk

Change in Senate composition[edit]

Before the elections[edit]

I1 D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 D7 D8 D9
D19 D18 D17 D16 D15 D14 D13 D12 D11 D10
D20 D21 D22 D23 D24 D25 D26 D27 D28 D29
D39 D38 D37 D36 D35 D34 D33 D32 D31 D30
D40 D41 D42 D43 D44 D45 D46 D47 D48 D49
Majority→ D50
R41 D58 D57 D56 D55 D54 D53 D52 D51
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

As a result of the elections[edit]

I1 D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 D7 D8 D9
D19 D18 D17 D16 D15 D14 D13 D12 D11 D10
D20 D21 D22 D23 D24 D25 D26 D27 D28 D29
D39 D38 D37 D36 D35 D34 D33 D32 D31 D30
D40 D41 D42 D43 D44 D45O D46O R53+ R52+ R51+
R50+ R49+ R48+ R47+ R46+ R45+ R44+ R43+ R42+ R41O
R40O R39O R38O 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
D# Democratic
I# Independent, caucusing with the Democrats
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]

Without losing any seats, the Republicans took open seats in Alabama, Alaska, and Florida, and unseated nine incumbents: Herman Talmadge (D-GA), Frank Church (D-ID), Birch E. Bayh II (D-IN), John Culver (D-IA), John A. Durkin (D-NH), Robert Morgan (D-NC), 1972 presidential nominee George S. McGovern (D-SD), Warren Magnuson (D-WA), and Gaylord Nelson (D-WI) (see Reagan's coattails).

Later changes[edit]

In 1982, Harrison A. Williams (D-NJ) resigned from the Senate rather than face a vote on his expulsion over the Abscam scandal. He was replaced by Republican Nicholas F. Brady. This is not reflected in the party totals.

Complete list of contests[edit]

A bolded state name indicates an article about that state's election.

State Incumbent Party Result Opposing candidate(s)
Alabama Donald W. Stewart Democratic Lost renomination
Republican gain
Jeremiah Denton (Republican) 50.2%
Jim Folsom, Jr. (Democratic) 47.1%
Alaska Mike Gravel Democratic Lost renomination
Republican gain
Frank Murkowski (Republican) 53.7%
Clark Gruening (Democratic) 45.9%
Arizona Barry Goldwater Republican Re-elected Barry Goldwater (Republican) 49.5%
Bill Schulz (Democratic) 48.4%
Fred R. Easer (Libertarian) 1.4%
Lorenzo Torrez (People Over Politics) 0.4%
Josefina Otero (Socialist Workers) 0.4%
Arkansas Dale Bumpers Democratic Re-elected Dale Bumpers (Democratic) 59.1%
William Clark (Republican) 40.9%
California Alan Cranston Democratic Re-elected Alan Cranston (Democratic) 56.5%
Paul Gann (Republican) 37.1%
David Bergland (Libertarian) 2.4%
David Wald (Peace & Freedom) 2.4%
Jim Griffin (American Ind.) 1.6%
Colorado Gary Hart Democratic Re-elected Gary Hart (Democratic) 50.3%
Mary E. Buchanan (Republican) 48.7%
Earl Higgerson (Statesman) 0.6%
Henry John Olshaw (Unaffiliated-American) 0.4%
Connecticut Abraham A. Ribicoff Democratic Retired
Democratic hold
Chris Dodd (Democratic) 56.3%
James L. Buckley (Republican) 42.9%
Jerry Brennan (Libertarian) 0.4%
Andrew J. Zemel (Concerned Citizens) 0.4%
Florida Richard Stone Democratic Lost renomination
Republican gain
Paula Hawkins (Republican) 51.7%
Bill Gunter (Democratic) 48.3%
Georgia Herman Talmadge Democratic Lost re-election
Republican gain
Mack Mattingly (Republican) 50.9%
Herman Talmadge (Democratic) 49.1%
Hawaii Daniel Inouye Democratic Re-elected Daniel Inouye (Democratic) 77.9%
Cooper Brown (Republican) 18.4%
Idaho Frank Church Democratic Lost re-election
Republican gain
Steve Symms (Republican) 49.7%
Frank Church (Democratic) 48.8%
Larry Fullmer (Libertarian) 1.5%
Illinois Adlai Stevenson III Democratic Retired
Democratic hold
Alan J. Dixon (Democratic) 56.0%
Dave O'Neal (Republican) 42.5%
Bruce Green (Libertarian) 0.6%
Sidney Lens (Independent) 0.4%
Charles F. Wilson (Communist) 0.2%
Michael Soriano (Workers World) 0.1%
Burton L. Artz (Socialist Workers) 0.1%
Indiana Birch Bayh Democratic Lost re-election
Republican gain
Dan Quayle (Republican) 53.8%
Birch Bayh (Democratic) 46.2%
Iowa John Culver Democratic Lost re-election
Republican gain
Chuck Grassley (Republican) 53.5%
John Culver (Democratic) 45.5%
Garry De Young (Independent) 0.5%
Robert V. Hengerer (Libertarian) 0.3%
John Ingram Henderson (Independent) 0.2%
Kansas Bob Dole Republican Re-elected Bob Dole (Republican) 63.8%
John Simpson (Democratic) 36.2%
Kentucky Wendell H. Ford Democratic Re-elected Wendell H. Ford (Democratic) 65.1%
Mary L. Foust (Republican) 34.9%
Louisiana Russell B. Long Democratic Re-elected Russell B. Long (Democratic) 57.64%
Woody Jenkins (Democratic) 38.75%
Jerry Bardwell (Republican) 1.64%
Robert M. Ross (Republican) 1.21%
Naomi Bracy (No Party) .76%
Maryland Charles Mathias, Jr. Republican Re-elected Charles Mathias, Jr. (Republican) 66.2%
Edward T. Conroy (Democratic) 33.8%
Missouri Thomas Eagleton Democratic Re-elected Thomas Eagleton (Democratic) 52.0%
Gene McNary (Republican) 47.7%
Martha Pettit (Socialist Workers) 0.3%
Nevada Paul Laxalt Republican Re-elected Paul Laxalt (Republican) 58.5%
Mary Gojack (Democratic) 37.4%
New Hampshire John A. Durkin Democratic Lost re-election
Republican gain
Warren Rudman (Republican) 52.1%
John A. Durkin (Democratic) 47.8%
New York Jacob K. Javits Republican Lost re-nomination, lost re-election as the Liberal Party of New York nominee.
Republican hold
Al D'Amato (Republican) 44.9%
Elizabeth Holtzman (Democratic) 43.5%
Jacob K. Javits (Liberal) 11.0%
Richard Savadel (Libertarian) 0.36%
William R. Scott (Communist) 0.07%
Thomas Soto (Workers World) 0.06%
Victor A. Nieto (Socialist Workers) 0.06%
North Carolina Robert Burren Morgan Democratic Lost re-election
Republican gain
John Porter East (Republican) 50.0%
Robert Burren Morgan (Democratic) 49.4%
North Dakota Milton Young Republican Retired
Republican hold
Mark Andrews (Republican) 70.3%
Kent Johanneson (Democratic) 29.0%
Harley McLain (Independent) 0.5%
Don J. Klingensmith (Independent) 0.2%
Ohio John Glenn Democratic Re-elected John Glenn (Democratic) 68.8%
James E. Betts (Republican) 28.2%
John E. Powers (Independent) 1.9%
Rick Nagin (Independent) 1.1%
Oklahoma Henry Bellmon Republican Retired
Republican hold
Don Nickles (Republican) 53.5%
Andrew Coats (Democratic) 43.5%
Charles R. Nesbitt (Independent) 1.9%
Robert T. Murphy (Libertarian) 0.9%
Paul E. Trent (Independent) 0.2%
Oregon Bob Packwood Republican Re-elected Bob Packwood (Republican) 52.1%
Ted Kulongoski (Democratic) 44.0%
Theodora Nathalia Nathan (Libertarian) 3.8%
Pennsylvania Richard Schweiker Republican Retired
Republican hold
Arlen Specter (Republican) 50.5%
Pete Flaherty (Democratic) 48.0%
South Carolina Ernest Hollings Democratic Re-elected Ernest Hollings (Democratic) 70.4%
Marshall T. Mays (Republican) 29.6%
South Dakota George McGovern Democratic Lost re-election
Republican gain
James Abdnor (Republican) 58.2%
George McGovern (Democratic) 39.4%
Wayne Peterson (Independent) 2.4%
Utah Jake Garn Republican Re-elected Jake Garn (Republican) 73.6%
Dan Berman (Democratic) 25.5%
Vermont Patrick Leahy Democratic Re-elected Patrick Leahy (Democratic) 49.8%
Stewart M. Ledbetter (Republican) 48.5%
Washington Warren G. Magnuson Democratic Lost re-election
Republican gain
Slade Gorton (Republican) 54.2%
Warren G. Magnuson (Democratic) 45.8%
Wisconsin Gaylord Nelson Democratic Lost re-election
Republican gain
Bob Kasten (Republican) 50.2%
Gaylord Nelson (Democratic) 48.3%

See also[edit]