United States Senate elections, 2004

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United States Senate elections, 2004
United States
← 2002 November 2, 2004 2006 →

Class 3 (34 of the 100) seats in the United States Senate
51 seats needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party
  Bill Frist official photo (cropped).jpg Tom Daschle, official Senate photo.jpg
Leader Bill Frist Tom Daschle (defeated)
Party Republican Democratic
Leader since January 3, 2003 January 3, 1995
Leader's seat Tennessee South Dakota
Seats before 51 48
Seats after 55 44
Seat change Increase 4 Decrease 4
Popular vote 39,920,562 44,754,618
Percentage 45.3% 50.8%
Swing Decrease 4.2% Increase 5.3%
Seats up 15 19
Races won 19 15

  Third party
 
Party Independent
Seats before 1
Seats after 1
Seat change Steady
Popular vote 186,231
Percentage 0.2%
Seats up 0
Races won 0

2004 Senate election map.svg
Results of November elections
     Democratic gain      Democratic hold
     Republican gain      Republican hold

Majority Leader before election

Bill Frist
Republican

Elected Majority Leader

Bill Frist
Republican

The United States Senate elections of 2004 were elections for one-third of the seats in the United States Senate which coincided with the re-election of George W. Bush as president and the United States House election, as well as many state and local elections. Senators who were elected in 1998, known as Senate Class 3, were seeking re-election or retiring in 2004. This was the third consecutive election for Senate Class 3 where the Democrats failed to end up with a net gain. This also marked the first time since 1980 in which a presidential candidate from either party won with coattails in the Senate. As of 2017, these are the last elections held during a Presidential election year in which the Republicans made a net gain of seats.

Gains and losses[edit]

Republicans won six seats but lost two themselves, giving them a net gain of four seats: conservative Democrat Zell Miller of Georgia, who campaigned for President Bush, chose not to run for re-election and Republican Johnny Isakson won his seat; Democrat Fritz Hollings of South Carolina chose not to run for re-election and Republican Jim DeMint succeeded him; Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards did not run for re-election and Republican Richard Burr won his North Carolina seat; Democrat Bob Graham of Florida chose not to run for re-election, and his seat went to Republican Mel Martinez; Democrat John Breaux chose not to run for re-election and Republican David Vitter won his seat, and in South Dakota, Republican John Thune defeated the incumbent Senate minority leader Tom Daschle, the first time since 1952 that a sitting party leader lost re-election. Republican Senator Peter Fitzgerald of Illinois chose not to run for re-election and Democrat Barack Obama won in a landslide, becoming the Senate's only black member and only the third popularly elected since Reconstruction. Also, Republican Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado chose not to run for re-election and Democrat Ken Salazar won the open seat.

Results summary[edit]

44 1 55
Democratic Independent Republican


Summary of the United States Senate elections, 2004 results [edit]

Parties Total
Democratic Republican Independent Libertarian Others
Before these elections 48 51 1 100
End of this Congress (two months later) 48 51 1 100
Not Up 29 36 1 66
Up 19 15 34
Incumbent
retired
Held by same party 1 1
Replaced by other party Decrease 2 Republicans
replaced by
Increase 2 Democrats
Decrease 5 Democrats
replaced by
Increase 5 Republicans
IncreaseDecrease 7
Incumbent
ran
Won re-election 13 12 25
Lost re-election Decrease 1 Democrat
replaced by
Increase 1 Republican
IncreaseDecrease 1
Lost renomination, held by same party 0
Lost renomination, and party lost 0
Total held 13 13 26
Total not held / gained Decrease 2 Increase 4 IncreaseDecrease 6
Total elected 15 19 34
Result 44 55 1 100
Popular
vote
Votes 44,754,618 39,920,562 186,231 754,861 2,481,075 88,097,347
Share 50.8% 45.3% 0.21% 0.86% 2.82% 100%

Sources:

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
Ran
D40
Ran
D39
Ran
D38
Ran
D37
Ran
D36
Ran
D35
Ran
D34
Ran
D33
Ran
D32
Ran
D31
Ran
D41
Ran
D42
Ran
D43
Ran
D44
Retired
D45
Retired
D46
Retired
D47
Retired
D48
Retired
I1 R51
Retired
Majority →
R41
Ran
R42
Ran
R43
Ran
R44
Ran
R45
Ran
R46
Ran
R47
Ran
R48
Ran
R49
Retired
R50
Retired
R40
Ran
R39
Ran
R38
Ran
R37
Ran
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

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
Re-elected
D40
Re-elected
D39
Re-elected
D38
Re-elected
D37
Re-elected
D36
Re-elected
D35
Re-elected
D34
Re-elected
D33
Re-elected
D32
Re-elected
D31
Re-elected
D41
Re-elected
D42
Re-elected
D43
Gain
D44
Gain
I1 R55
Gain
R54
Gain
R53
Gain
R52
Gain
R51
Gain
Majority →
R41
Re-elected
R42
Re-elected
R43
Re-elected
R44
Re-elected
R45
Re-elected
R46
Re-elected
R47
Re-elected
R48
Re-elected
R49
Hold
R50
Gain
R40
Re-elected
R39
Re-elected
R38
Re-elected
R37
Re-elected
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
I# Independent
R# Republican

Political parties[edit]

Senate composition following the 2004 elections.

The Senate, as of the pre-election 108th Congress, was composed of 51 Republicans, 48 Democrats, and 1 independent. (The independent, Jim Jeffords of Vermont, was allied with the Democratic caucus and had voted with Democrats to give them the majority in the past.) The Democrats, therefore, needed to make a net gain of at least two seats from retiring or incumbent Republicans to gain control of the Senate (one seat if Kerry won the presidency). In the election, incumbent senators won reelection in all races but one (Democratic leader Tom Daschle, in South Dakota, lost to Republican John Thune). The seats of retiring senators were taken by the opposing party in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, North Carolina, and South Carolina. In fact, the only retiring senator whose seat was taken by a member of his party was Republican Don Nickles of Oklahoma, who was succeeded by Tom Coburn.

Republicans gained four seats in the 2004 elections, and entered the 109th Congress with a 55-44-1 lead. While such a majority is formidable, it is still less than the 60 seats needed to override a filibuster and completely control the body's agenda and procedures.

Major parties[edit]

One Republican seat, that of retiring Senator Peter Fitzgerald in Illinois, was easily taken by Democrat Barack Obama, who would be elected President of the United States four years later. In Colorado, retiring Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell's seat was narrowly taken by Democrat Ken Salazar. In Alaska, Republican Lisa Murkowski won reelection in a tight race. In Oklahoma, Tom Coburn kept Don Nickles' seat in Republican hands, while in Kentucky, Republican Jim Bunning won a second term by a very narrow margin.

The Democrats' prospects were weakened by the fact that five of their six incumbent Senators in Southern states were retiring (the sixth, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, easily won reelection). Retiring Georgia Sen. Zell Miller's seat, contested by Denise Majette, was lost in a landslide, as was that of South Carolina Sen. Ernest Hollings. In North Carolina, Democrat Erskine Bowles lost John Edwards's seat to Republican Richard Burr. Especially close races in Florida, Louisiana, and South Dakota all resulted in turnovers to the Republicans.

Third and minor parties[edit]

The Libertarian, Constitution, and Green parties contested many of the seats. No candidate from any of these parties received sufficient support to achieve election, but some may have affected the outcome of the Alaska and Florida races by drawing votes away from the major party candidates. Of the 34 senate seats up for grabs, the Libertarians ran candidates in 20 of the races, the Constitutionalists ran 10 candidates, and the Greens ran 7 candidates.

Minor parties in a number of states contested one or more Senate seats. Examples include the America First Party, the Labor Party, the Peace and Freedom Party, and the Socialist Workers Party. None of these parties gained a seat in this election nor received a significant number of votes.

Race summary[edit]

Special elections during the 108th Congress[edit]

There were no special elections during the 108th Congress.

Elections leading to the next Congress[edit]

In these general elections, the winners were elected for the term beginning January 3, 2005; ordered by state.

All of the elections involved the Class 3 seats.

State
(linked to
summaries below)
Incumbent Results Candidates
Senator Party Electoral history
Alabama Shelby, RichardRichard Shelby Republican 1986
1992
1998
Incumbent re-elected. Richard Shelby (Republican) 68%
Wayne Sowell (Democratic) 32%
Alaska Murkowski, LisaLisa Murkowski Republican 2002 (Appointed) Interim appointee elected. Lisa Murkowski (Republican) 48.6%
Tony Knowles (Democratic) 45.5%
Marc Millican (Independent) 2.9%
Jerry Sanders (Alaskan Independence) 1.2%
Jim Sykes (Green) 1%
Scott Kohlhaas (Libertarian Party) 0.4%
Arizona McCain, JohnJohn McCain Republican 1986
1992
1998
Incumbent re-elected. John McCain (Republican) 76%
Stuart Starky (Democratic) 21%
Ernest Hancock (Libertarian) 3%
Arkansas Lincoln, BlancheBlanche Lincoln Democratic 1998 Incumbent re-elected. Blanche Lincoln (Democratic) 56%
Jim Holt (Republican) 44%
California Boxer, BarbaraBarbara Boxer Democratic 1992
1998
Incumbent re-elected. Barbara Boxer (Democratic) 57.7%
Bill Jones (Republican) 37.8%
Marsha Feinland (Peace and Freedom) 2%
James P. Gray (Libertarian) 1.8%
Don J. Grundmann (Constitution) 0.7%
Colorado Campbell, Ben NighthorseBen Nighthorse Campbell Republican 1992
1998
Incumbent retired.
New senator elected.
Democratic gain.
Ken Salazar (Democratic) 51.3%
Pete Coors (Republican) 46.5%
Doug Cambell (Constitution) 1%
Richard Randall (Libertarian) 0.5%
John Harris (Independent) 0.4%
Victor Good (Reform Party) 0.3%
Connecticut Dodd, ChrisChris Dodd Democratic 1980
1986
1992
1998
Incumbent re-elected. Chris Dodd (Democratic) 66.4%
Jack Orchulli (Republican) 32.1%
Timothy Knibbs (C) 0.9%
Lenny Rasch (L) 0.6%
Florida Graham, BobBob Graham Democratic 1986
1992
1998
Incumbent retired.
New senator elected.
Republican gain.
Mel Martinez (Republican) 49.5%
Betty Castor (Democratic) 48.3%
Dennis Bradley (Veterans) 2.2%
Georgia Miller, ZellZell Miller Democratic 2000 (Appointed)
2000 (Special)
Incumbent retired.
New senator elected.
Republican gain.
Johnny Isakson (Republican) 57.9%
Denise Majette (Democratic) 40%
Allen Buckley (Libertarian) 2.1%
Hawaii Inouye, DanielDaniel Inouye Democratic 1962
1968
1974
1980
1986
1992
1998
Incumbent re-elected. Daniel Inouye (Democratic) 75.5%
Campbell Cavasso (Republican) 21%
James Brewer (Independent) 2.2%
Lloyd Mallan (Libertarian) 1.3%
Idaho Crapo, MikeMike Crapo Republican 1998 Incumbent re-elected. Mike Crapo (Republican) 99.2%
Scott McClure (write-in) (Democratic) 0.8%
Illinois Fitzgerald, PeterPeter Fitzgerald Republican 2004 Incumbent retired.
New senator elected.
Democratic gain.
Barack Obama (Democratic) 70%
Alan Keyes (Republican) 27%
Albert Franzen (Independent) 1.6%
Jerry Kohn (Libertarian) 1.3%
Indiana Bayh, EvanEvan Bayh Democratic 1998 Incumbent re-elected. Evan Bayh (Democratic) 62%
Marvin Scott (Republican) 37%
Albert Barger (Libertarian) 1%
Iowa Grassley, ChuckChuck Grassley Republican 1980
1986
1992
1998
Incumbent re-elected. Chuck Grassley (Republican) 70.1%
Arthur Small (Democratic) 27.9%
Christy Welty (Libertarian) 1%
Daryl Northrop (Green) 0.8%
Edwin Fruit (Socialist Workers) 0.1%
Kansas Brownback, SamSam Brownback Republican 1996 (Special)
1998
Incumbent re-elected. Sam Brownback (Republican) 69%
Lee Jones (Democratic) 28%
Stephen A. Rosile (Libertarian) 2%
George Cook (Reform) 1%
Kentucky Bunning, JimJim Bunning Republican 1998 Incumbent re-elected. Jim Bunning (Republican) 51%
Daniel Mongiardo (Democratic) 49%
Louisiana Breaux, JohnJohn Breaux Democratic 1986
1992
1998
Incumbent retired.
New senator elected.
Republican gain.
David Vitter (Republican) 51%
Chris John (Democratic) 29%
John N. Kennedy (Democratic) 15%
Arthur Morrell (Democratic) 3%
Richard Fontanesi (Independent) 1%
R.A. Galan (Independent) 1%
Sam Melton (Democratic) 1%
Maryland Mikulski, BarbaraBarbara Mikulski Democratic 1986
1992
1998
Incumbent re-elected. Barbara Mikulski (Democratic) 64.8%
E. J. Pipkin (Republican) 33.7%
Maria Allwine (Green) 1.1%
Thomas Trump (Constitution) 0.4%
Missouri Bond, KitKit Bond Republican 1986
1992
1998
Incumbent re-elected. Kit Bond (Republican) 56%
Nancy Farmer (Democratic) 42.8%
Kevin Tull (Libertarian) 0.7%
Don Griffin (Constitution) 0.4%
Nevada Reid, HarryHarry Reid Democratic 1986
1992
1998
Incumbent re-elected. Harry Reid (Democratic) 61.1%
Richard Ziser (Republican) 35.1%
None of These Candidates 1.6%
Tomas Hurst (Libertarian) 1.2%
David Schumann (Constitution) 0.7%
Gary Marinch (Natural Law) 0.3%
New Hampshire Gregg, JuddJudd Gregg Republican 1992
1998
Incumbent re-elected. Judd Gregg (Republican) 66%
Doris Haddock (Democratic) 34%
New York Schumer, ChuckChuck Schumer Democratic 1998 Incumbent re-elected. Chuck Schumer (Democratic) 71.16%
Howard Mills III (Republican) 24.24%
Marilyn O'Grady (Conservative) 3%
David McReynolds (Green) 0.5%
Donald Silberger (Libertarian) 0.3%
Abraham Hirschfeld (Builders Party) 0.2%
Martin Koppel (Socialist Workers) 0.2%
North Carolina Edwards, JohnJohn Edwards Democratic 1998 Incumbent retired.
New senator elected.
Republican gain.
Richard Burr (Republican) 52%
Erskine Bowles (Democratic) 47%
Tom Bailey (Libertarian) 1%
North Dakota Dorgan, ByronByron Dorgan Democratic-NPL 1992
1998
Incumbent re-elected. Byron Dorgan (Democratic-NPL) 68%
Mike Liffrig (Republican) 32%
Ohio Voinovich, GeorgeGeorge Voinovich Republican 1998 Incumbent re-elected. George Voinovich (Republican) 63.9%
Eric Fingerhut (Democratic) 36.1%
Oklahoma Nickles, DonDon Nickles Republican 1980
1986
1992
1998
Incumbent retired.
New senator elected.
Republican hold.
Tom Coburn (Republican) 52.8%
Brad Carson (Democratic) 41.2%
Sheila Bilyeu (Independent) 6%
Oregon Wyden, RonRon Wyden Democratic 1996 (Special)
1998
Incumbent re-elected. Ron Wyden (Democratic) 63.4%
Al King (Republican) 31.8%
Teresa Keane (Green) 2.4%
Dan Fitzgerald (Libertarian) 1.7%
David Brownlow (Constitution) 0.7%
Pennsylvania Specter, ArlenArlen Specter Republican 1980
1986
1992
1998
Incumbent re-elected. Arlen Specter (Republican) 52.6%
Joe Hoeffel (Democratic) 42%
Jim Clymer (Constitution) 4%
Betsy Summers (Libertarian) 1.4%
South Carolina Hollings, ErnestErnest Hollings Democratic 1966 (Appointed)
1968
1974
1980
1986
1992
1998
Incumbent retired.
New senator elected.
Republican gain.
Jim DeMint (Republican) 53.7%
Inez Tenenbaum (Democratic) 44.1%
Patrick Tyndall (Constitution) 0.8%
Rebekah Sutherland (Libertarian) 0.7%
Tee Ferguson (United Citizens Party) 0.4%
Efia Nwangaza (Green) 0.3%
South Dakota Daschle, TomTom Daschle Democratic 1986
1992
1998
Incumbent lost re-election.
New senator elected.
Republican gain.
John Thune (Republican) 50.5%
Tom Daschle (Democratic) 49.4%
Utah Bennett, BobBob Bennett Republican 1992
1998
Incumbent re-elected. Robert Foster Bennett (Republican) 68.7%
Paul Van Dam (Democratic) 28.4%
Gary R. Van Horn (Constitution) 1.9%
Joe Labonte (Personal Choice) 1%
Vermont Leahy, PatrickPatrick Leahy Democratic 1974
1980
1986
1992
1998
Incumbent re-elected. Patrick Leahy (Democratic) 70.6%
Jack McMullen (Republican) 24.5%
Cris Ericson (Marijuana) 2.1%
Craig Hill (Green) 1.3%
Keith Stern (independent) 1.1%
Ben Mitchell (Liberty Union) 0.3%
Washington Murray, PattyPatty Murray Democratic 1992
1998
Incumbent re-elected. Patty Murray (Democratic) 55%
George Nethercutt (Republican) 42.7%
J. Mills (Libertarian) 1.2%
Mark Wilson (Green) 1.1%
Wisconsin Feingold, RussRuss Feingold Democratic 1992
1998
Incumbent re-elected. Russ Feingold (Democratic) 55.4%
Tim Michels (Republican) 44.1%
Arif Khan (Libertarian) 0.3%
Eugene A. Hem (Independent) 0.2%

Special elections during the 109th Congress[edit]

There were no special elections in 2005 after January 3.

Alabama[edit]

Alabama Election
Alabama
← 1998
2010 →
  Richard Shelby official portrait.JPG No image.png
Nominee Richard Shelby Wayne Sowell
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 1,242,200 595,018
Percentage 67.6% 32.4%

Alabama senate election 2004.PNG
County Results

U.S. Senator before election

Richard Shelby
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Richard Shelby
Republican

Incumbent Republican Richard Shelby won re-election to a fourth term over Democratic perennial candidate Wayne Sowell

Shelby, who switched parties ten years prior, had over $11 million cash on hand.[1] Shelby was Chairman of the Banking Committee.[2] Wayne Sowell became the first black U.S. Senate nominee of a major party in Alabama.[3]

Alabama General Election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Richard Shelby 1,242,038[4] 67.6
Democratic Wayne Sowell 594,439 32.4
Independent Write Ins 1,848 0.1
Total votes 1,836,477 100.0
Voter turnout N/A%

Alaska[edit]

Alaska Election
Alaska
← 1998
2010 →
  Lisa Murkowski.jpg GovTonyKnowles.jpg
Nominee Lisa Murkowski Tony Knowles
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 149,773 140,424
Percentage 48.9% 45.5%

U.S. Senator before election

Lisa Murkowski
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Lisa Murkowski
Republican

Incumbent Republican Lisa Murkowski of Anchorage, sought election to her first full term after being appointed to serve out the rest of her father's unexpired term when he resigned in December 2002 to become Governor of Alaska. Her main challenger was Democratic former Governor Tony Knowles, her father's predecessor as governor. Murkowski won by a slight margin.

Although Alaska is heavily Republican, popular opinion had swung against the Murkowski family because of a tax increase passed by Governor Frank Murkowski, Lisa Murkowski's father. In addition, many voters disapproved of apparent nepotism in the appointment of Lisa Murkowski to the Senate. Knowles, who as mentioned above preceded Frank Murkowski as governor, had enlisted extensive out-of-state support for his bid to take over Lisa Murkowski's Senate seat. However, veteran Republican Senator Ted Stevens taped advertisements warning Alaskans that electing a Democrat could result in less federal dollars for Alaska.

Democratic Primary Election[5]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Tony Knowles 40,881 95.0
Democratic Don Wright 1,080 2.5
Democratic Theresa Obermeyer 1,045 2.4
Total votes 43,006 100.0
Republican Primary Election[5]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Lisa Murkowski (Incumbent) 45,710 58.1
Republican Mike Miller 29,313 37.3
Republican Wev Shea 2,857 3.6
Republican Jim Dore 748 0.9
Total votes 78,628 100.0

Lisa Murkowski had very low approval ratings as senator due to her father, Frank Murkowski, who at the time was the Governor of Alaska with extremely low approval ratings himself. Former Governor Tony Knowles ran against Murkowski. He ran as a Democrat who supported drilling in ANWR, in contrast to most Democrats. Ted Stevens tried to "rescue" her campaign and help her maintain her seat.[6]

Alaska General Election[7]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Lisa Murkowski (Incumbent) 149,773 48.58 -25.91%
Democratic Tony Knowles 140,424 45.55 +25.82%
Independent Marc J. Millican 8,885 2.88
Alaskan Independence Jerry Sanders 3,785 1.23
Green Jim Sykes 3,053 0.99 2.22%
Libertarian Scott A. Kohlhaas 1,240 0.40 -1.87%
Independent Ted Gianoutsas 732 0.24
Write-ins 423 0.14
Majority 9,349 3.03 -51.74%
Turnout 308,315

Arizona[edit]

Arizona Election
Arizona
← 1998
2010 →
  John McCain official photo portrait.JPG No image.png
Nominee John McCain Stuart Starky
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 1,505,372 404,507
Percentage 76.7% 20.6%

2004 Arizona.png
U.S. Senate election results map.
Red denotes counties won by McCain.

U.S. Senator before election

John McCain
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

John McCain
Republican

Incumbent Republican John McCain won re-election to a fourth term with his largest victory over Democratic teacher Stuart Starky.[8]

Since 1998, McCain challenged Texas Governor George W. Bush in the Presidential primary and despite winning the New Hampshire primary, he lost the nomination. Solidifying his image as a maverick, he voted against the Bush tax cuts. He supported limits on stem cell research. He had a lopsided favorable ratings of 39% to 9% unfavorable in the most recent New York Times/CBS News poll.

Stuart Starky, an eighth-grade teacher in South Phoenix, was widely known as a long-shot challenger. Starky stated that "I truly believe he's going to run for president again."[9] Starky was called by The Arizona Republic a "sacrificial lamb"[10] put on ballot because there were no chances to beat McCain. During his campaign, he debated McCain twice, once in Tucson and once in Flagstaff. He was also featured on the cover of Teacher Magazine, dubbed the "Unsinkable Stu Starky." Starky was defeated in a landslide. But, despite the relatively low percentage, he gained the highest vote per dollar amount in the country, spending only about $15,000 for his campaign (Starky's campaign may have been aided by John Kerry running for president).[11]

Arizona General Election[12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican John McCain (Incumbent) 1,505,372 76.74 +7.99%
Democratic Stuart Starky 404,507 20.62 -6.54%
Libertarian Ernest Hancock 51,798 2.64 +0.37%
Majority 1,100,865 56.12 +14.54%
Turnout 1,961,677
United States Senate election in Arkansas, 2004
Arkansas
← 1998 November 2, 2004 2010 →
  Blanche Lincoln official portrait.jpg Jim Holt2.JPG
Nominee Blanche Lincoln Jim Holt
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 580,973 458,036
Percentage 55.9% 44.1%

Arkansas senate 2004.PNG
County Results

Senator before election

Blanche Lincoln
Democratic

Elected Senator

Blanche Lincoln
Democratic

Incumbent Democrat Blanche Lincoln ran for re-election. Lincoln won re-election over Republican State Senator Jim Holt while President George W. Bush carried the state with almost the same margin of victory.

The Democratic Party held super-majority status in the Arkansas General Assembly. A majority of local and statewide offices were also held by Democrats. This was rare in the modern South, where a majority of statewide offices are held by Republicans. Arkansas had the distinction in 1992 of being the only state in the country to give the majority of its vote to a single candidate in the presidential election—native son Bill Clinton—while every other state's electoral votes were won by pluralities of the vote among the three candidates. Arkansas has become more reliably Republican in presidential elections in recent years. The state voted for John McCain in 2008 by a margin of 20 percentage points, making it one of the few states in the country to vote more Republican than it had in 2004. (The others being Louisiana, Tennessee, Oklahoma and West Virginia.)[13] Obama's relatively poor showing in Arkansas was likely due to a lack of enthusiasm from state Democrats following former Arkansas First Lady Hillary Clinton's failure to win the nomination, and his relatively poor performance among rural white voters (Clinton, however, herself lost the state by an even greater margin as the Democratic nominee in 2016).

Democrats had an overwhelming majority of registered voters, the Democratic Party of Arkansas is more conservative than the national entity. Two of Arkansas' three Democratic Representatives are members of the Blue Dog Coalition, which tends to be more pro-business, pro-military, and socially conservative than the center-left Democratic mainstream. Reflecting the state's large evangelical population, the state has a strong social conservative bent.

Republican Primary Election[14]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jim Holt 37,254 68.9
Republican Andy Lee 10,709 19.8
Republican Rosemarie Clampitt 6,078 11.3
Total votes 54,041 100.0

Lincoln was a popular incumbent. In March, she an approval rating of 55%.[15] Lincoln calls herself an advocate for rural America, having grown up on a farm herself. Holt is from Northwest Arkansas, who also lives on a farm.[16] Holt was widely known as a long shot. By the end of June, he only raised $29,000, while Lincoln had over $5 million cash on hand.[17] Holt tried to make gay marriage a major issue, because defining marriage was on the ballot. He even said "it is the most important issue, I believe, in America."[18]

Arkansas Senate election 2004
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Blanche Lincoln (Incumbent) 580,973 55.9
Republican Jim Holt 458,036 44.1
Independent Write Ins 340 0.0

California[edit]

California Election
California
← 1998
2010 →
  Barbara Boxer, Official Portrait, 112th Congress.jpg Bill Jones of California.jpg
Nominee Barbara Boxer Bill Jones
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 6,955,728 4,555,922
Percentage 57.7% 37.8%

CA2004SenCounties.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Barbara Boxer
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Barbara Boxer
Democratic

Incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer defeated Republican former Secretary of State Bill Jones. Boxer's 6.96 million votes set the record for the most votes cast for one candidate in one state in one election, until it was surpassed by Senator Dianne Feinstein's 7.75 million votes in 2012.

Democratic Primary Election
Candidate Votes Percentage
Barbara Boxer (Incumbent) 2,566,298 100.00%
Republican Primary Election
Candidate Votes Percentage
Bill Jones 1,015,748 44.81%
Rosario Marin 454,176 20.03%
Howard Kaloogian 253,331 11.17%
Toni Casey 142,080 6.27%
Tim Stoen 124,940 5.51%
James Stewart 78,264 3.45%
Barry L. Hatch 71,244 3.14%
John M. Van Zandt 56,925 2.51%
Danney Ball 37,745 1.66%
Bill Quraishi 32,515 1.43%
Total votes 2,266,968 100.00%
American Independent primary
Candidate Votes Percentage
Don J. Grundmann 32,025 100.00%
Libertarian primary
Candidate Votes Percentage
Jim Gray 13,656 57.30%
Gail Lightfoot 10,177 42.70%
Total votes 23,833 100.00%
Peace and Freedom primary
Candidate Votes Percentage
Marsha Feinland 4,864 100.00%

Boxer originally had decided to retire in 2004 but changed her mind to "fight for the right to dissent" against conservatives like Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Jones was widely considered as the underdog.[19] Jones got a major endorsement form the popular Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.[20] The two major candidates had a debate. Pre-election polling had Boxer leading in double digits.[21] But he never released a single TV ad. Boxer portrayed Jones as too conservative for California, citing his votes in the California Assembly (1982 to 1994) against gun control, increased minimum wage, support for offshore drilling, and a loosening of environmental regulations.[22]

Jones raised about $700,000 more than Boxer during the third quarter, pulling in $2.5 million to Boxer's $1.8 million. But overall, Boxer has raised $16 million to Jones' $6.2 million. And Boxer has spent about $7 million on radio and television ads alone.[23]

The election was not close, with Boxer winning by an authoritative 20 point margin. Jones only performed well in rural parts of the state. Boxer on the other hand won almost all major metropolitan areas in the state. The race was called right when the polls closed at 11:00 P.M. EST, and 7:00 P.M. PTZ. Jones conceded defeat to Boxer at 11:12 P.M. EST, and 7:12 PTZ.

California General Election[24]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Barbara Boxer (Incumbent) 6,955,728 57.71
Republican Bill Jones 4,555,922 37.80
Peace and Freedom Marsha Feinland 243,846 2.02
Libertarian James P. "Jim" Gray 216,522 1.80
American Independent Don J. Grundmann 81,244 0.67
No party Dennis Richter (write-in) 43 0.00%
No party Howard Johnson (write-in) 8 0.00%
No party John Emery Jones (write-in) 2 0.00%
Invalid or blank votes 536,388 4.26
Total votes 12,589,703 100.00
Voter turnout 57.03%

Colorado[edit]

Colorado Election
Colorado
← 1998
2010 →
  Ken Salazar official DOI portrait.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Ken Salazar Pete Coors
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 1,081,188 980,668
Percentage 51.3% 47.4%

Colorado 2004 senate.PNG
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Ben Nighthorse Campbell
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Ken Salazar
Democratic

Incumbent Republican Ben Nighthorse Campbell decided to retire instead of seeking a third term. The Democratic Attorney General of Colorado Ken Salazar won the open seat.

Before Campbell's retirement, no prominent Democrat had entered the race, with educator Mike Miles and businessman Rutt Bridges pursuing the Democratic nomination. After Campbell's retirement, many expected popular Republican Governor Bill Owens to enter the race[citation needed], however he declined to run. Campbell's retirement and Owens' decision not to run prompted a number of prominent Democrats to reexamine the race[citation needed].

On March 10, the same day Owens announced he would not run, U.S. Congressman Mark Udall entered the race[citation needed]. The next day, state Attorney General Ken Salazar entered the race[citation needed], leading Udall to immediately withdraw and endorse him[citation needed]. Salazar lost to Mike Miles at the State nominating convention. In spite of this loss, the national Democratic Party backed Salazar with contributions from the DSCC and promotion of Salazar as the only primary candidate[citation needed].

Democratic Primary Election[25]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ken Salazar 173,167 73.02
Democratic Mike Miles 63,973 26.98
Total votes 237,140 100.00

The two candidates got into an ideological battle, as U.S. Representative Bob Schaffer attacked Pete Coors, former CEO and Chairman of Coors Brewing Company, because his company had provided benefits to the partners of its gay and lesbian employees, in addition to promoting its beer in gay bars. Coors defended himself by saying that he was opposed to same-sex marriage, and supported a constitutional amendment to ban it, although he noted that he supported civil unions for gay couples. According to the Rocky Mountain News, Coors described his company's pro-LGBT practices as "good business, separate from politics."[26] Coors defeated Schaffer with 61% of the vote in the primary, with many analysts citing his high name recognition in the state as a primary factor[citation needed].

Republican Primary Election[27]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Pete Coors 203,157 60.57
Republican Bob Schaffer 132,274 39.43
Total votes 335,431 100.00

Pete Coors ran as a moderate conservative. However, Salazar was also a moderate and a highly popular State Attorney General.[28] Coors is also a great-grandson of Adolph Coors, founder of the brewing company. His father is Joseph Coors, President of the company and founding member of the conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation. Salazar narrowly won the open seat. It was one of only two Democratic pickups in the 2004 Senate elections (Illinois was the other).

According to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics (CPS), Coors gave his own campaign $1,213,657 and received individual donations of $60,550 from other Coors family members[citation needed].

A state record of over $11 million was raised during the election.[29]

Colorado General Election[30]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Ken Salazar 1,081,188 51.30 +16.29%
Republican Pete Coors 980,668 46.53 -15.96%
Constitution Douglas Campbell 18,783 0.89 +0.15%
Libertarian Richard Randall 10,160 0.48
Independent John R. Harris 8,442 0.40
Reform Victor Good 6,481 0.31
Independent Finn Gotaas 1,750 0.08
Majority 100,520 4.77 -22.70%
Turnout 2,107,472
United States Senate election in Connecticut, 2004
Connecticut
← 1998 November 2, 2004 2010 →
  Christopher Dodd official portrait 2-cropped.jpg Jack Orchulli cropped.jpg
Nominee Chris Dodd Jack Orchulli
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 945,347 457,749
Percentage 66.4% 32.1%

Connecticut Election Results by County, all Democratic.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Chris Dodd
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Chris Dodd
Democratic

Incumbent Democrat Chris Dodd won re-election for a fifth term, beating Republican Jack Orchulli, CEO and Co-Founder of an Michael Kors's apparel company[31]

Chris Dodd was one of the most powerful senators in congress. In the election cycle, Dodd raised over $7 million. His top five contributors were Bear Stearns, Citigroup, National Westminster Bank, Lehman Brothers, and Goldman Sachs.[32]

Republican nominee, Jack Orchulli, ran as fiscal conservative and social moderate[citation needed]. He broke ranks with his party on gay marriage and abortion[citation needed]. That put him on the same side as most voters in the blue state of Connecticut[citation needed]. He often talked about a "broken education system." He argued that Dodd hasn't done anything in his 30 years in congress to fix such issues as traffic problems in Fairfield County.[33]

Orchulli launched a statewide TV ad campaign in September, as he spent over $1.1 million and pledged to spend "whatever it takes" if polls show he is gaining ground on Dodd.[34]

Connecticut General election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Chris Dodd (Incumbent) 945,347 66.4
Republican Jack Orchulli 457,749 32.1
Concerned Citizens Timothy Knibbs 12,442 0.9
Libertarian Leonard Rasch 9,188 0.6

Florida[edit]

Florida Election
Florida
← 1998
2010 →
  Mel Martinez.jpg Betty Castor (cropped).jpg
Nominee Mel Martínez Betty Castor
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 3,672,864 3,590,201
Percentage 49.4% 48.3%

United States Senate election in Florida, 2004.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Bob Graham
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Mel Martínez
Republican

Incumbent Democrat Bob Graham retired after three terms. The primary elections were held on August 31, 2004. Republican Mel Martínez won the open seat, beating Democrat Betty Castor, former President of the University of South Florida, former Education Commissioner of Florida, and former State Senator. Martínez a former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, was supported by the Bush Administration.

Democratic Primary Election[35]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Betty Castor 669,346 58.1
Democratic Peter Deutsch 321,922 27.9
Democratic Alex Penelas 115,898 10.1
Democratic Bernard E. Klein 45,347 3.9
Total votes 1,152,513 100.0%
Republican Primary Election[36]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Mel Martínez 522,994 44.9
Republican Bill McCollum 360,474 30.9
Republican Doug Gallagher 158,360 13.6
Republican Johnnie Byrd 68,982 5.9
Republican Karen Saull 20,365 1.8
Republican Sonya March 17,804 1.5
Republican Larry Klayman 13,257 1.1
Republican William Billy Kogut 3,695 0.3
Total votes 1,165,931 100.0%

Until the spring of 2004, Castor's fundraising was much slower than her Democratic and Republican rivals[citation needed]. In the spring, the campaign hired fundraising staff from the defunct presidential campaigns of Howard Dean and Bob Graham[citation needed], and subsequently posted much higher fundraising numbers over the summer[citation needed]. Online grassroots techniques devised for the Dean campaign (Castor became a Dean Dozen candidate in August[citation needed]) were one contributing factor[citation needed]: another was the support of EMILY's List[citation needed], which named Castor as its highest-rated candidate for the 2004 election cycle[citation needed], even when her support for banning intact dilation and extraction (D&X) abortions was not in line with the EMILY's List support for woman's issues[citation needed]. The latter was a source of criticism during the August primary heat - a complaint was filed by a Deutsch supporter with the Federal Election Commission accusing inappropriate coordination with EMILY's List[citation needed]. The complaint was dismissed by the Federal Election Commission in 2005[citation needed].

Castor's handling of Sami Al-Arian became another source of criticism during the campaign[citation needed]. In June, The American Democracy Project, a 527 group founded by Bernie Friedman[citation needed], began attacking Castor's handling of the incident, alleging that she had sufficient evidence to fire Al-Arian in the mid-1990s[citation needed]. Castor responded by stating that she never had sufficient evidence to fire Al-Arian, who was a tenured professor at the time[citation needed]. On June 29, Senator Graham, who had previously remained outside of the Al-Arian controversy, released a statement that "Betty Castor acted appropriately as President of the University of South Florida to deal with Sami Al-Arian"[citation needed]: later, Graham and Senator Bill Nelson brokered an agreement between the Democratic candidates to refrain from negative campaigning against each other[citation needed], although this agreement appeared to break down in the final weeks of the race, when Deutsch launched attack ads on television[citation needed].

Despite these controversies, Castor won the Democratic nomination on August 31. She was defeated, however, by Republican candidate Mel Martínez in a close race on November 2, 2004. The overwhelming support for Martínez among Latinos effectively counterbalanced Castor's relatively high popularity among swing voters throughout the state.

There was some speculation that Castor would run for Governor of Florida in 2006 to replace Jeb Bush, who was ineligible for re-election due to term limits, but she announced in 2005 that she would not be a candidate.

United States Senate election in Florida, 2004[37]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Melquíades Rafael Martínez Ruiz 3,672,864 49.43 +11.9%
Democratic Elizabeth Castor 3,590,201 48.32 -14.15%
Veterans Dennis F. Bradley 166,642 2.24 +2.24%
Write-ins 187 0.00 +0.0%
Majority 82,663 1.11 -23.83%
Turnout 7,429,894 70.92[38] +24.08%
Total votes 7,429,894 100.00 +3,529,732

Georgia[edit]

Georgia Election
Georgia (U.S. state)
← 2000
2010 →
  Johnny Isakson.jpg Majette-denise.jpg
Nominee Johnny Isakson Denise Majette
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 1,864,205 1,287,695
Percentage 57.9% 40.0%

04GASenateCounties.PNG
County Results

U.S. Senator before election

Zell Miller
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Johnny Isakson
Republican

Incumbent Democrat Zell Miller retired. Democratic U.S. Representative Denise Majette became both the first African American and the first woman to be nominated for the U.S. Senate in Georgia. Republican U.S. Representative Johnny Isakson won the open seat.

The results were almost a complete reversal from the previous election in 2000.

Majette's announcement that she would seek to replace Miller also caught Democrats by surprise, as she was not on anyone's call list when Democrats began seeking a candidate to replace Miller. Further skepticism among Democrats about the viability of her candidacy surfaced when she announced that "God" had told her to run for the Senate. She received important endorsements from U.S. Senators Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, along with many others in Washington who campaigned and raised money for Majette. Her Senate campaign slogan was "I'll be nobody's Senator, but yours."

A number of factors led to Majette's loss. These include her late start, her valuable time and money spent in the runoff, larger conservative turnout from a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages (which Majette opposed), the popularity of President George W. Bush in Georgia, and her lack of experience (being a one-term congresswoman).

Georgia General Election[39]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Johnny Isakson 1,864,205 57.88 +19.97%
Democratic Denise Majette 1,287,695 39.98 -18.22%
Libertarian Allen Buckley 69,051 2.14 +2.14%
Majority 576,510 17.90
Turnout 3,220,951

Hawaii[edit]

Hawaii Election
Hawaii
← 1998
2010 →
  Daniel Inouye, official Senate photo portrait, 2008.jpg Cam Cavasso.jpg
Nominee Daniel Inouye Cam Cavasso
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 313,629 87,172
Percentage 75.5% 21.0%

Hawaii Election Results by County, all Democratic.svg
County Results

U.S. Senator before election

Daniel Inouye
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Daniel Inouye
Democratic

Incumbent Democrat U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye won re-election to an eighth term over Republican, Campbell Cavasso, a former State Representative.

Inouye won every single county with at least 70% of the vote. His best performance was in Kauai County, where he won with an estimated 80%; also was Cavasso's weakest performance, getting just 16.5% of the vote there.

Hawaii General election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Daniel Inouye 313,629 75.5
Republican Campbell Cavasso 87,172 21.0
Independent Jim Brewer 9,269 2.2
Libertarian Lloyd Jeffrey Mallan 5,277 1.3

Idaho[edit]

Idaho Election
Idaho
← 1998
2010 →
  Mike Crapo official photo.jpg
Nominee Mike Crapo
Party Republican
Popular vote 499,796
Percentage 99.2%

Idaho R Sweep.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Mike Crapo
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Mike Crapo
Republican

Incumbent Republican Mike Crapo won a second term in a landslide after no one filed for the Democratic nomination. Democrat Scott McClure conducted a write-in campaign but only received 4,136 votes, or about 1% of those cast.

Republican Primary Election[40]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Mike Crapo (Incumbent) 118,286 100.00
Total votes 118,286 100.00%

Crapo won every county with over 90% of the vote. His weakest performance by far was in Latah County, where he got 95.6% of the vote to McClure's 4.4%.

United States Senate election in Idaho, 2004[41]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Mike Crapo (Incumbent) 499,796 99.18 +29.64%
Write-in candidate Scott McClure 4,136 0.82
Majority 495,660 98.36 +57.22%
Turnout 503,932

Illinois[edit]

Illinois Election
Illinois
← 1998
2010 →
  BarackObama2005portrait edit2.jpg Alan Keyes speech.jpg
Nominee Barack Obama Alan Keyes
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 3,597,456 1,390,690
Percentage 70.0% 27.0%

US Senate Election in Illinois 2004 Results.png
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Peter Fitzgerald
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Barack Obama
Democratic

Incumbent Republican Peter Fitzgerald decided to retire after one term. The Democratic and Republican primary elections were held in March, which included a total of 15 candidates who combined to spend a record total of over $60 million seeking the open seat.

State Senator Barack Obama won the Democratic primary and Jack Ryan won the Republican primary. Ryan later withdrew from the race four days after the Chicago Tribune persuaded a California court to release child custody records. The Illinois Republican State Central Committee chose former Diplomat Alan Keyes to replace Ryan as the Republican candidate.

The election was the first for the U.S. Senate in which both major party candidates were African American. Obama's 43% margin of victory was the largest in the state history of U.S. Senate elections. The inequality in the candidates spending for the fall elections – $14,244,768 by Obama and $2,545,325 by Keyes – is also among the largest in history in both absolute and relative terms.[42]

Obama-for-Senate float at the 2004 Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic

Fitzgerald's predecessor, Democrat Carol Moseley Braun, declined to run. Barack Obama, a member of the Illinois Senate since 1997 and an unsuccessful 2000 Democratic primary challenger to four-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush for Rush's U.S House seat, launched a campaign committee at the beginning of July 2002 to run for the U.S. Senate, 21 months before the March 2004 primary,[43] and two months later had David Axelrod lined up to do his campaign media.[44] Obama formally announced his candidacy on January 21, 2003,[45] four days after former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun announced she would not seek a rematch with U.S. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald.[46]

On April 15, 2003, with six Democrats already running and three Republicans threatening to run against him,[47] incumbent Fitzgerald announced he would not seek a second term in 2004,[48] and three weeks later popular Republican former Governor Jim Edgar declined to run,[49] leading to wide open Democratic and Republican primary races with 15 candidates, including 7 millionaires[50] (triggering the first application of the Millionaires' Amendment of the 2002 McCain–Feingold Act), in the most expensive Senate primary in U.S. history.[51]

Obama touted his legislative experience and early public opposition to the Iraq War to distinguish himself from his Democratic primary rivals. Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes won the endorsement of the AFL-CIO. Obama succeeded in obtaining the support of three of the state's largest and most active member unions: AFSCME, SEIU, and the Illinois Federation of Teachers. Hynes and multimillionaire former securities trader Blair Hull each won the endorsements of two of the nine Democratic Illinois members of the US House of Representatives. Obama had the endorsements of four: Jesse Jackson, Jr., Danny Davis, Lane Evans, and Jan Schakowsky.

Obama surged into the lead after he finally began television advertising in Chicago in the final three weeks of the campaign, which was expanded to downstate Illinois during the last six days of the campaign. The ads included strong endorsements by the five largest newspapers in Illinois—the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Daily Herald, The Rockford Register Star, and Peoria Journal Star—and a testimonial by Sheila Simon that Obama was "cut from that same cloth" as her father, the late former U.S. Senator Paul Simon, who had planned to endorse and campaign for Obama before his unexpected death in December 2003. [52][53][54][55][56][57]

On March 16, 2004, Obama won the Democratic primary by an unexpected landslide—receiving 53% of the vote, 29% ahead of his nearest Democratic rival, with a vote total that nearly equaled that of all eight Republican candidates combined—which overnight made him a rising star in the national Democratic Party, started speculation about a presidential future, and led to the reissue of his memoir, Dreams from My Father.[58][59][60][61][62][63][64][65][66][67][68][69][70][71][72][73][74][75][76][77][78][79][80][81] The Democratic primary election, including seven candidates who combined to spend over $46 million, was the most expensive U.S. Senate primary election in history.

Democratic Primary, United States Senate, March 16, 2004
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Barack Obama 655,923 52.8
Democratic Daniel W. Hynes 294,717 23.7
Democratic Blair Hull 134,453 10.8
Democratic Maria Pappas 74,987 6.0
Democratic Gery Chico 53,433 4.3
Democratic Nancy Skinner 16,098 1.3
Democratic Joyce Washington 13,375 1.1
Democratic Estella Johnson-Hunt (write-in) 10 0.0
Majority 361,206 29.4
Turnout 1,242,996

GOP frontrunner Jack Ryan had divorced actress Jeri Ryan in 1999, and the records of the divorce were sealed at their mutual request. Five years later, when Ryan's Senate campaign began, the Chicago Tribune newspaper and WLS-TV, the local ABC affiliate, sought to have the records released. On March 3, 2004, several of Ryan's GOP primary opponents urged Ryan to release the records.[82] Both Ryan and his wife agreed to make their divorce records public, but not make the child custody records public, claiming that the custody records could be harmful to their son if released. Ryan went on to win the GOP primary on March 16, 2004 defeating his nearest competitor, Jim Oberweis, by twelve percentage points.[83]

Ryan was a proponent of across-the-board tax cuts and tort reform, an effort to limit payout in medical malpractice lawsuits. He was also a proponent of school choice and supported vouchers for private school students.

Oberweis's 2004 campaign was notable for a television commercial where he flew in a helicopter over Chicago's Soldier Field, and claimed enough illegal immigrants came into America in a week (10,000 a day) to fill the stadium's 61,500 seats.[84][85] Oberweis was also fined $21,000 by the Federal Election Commission for a commercial for his dairy that ran during his 2004 Senate campaign. The FEC ruled that the commercial wrongly benefited his campaign and constituted a corporate contribution, thus violating campaign law.[86]

Republican Primary, March 16, 2004
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Jack Ryan 234,791 35.5
Republican Jim Oberweis 155,794 23.5
Republican Steven J. Rauschenberger 132,655 20.0
Republican Andrew McKenna 97,238 14.7
Republican Jonathan C. Wright 17,189 2.6
Republican John Borling 13,390 2.0
Republican Norm Hill 5,637 0.9
Republican Chirinjeev Kathuria 5,110 0.8
Majority 78,997 11.9
Turnout 661,804

As a result of the GOP and Democratic primaries, Democrat Barack Obama was pitted against Republican Jack Ryan.

Ryan trailed Obama in early polls, after the media reported that Ryan had assigned Justin Warfel, a Ryan campaign worker, to track Obama's appearances.[87] The tactic backfired when many people, including Ryan's supporters, criticized this activity. Ryan's spokesman apologized, and promised that Warfel would give Obama more space. Obama acknowledged that it is standard practice to film an opponent in public, and Obama said he was satisfied with Ryan's decision to have Warfel back off.[87]

As the campaign progressed, the lawsuit brought by the Chicago Tribune to open child custody files from Ryan's divorce was still continuing. Barack Obama's backers emailed reporters about the divorce controversy, but refrained from on-the-record commentary.[88] On March 29, 2004, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Schnider ruled that several of the Ryans' divorce records should be opened to the public, and ruled that a court-appointed referee would later decide which custody files should remain sealed to protect the interests of Ryan's young child.[89] A few days later, on April 2, 2004, Barack Obama changed his position about the Ryans' soon-to-be-released divorce records, and called on Democrats to not inject them into the campaign.[88]

On June 22, 2004, after receiving the report from the court appointed referee, the judge released the files that were deemed consistent with the interests of Ryan's young child. In those files, Jeri Ryan alleged that Jack Ryan had taken her to sex clubs in several cities, intending for them to have sex in public.[90][91]

The decision to release the files generated much controversy because it went against both parents' direct request, and because it reversed the earlier decision to seal the papers in the best interest of the child. Jim Oberweis, Ryan's defeated GOP opponent, commented that "these are allegations made in a divorce hearing, and we all know people tend to say things that aren't necessarily true in divorce proceedings when there is money involved and custody of children involved."[90]

Although their sensational nature made the revelations fodder for tabloid and television programs specializing in such stories, the files were also newsworthy because of questions about whether Ryan had accurately described the documents to GOP party leaders. Prior to release of the documents, Ryan had told leading Republicans that five percent of the divorce file could cause problems for his campaign.[92] But after the documents were released, GOP officials including state GOP Chair Judy Baar Topinka said they felt Ryan had misleadingly indicated the divorce records would not be embarrassing.[93]

That charge of dishonesty led to intensifying calls for Ryan's withdrawal, though Topinka, who was considering running herself, said after the June 25 withdrawal that Ryan's "decision was a personal one" and that the state GOP had not pressured Ryan to drop out.[94] Ryan's campaign ended less than a week after the custody records were opened, and Ryan officially filed the documentation to withdraw on July 29, 2004. Obama was left without an opponent.

The Illinois Republican State Central Committee chose former diplomat Alan Keyes to replace Ryan as the Republican candidate. Keyes, a conservative Republican from Maryland, faced an uphill battle. First, Keyes had few ties to Illinois political leaders. Second, the lack of an opponent allowed Obama to campaign throughout the more conservative downstate regions to build up name recognition. Third, Keyes was seen as a carpetbagger, only establishing legal residency in Calumet City, Illinois days before running.

The Chicago Tribune in an editorial, stated that "Mr. Keyes may have noticed a large body of water as he flew into O'Hare. That is called Lake Michigan."[95] In 2000, Keyes attacked Hillary Clinton for running for US Senator from New York even though she had never lived there, calling her a carpetbagger.[96] Keyes attacked Barack Obama for voting against a bill that would have outlawed a form of late-term abortion.[97]

Obama ran the most successful Senate campaign in 2004, and was so far ahead in polls that he soon began to campaign outside of Illinois in support of other Democratic candidates. He gave large sums of campaign funds to other candidates and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and sent many of his volunteers to work on other races, including that of eventual three-term Congresswoman Melissa Bean who defeated then-Congressman Phil Crane in that year's election. Obama and Keyes differed on many issues including school vouchers and tax cuts, both of which Keyes supported and Obama opposed.[98]

Illinois General Election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Barack Obama 3,597,456 70.0 +22.6%
Republican Alan Keyes 1,390,690 27.0 -23.3%
Independent Al Franzen 81,164 1.6
Libertarian Jerry Kohn 69,253 1.3
Write-ins 2,957 0.1
Majority 2,206,766 43.0 +40.1%
Turnout 5,350,493 71.3

The Obama-Keyes race was one of the first to be called on Election Day, November 2, 2004.

At the start of Keyes's candidacy in August, Keyes had 24% support in the polls. He received 27% of the vote in the November general election to Obama's 70%.[99]

Following the election, Keyes refused to call Obama to congratulate him. Media reports claimed that Keyes also failed to concede the race to Obama.[citation needed] Two days after the election, a radio interviewer asked Keyes whether he had conceded the race. Keyes replied, "Of course I've conceded the race. I mean, I gave my speech to that effect."[100]

On the radio program, Keyes explained that his refusal to congratulate Obama was "not anything personal," but was meant to make a statement against "extend[ing] false congratulations to the triumph of what we have declared to be across the line." He said that Obama's position on moral issues regarding life and the family had crossed that line. "I'm supposed to make a call that represents the congratulations toward the triumph of that which I believe ultimately stands for... a culture evil enough to destroy the very soul and heart of my country? I can't do this. And I will not make a false gesture," Keyes said.[100]

Indiana[edit]

Indiana Election
Indiana
← 1998
2010 →
  Evan Bayh official portrait.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Evan Bayh Marvin Scott
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 1,496,976 903,913
Percentage 61.7% 37.2%

INSenCounties04.png
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Evan Bayh
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Evan Bayh
Democratic

Incumbent Democrat Evan Bayh won re-election to a second term, beating Republican Marvin Scott, a Professor at Butler University.

In September, Bayh had $6.5 million cash on hand.[101] Scott's strategy of trying to paint Bayh as too liberal failed to gain traction.[102] Bayh was viewed early in 2004 as a serious vice presidential candidate for John Kerry. Bayh was on the final shortlist for a Kerry running mate, but North Carolina Senator John Edwards was chosen as Kerry's running mate.

Bayh won 86 of Indiana's counties compared to 6 for Scott.[103]

Indiana General Election[104]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Evan Bayh 1,496,976 61.7
Republican Marvin Scott 903,913 37.2
Libertarian Albert Barger 27,344 1.1
Majority 593,063
Turnout 2,428,233 58.0

Iowa[edit]

Iowa Election
Iowa
← 1998
2010 →
  Chuck Grassley official photo.jpg Arthur Small-2010-08-14.jpeg
Nominee Chuck Grassley Arthur A. Small
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 1,038,175 412,365
Percentage 70.2% 27.9%

Iowa Rep sweep.PNG
County Results

U.S. Senator before election

Chuck Grassley
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Chuck Grassley
Republican

Incumbent Republican Chuck Grassley won a fifth term, beating former Democratic Iowa State Senator Arthur A. Small. Though this election coincided with the highly competitive presidential election in Iowa, Grassley was in little danger of losing his seat and defeated Small handily.

Democratic Primary Election[105]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Arthur A. Small 52,318 99.25
Democratic Write-ins 398 0.75
Total votes 52,716 100.00
Republican Primary Election[105]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Chuck Grassley (Incumbent) 78,819 99.72
Republican Write-ins 218 0.28
Total votes 79,037 100.00%
Iowa General Election[7]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Chuck Grassley (Incumbent) 1,038,175 70.18 +1.77%
Democratic Arthur A. Small 412,365 27.88 -2.62%
Libertarian Christy Ann Welty 15,218 1.03
Green Daryl A. Northrop 11,121 0.75
Socialist Workers Edwin Fruit 1,874 0.13 -0.14%
Write-ins 475 0.03
Majority 625,810 42.31 +4.39%
Turnout 1,479,228

Kansas[edit]

Kansas Election
Kansas
← 1998
2010 →
  Sam Brownback official portrait.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Sam Brownback Lee Jones
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 780,863 310,337
Percentage 69.2% 27.5%

Kansas Rep sweep excluding Wyan only.PNG
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Sam Brownback
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Sam Brownback
Republican

Incumbent Republican Sam Brownback won re-election to a second term over Democratic railroad engineer Lee Jones.

Democratic Primary Election[106]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Robert A. Conroy 61,052 55.92
Democratic Lee Jones 48,133 44.08
Total votes 109,185 100.00

Though Robert Conroy won the Democratic nomination, he dropped out of the race shortly after becoming the nominee, noting that he expected Jones to win and was tired of campaigning. The Kansas Democratic Party selected Lee Jones as the replacement candidate.[107]

Republican Primary Election[108]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Sam Brownback (Incumbent) 286,839 86.99
Republican Arch Naramore 42,880 13.01
Total votes 329,719 100.00

Brownback raised $2.5 million for his re-election campaign, while Jones raised only $90,000. Kansas last elected a Democratic senator in 1932. Brownback was very popular in the state.[109]

Kansas General Election[110]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Sam Brownback (Incumbent) 780,863 69.16 +3.90%
Democratic Lee Jones 310,337 27.49 -4.10%
Libertarian Steven A. Rosile 21,842 1.93 +0.35%
Reform George Cook 15,980 1.42 -0.14%
Majority 470,526 41.68 +8.00%
Turnout 1,129,022

Kentucky[edit]

Kentucky Election
Kentucky
← 1998
2010 →
  Jim Bunning official photo.jpg Daniel Mongiardo by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Nominee Jim Bunning Daniel Mongiardo
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 873,507 850,855
Percentage 50.7% 49.3%

Kentucky Senatorial Election Results by County, 2004.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Jim Bunning
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Jim Bunning
Republican

Incumbent Republican Jim Bunning won re-election to a second term. Democratic primary front runner Paul E. Patton, the Governor, saw his career implode in a scandal over an extramarital affair. Eventually, the Democrats settled on Daniel Mongiardo, a relatively unknown doctor and State Senator from Hazard, Kentucky.[111]

Democratic Primary Election[112]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Daniel Mongiardo 142,162 64.92
Democratic David L. Williams 76,807 35.08
Total votes 218,969 100.00
Republican Primary Election[112]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jim Bunning 96,545 84.00
Republican Barry Metcalf 18,395 16.00
Total votes 114,940 100.00

During his re-election bid in 2004, controversy erupted when Bunning described Mongiardo as looking "like one of Saddam Hussein's sons." Bunning apologized, then later went on to declare that Mongiardo's "thugs" had assaulted his wife.[113][114]

Bunning had an estimated $4 million campaign war chest, while Mongiardo had only $600,000. The Democrats began increasing financial support to Mongiardo when it became apparent that Bunning's bizarre behavior was costing him votes, purchasing more than $800,000 worth of additional television airtime on his behalf.

The November 2 election was one of the closest in Kentucky history. The race turned out to be very close, with Mongiardo leading with as many as 80% of the returns coming in. However, Bunning eventually won by just over one percentage point. Some analysts felt that because of President George Bush's 20% margin of victory in the state, Bunning was able to effectively ride the President's coattails to victory.

Kentucky General Election[115]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Jim Bunning 873,507 50.66 +0.91%
Democratic Daniel Mongiardo 850,855 49.34 +0.18%
Turnout 1,724,362

Louisiana[edit]

Louisiana Election
Louisiana
← 1998
2010 →
  David Vitter official portrait.jpg Chrisjohn.jpg
Nominee David Vitter Chris John
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 943,014 542,150
Percentage 51.0% 29.3%

  John Neely Kennedy official portrait.jpg
Nominee John Neely Kennedy
Party Democratic
Popular vote 275,821
Percentage 14.9%

LASen04Counties.png
Parish Results

U.S. Senator before election

John Breaux
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

David Vitter
Republican

Incumbent Democrat John Breaux retired. Republican U.S. Representative David Vitter won the jungle primary over Democratic U.S. Representative Chris John with 51% of the vote and avoided a runoff.

Breaux endorsed Chris John prior to the jungle primary.[116]

During the campaign, Vitter was accused by a member of the Louisiana Republican State Central Committee of having had a lengthy affair with a prostitute in New Orleans. Vitter responded that the allegation was "absolutely and completely untrue" and that it was "just crass Louisiana politics." The allegation later turned out to be true.[117]

Vitter won the Louisiana jungle primary with 51% of the vote, avoiding the need for a runoff. John received 29.2% of the vote and Kennedy (no relation to the Massachusetts Kennedys), took 14.9%.

Vitter won at least a plurality in 56 of Louisiana's 64 parishes. John carried nine parishes, all but two of which (Iberville and Orleans) are part of the House district he represented.

Kennedy changed parties and ran as Republican in 2008 against Louisiana's senior Senator, Democrat Mary Landrieu. Landrieu was re-elected.

Vitter was the first Republican in Louisiana to be popularly elected as a U.S. Senator. The previous Republican Senator, William Pitt Kellogg, was chosen by the state legislature in 1876, in accordance with the process used before the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution went into effect in 1914.[118]

Louisiana United States Senate election, 2004
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican David Vitter 943,014 51.03
Democratic Chris John 542,150 29.34
Democratic John Neely Kennedy 275,821 14.92
Democratic Arthur A. Morrell 47,222 2.56
Independent Richard M. Fontanesi 15,097 0.82
Independent R. A. "Skip" Galan 12,463 0.67
Democratic Sam Houston Melton, Jr. 12,289 0.66
Majority 400,864 21.69
Turnout 1,848,056

Maryland[edit]

Maryland Election
Maryland
← 1998
2010 →
  Barbara Mikulski 113th Congress.jpg 1senatorpipkin1.jpg
Nominee Barbara Mikulski E. J. Pipkin
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 1,504,691 783,055
Percentage 64.8% 33.7%

Maryland senate 2004.PNG
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Barbara Mikulski
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Barbara Mikulski
Democratic

Incumbent Democrat Barbara Mikulski won re-election to a fourth term over Republican State Senator [E. J. Pipkin]].

Democratic Primary Election[119]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Barbara A. Mikulski (Incumbent) 408,848 89.88
Democratic A. Robert Kaufman 32,127 7.06
Democratic Sid Altman 13,901 3.06
Total votes 454,876 100.00
Republican Primary Election[119]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican E. J. Pipkin 70,229 50.58
Republican John Stafford 14,661 10.56
Republican Eileen Martin 11,748 8.46
Republican Dorothy Curry Jennings 10,401 7.49
Republican Earl S. Gordon 8,233 5.93
Republican Gene Zarwell 6,865 4.94
Republican Ray Bly 6,244 4.50
Republican James A. Kodak 5,328 3.84
Republican Corrogan R. Vaughn 5,146 3.71
Total votes 138,855 100.00
Maryland General Election[120]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Barbara A. Mikulski (Incumbent) 1,504,691 64.80 -5.70%
Republican E. J. Pipkin 783,055 33.72 +4.23%
Green Maria Allwine 24,816 1.07
Constitution Thomas Trump 9,009 0.39
Write-ins 360 0.02
Majority 721,636 31.08 -9.93%
Total votes 2,321,931 100.00

Missouri[edit]

Missouri Election
Missouri
← 1998
2010 →
  Kit Bond official portrait cropped.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Kit Bond Nancy Farmer
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 1,518,089 1,158,261
Percentage 56.1% 42.8%

04MOSenateCounties.PNG
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Kit Bond
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Kit Bond
Republican

Incumbent Republican Kit Bond won re-election to a fourth term over Nancy Farmer, State Treasurer of Missouri and former Missouri State Representative[121]

Democratic Primary Election[122]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Nancy Farmer 544,830 73.68
Democratic Charles Berry 143,229 19.37
Democratic Ronald Bonar 51,375 6.95
Total votes 739,434 100.00
Libertarian Primary Election[123]
Party Candidate Votes %
Libertarian Kevin Tull 3,916 100.00
Total votes 3,916 100.00
Republican Primary Election[124]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Kit Bond (Incumbent) 541,998 88.08
Republican Mike Steger 73,354 11.92
Total votes 615,352 100.00
Missouri General Election[125]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Kit Bond (Incumbent) 1,518,089 56.09 +3.42%
Democratic Nancy Farmer 1,158,261 42.80 -0.97%
Libertarian Kevin Tull 19,648 0.73 -1.30%
Constitution Don Griffin 10,404 0.38
Majority 359,828 13.30 +4.39%
Turnout 2,706,402

Nevada[edit]

Nevada Election
Nevada
← 1998
2010 →
  Harry Reid official portrait.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Harry Reid Richard Ziser
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 494,805 284,640
Percentage 61.0% 35.1%

Nevada senate 2004.PNG
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Harry Reid
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Harry Reid
Democratic

Incumbent Democrat Harry Reid, the Senate Minority Whip, won re-election to a fourth term over Republican anti-gay marriage activist Richard Ziser.

Republican Primary Election[126]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Richard Ziser 40,533 33.50
Republican Kenneth A. Wegner 21,406 17.69
Republican Robert Brown 19,553 16.16
Republican None of these candidates 16,827 13.91
Republican Royle Melton 10,552 8.72
Republican Cherie M. Tilley 10,357 8.56
Republican Carlo Poliak 1,769 1.46
Total votes 120,997 100.00
Nevada General Election[127]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Harry Reid (Incumbent) 494,805 61.08 +13.22%
Republican Richard Ziser 284,640 35.14 -12.63%
None of These Candidates 12,968 1.60 -0.26%
Libertarian Thomas L. Hurst 9,559 1.18 -0.69%
Independent American (Nev.) David K. Schumann 6,001 0.74
Natural Law Gary Marinch 2,095 0.26 -0.38%
Majority 210,165 25.94 +25.85%
Turnout 810,068

New Hampshire[edit]

New Hampshire Election
New Hampshire
← 1998
2010 →
  Gregg-official-photo-closeup.jpg Graveld (cropped).JPG
Nominee Judd Gregg Doris Haddock
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 434,847 221,549
Percentage 66.2% 33.7%

New Hampshire R Sweep.svg
County Results

U.S. Senator before election

Judd Gregg
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Judd Gregg
Republican

Incumbent Republican Judd Gregg won re-election to his third term, easily beating Democratic activist Doris Haddock.

NH U.S. Senate Election, 2004[128]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Judd Gregg 434,847 66.2
Democratic Doris R. Haddock 221,549 33.7
Libertarian Ken Blevens 102 0.0

North Carolina[edit]

North Carolina Election
North Carolina
← 1998
2010 →
  Richard Burr official photo.jpg ErskineBowles.jpg
Nominee Richard Burr Erskine Bowles
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 1,791,450 1,632,527
Percentage 51.6% 47.0%

NC senate 2004.PNG
County Results

U.S. Senator before election

John Edwards
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Richard Burr
Republican

Incumbent Democrat John Edwards decided to retire from the Senate, ran unsuccessfully for the 2004 Democratic Party presidential nomination, and became his party's vice presidential nominee. Republican Richard Burr won the open seat.

Erskine Bowles won the Democratic Party's nomination unopposed. He had been the party's nominee for the state's other Senate seat in 2002.

Republican primary election[129]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Richard Burr 302,319 87.92 N/A
Republican John Ross Hendrix 25,971 7.55 N/A
Republican Albert Wiley 15,585 4.53 N/A
Turnout 343,875

Both major-party candidates engaged in negative campaign tactics, with Bowles' campaign attacking Burr for special interest donations and his positions on trade legislation, and Burr's campaign attacking Bowles for his connections to the Clinton administration. Both attacks had basis in reality: Burr's campaign raised funds from numerous political action committees and at least 72 of the 100 largest Fortune 500 companies, while Bowles departed from the Clinton administration in the midst of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Burr won the election by 4%. He joined the Senate in January 2005. Bowles went on to become the president of the UNC system.

North Carolina General Election[129]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Richard Burr 1,791,450 51.60 +4.58%
Democratic Erskine Bowles 1,632,527 47.02 –4.13%
Libertarian Tom Bailey 47,743 1.38 –0.46%
Nonpartisan Walker F. Rucker (write-in) 362 0.01 N/A
Turnout 3,471,720

North Dakota[edit]

North Dakota Election
North Dakota
← 1998
2010 →
  Byron Dorgan, official photo portrait 2.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Byron Dorgan Mike Liffrig
Party Democratic-NPL Republican
Popular vote 212,143 98,553
Percentage 68.3% 31.7%

ND Demo sweep.svg
County Results

U.S. Senator before election

Byron Dorgan
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Byron Dorgan
Democratic

Incumbent Dem-NPL-er Byron Dorgan won re-election to a third term over Republican attorney Mike Liffrig[130][131]

2004 United States Senate election, North Dakota
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic-NPL Byron Dorgan (inc.) 149,936 68.28
Republican Mike Liffrig 98,553 31.72
Total votes 310,696 64.90

Ohio[edit]

Ohio Election
Ohio
← 1998
2010 →
  George Voinovich, official photo portrait, 2006.jpg Eric Fingerhut 103nd Congress 1993.jpg
Nominee George Voinovich Eric Fingerhut
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 3,464,651 1,961,249
Percentage 63.9% 36.1%

Ohio US Senate Election Results by County, 2004.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

George Voinovich
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

George Voinovich
Republican

Incumbent Republican George Voinovich won re-election to a second term over Democrat Eric Fingerhut, State Senator and former U.S. Representative from Ohio's 19th congressional district.

Republican Primary Election[132]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican George Voinovich (Incumbent) 640,082 76.61
Republican John Mitchel 195,476 23.39
Total votes 835,558 100.00
Democratic Primary Election[133]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Eric Fingerhut 672,989 70.79
Democratic Norbert Dennerll 277,721 29.21
Total votes 950,710 100.00

A popular U.S. Senator, Voinovich was the heavy favorite to win the election. He had over $9 million in the bank, while his opponent barely had $1.5 million.[134] Fingerhut's campaign was overshadowed by the possible campaign of Democrat and former Mayor of Cincinnati Jerry Springer, who eventually declined to run.

Voinovich is considered[by whom?] a moderate on some issues. He supports gun control and amnesty for illegal immigrants.[135]

Surprisingly,[citation needed] Voinovich's biggest advantage was getting support from the most Democratic-leaning county in the state, Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Kerry carried it with almost 67% of the vote, by far his best performance in the state in 2004. It is the home of Cleveland and it is also most populous county in the state. Voinovich was a former mayor of Cleveland. In addition, he catered to Cleveland's large Jewish population by visiting Israel six times as a first-term U.S. Senator. He also consistently voted for aid to Israel through foreign appropriations bills. He's supported resolutions reaffirming Israel's right to self-defense and condemned Palestinian terrorist attacks.[136] In addition, Fingerhut's home base was in the Cleveland area, and therefore he had to cut in through the incumbent's home base in order to even make the election close.

In a September University of Cincinnati poll, the incumbent lead 64% to 34%.[137] In an October ABC News poll, Voinovich was winning 60% to 35%. He led across almost all demographic groups Only among Democrats, non-whites, liberals, and those who pick health care as #1 issue favor Fingerhut. It should be noted[citation needed] that the election coincided with the presidential election, where Ohio was a swing state. 27% of Voinovich's supporters preferred U.S. Senator John Kerry for president.[138]

Ohio General Election[139]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican George Voinovich (Incumbent) 3,464,651 63.85
Democratic Eric Fingerhut 1,961,249 36.14
Independent Helen Meyers 296 0.01
Voter turnout 100.00%

Oklahoma[edit]

Oklahoma Election
Oklahoma
← 1998
2010 →
  Tom Coburn official portrait 112th Congress.jpg BradCarson OfficialPortrait.jpg
Nominee Tom Coburn Brad Carson
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 763,433 596,750
Percentage 52.8 41.2%

  No image.svg
Nominee Sheila Bilyeu
Party Independent
Popular vote 86,663
Percentage 6.0%

04OKSenateCounties.PNG
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Don Nickles
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Tom Coburn
Republican

Incumbent Republican Don Nickles decided to retire instead of seeking a fifth term. Republican nominee Tom Coburn won the open seat, beating Brad Carson, a Democratic U.S. Representative

Democratic Primary Election[140]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Brad Carson 280,026 79.37
Democratic Carroll Fisher 28,385 8.05
Democratic Jim Rogers 20,179 5.72
Democratic Monte E. Johnson 17,274 4.90
Democratic W. B. G. Woodson 6,932 1.96
Total votes 352,796 100.00

Kirk Humphreys, the former Mayor of Oklahoma City, ran for the United States Senate with institutional conservative support, namely from Senators Don Nickles and Jim Inhofe, as well as former Congressman J. C. Watts. However, Coburn received support from the Club for Growth and conservative activists within Oklahoma. Humphreys noted, "[Coburn is] kind of a cult hero in the conservative portion of our party, not just in Oklahoma. You can't get right of the guy."[141] Much of Coburn's celebrity within the Republican Party came from his tenure in Congress, where he battled House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who he argued was moving the party to the center of the political spectrum due to their excessive federal spending.[142] Coburn's maverick nature culminated itself in 2000 when he backed conservative activist Alan Keyes for President rather than George W. Bush or John McCain.

Ultimately, Coburn triumphed over Humphreys, Anthony, and Hunt in the primary, winning every county in Oklahoma except for tiny Harmon County.

Republican Primary Election[140]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Tom Coburn 145,974 61.23
Republican Kirk Humphreys 59,877 25.12
Republican Bob Anthony 29,596 12.41
Republican Jay Richard Hunt 2,944 1.23
Total votes 238,391 100.00

Carson and Coburn engaged each other head-on in one of the year's most brutal Senate contests. Coburn and the National Republican Senatorial Committee attacked Carson for being too liberal for Oklahoma and for being a vote in lockstep with John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Ted Kennedy. To drive the point home, one television advertisement aired by the Coburn campaign accused Carson of being "dangerously liberal" and not supporting the War on Terrorism.[143] Coburn was aided in this effort by the fact that the Kerry campaign did not contest the state of Oklahoma and that incumbent President George W. Bush was expected to win Oklahoma comfortably. This was compounded by the fact that Vice-President Dick Cheney campaigned for Coburn and appeared in several television advertisements for him.[144] Carson countered by emphasizing his Stilwell roots[145] and his moderation, specifically, bringing attention to the fact that he fought for greater governmental oversight of nursing home care for the elderly.[146] Carson responded to the attacks against him by countering that his opponent had committed Medicaid fraud years prior, in an event that reportedly left a woman sterilized without her consent.[147] Ultimately, however, Carson was not able to overcome Oklahoma's conservative nature and Senator Kerry's abysmal performance in Oklahoma, and he was defeated by Coburn by 11.5%. As of 2014, the result remains the closest the Democrats have come to winning a Senate election in Oklahoma since Republican Don Nickles was first elected to the Senate by 8.7% in 1980.

United States Senate election in Oklahoma, 2004[7]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Tom Coburn 763,433 52.77 -13.62%
Democratic Brad Carson 596,750 41.24 +9.97%
Independent Sheila Bilyeu 86,663 5.99
Majority 166,683 11.52 -23.58%
Turnout 1,446,846

Oregon[edit]

Oregon Election
Oregon
← 1998
2010 →
  Ron Wyden of Oregon.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Ron Wyden Al King
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 1,128,728 565,254
Percentage 63.4 31.8%

OR 2004 US Senate.svg
County results

     King plurality     Wyden plurality
     King majority     Wyden majority

     Wyden majority > 60%

U.S. Senator before election

Ron Wyden
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Ron Wyden
Democratic

Incumbent Democrat Ron Wyden won re-election to a second full term over Republican rancher Al King, [148]

Oregon General Election[149]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Ron Wyden 1,128,728 63.39 +2.34%
Republican Al King 565,254 31.75 -2.04%
Pacific Green Teresa Keane 43,053 2.41 +0.44%
Libertarian Dan Fitzgerald 29,582 1.66 +0.03%
Constitution David Brownlow 12,397 0.70 +0.70%
Write-In Misc. 1,536 0.08 -0.05%
Majority 563,474 31.64 +5.90%
Turnout 1,780,550

Pennsylvania[edit]

Pennsylvania Election
Pennsylvania
← 1998
2010 →
  Arlen Specter, official Senate photo portrait.jpg Joe Hoeffel portrait.jpg
Nominee Arlen Specter Joe Hoeffel
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 2,925,080 2,334,126
Percentage 52.6% 41.9%

Pennsylvania Senatorial Election Results by County, 2004.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Arlen Specter
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Arlen Specter
Republican

Incumbent Republican Arlen Specter won re-election to a fifth term.

Democrats had difficulty recruiting top tier candidates against the popular Specter. Among the Democrats to decline to run for the nomination were Treasurer (and former Republican) Barbara Hafer, Public Utilities Commissioner John Hanger, real estate mogul Howard Hanna, State Representative (and also former Republican) John Lawless, and State Senator (and future Congresswoman) Allyson Schwartz.[150]

Congressman Hoeffel ended up running unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Software businessman Charlie Crystle was considered a strong possible candidate, but he dropped out before the election.[150][151]

Democratic Primary Election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Joe Hoeffel 595,816 100.00
Republican Primary by county

Specter faced a primary challenge from U.S. Representative Pat Toomey. Despite the state Republican Party's strong history of embracing a moderate philosophy, the influence of conservatism among rank-and-file members had been steadily growing for decades; because of his liberal social views, Specter was often considered to be a "Republican in Name Only" by the right.[152] Although Specter had a huge fundraising advantage, Toomey was aided by $2 million of advertising from the Club for Growth, a conservative political action committee that focuses on fiscal issues and targets moderate Republican incumbents. Toomey criticized Specter as a spendthrift on economic policy and as out of touch with his own party on social issues. Although Toomey had difficulty with name recognition early in the campaign, he built huge momentum over the final weeks preceding the primary, and Specter appeared to have transitioned from having a comfortable lead to being behind his challenger [153]

Specter received a huge boost from the vocal support of President George W. Bush; most of the state's Republican establishment also closed ranks behind Specter. This included Pennsylvania's other U.S. Senator, Rick Santorum, who was noted for his social conservative views. Many Republicans at the state and national level feared that if Toomey beat Specter, he wouldn't be able to defend the seat against his Democratic opponent.[154]

Republican Primary Election[155]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Arlen Specter 530,839 50.82
Republican Pat Toomey 513,693 49.18

For Democrats, hope of winning the election centered on Toomey's defeat of Specter. However, after the challenge from the right failed, enthusiasm from the party establishment waned and Hoeffel had difficulty matching the name recognition and fundraising power of his opponent [156] Despite contempt from conservatives, Specter enjoyed high levels of support from independent voters and, as in previous elections, a surprisingly large crossover from Democratic voters. Even in the areas in which Toomey performed best in the Republican primary (mainly the state's conservative, rural center), Specter performed well. Except for his large margin of victory in almost uniformly Democratic Philadelphia, Hoeffel was crushed at the polls; his only other wins came by close margins in three metro Pittsburgh counties; although President Bush proved to be unpopular in the state, voters were not willing to abandon Specter over party affiliation.[157]

Pennsylvania General Election[158]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Arlen Specter 2,925,080 52.62
Democratic Joe Hoeffel 2,334,126 41.99
Constitution Jim Clymer 220,056 3.96
Libertarian Betsy Summers 79,263 1.43

South Carolina[edit]

South Carolina Election
South Carolina
← 1998
2010 →
  Jim DeMint headshot.jpg Inez Tenenbaum.jpg
Nominee Jim DeMint Inez Tenenbaum
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 857,167 704,384
Percentage 53.7% 44.1%

South Carolina 2004 Senate Election.png
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Fritz Hollings
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Jim DeMint
Republican

Incumbent Democrat Fritz Hollings decided to retire. Jim DeMint, a Republican U.S. Representative won the open seat over Democrat Inez Tenenbaum, the South Carolina Superintendent of Education.

Democratic Primary Election[159]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Inez Tenenbaum 126,720 75.5
Democratic Ben Frasier 41,070 24.5

The Senate election two years earlier in 2002 did not have a primary election because the South Carolina Republicans were more preoccupied with the gubernatorial contest, despite having the first open senate seat in 40 years. The retirement of Democratic Senator Fritz Hollings gave the Republicans an opportunity to pick up the seat and with no other interesting positions up for election in 2004, a crowded field developed in the Republican primary. Furthermore, the Republicans were motivated by having President Bush at the top of the ticket enabling them to ride his coattails to victory.

Former Governor David Beasley, from the Pee Dee, entered the race and quickly emerged as the frontrunner because of his support from the evangelical voters. However, during his term as Governor from 1994 to 1998 he had greatly angered the electorate by proposing to remove the Confederate Naval Jack from the dome of the statehouse and by being against the adoption of a state lottery to provide for college scholarships. Both positions led to the loss of his re-election in 1998 and the issues continued to trouble him in the Senate race.

The battle for second place in the primary was between Upstate congressman, Jim DeMint, and Charleston developer Thomas Ravenel. DeMint was able to squeak out a second-place finish because Charlie Condon, a former Attorney General of South Carolina, split the Lowcountry vote with Ravenel thus providing DeMint the margin he needed. In addition, while many voters were attracted to the Ravenel campaign and felt that he had a future in politics, they believed that he should set his sights on a less high profile office first before trying to become Senator. Resigned to defeat, Ravenel endorsed DeMint in the runoff election.

In the runoff election on June 22, 2004, DeMint scored a surprising victory over Beasley. Ravenel's endorsement of DeMint proved crucial as the Lowcountry counties heavily went for the Representative from the Upstate. Also, Beasley had burnt too many bridges while governor and was unable to increase his share of the vote in the runoff.

Republican Primary Election
Candidate Votes  %
David Beasley 107,847 36.6%
Jim DeMint 77,567 26.3%
Thomas Ravenel 73,167 24.8%
Charlie Condon 27,694 9.4%
Mark McBride 6,479 2.2%
Orly Benny Davis 1,915 0.7%
Republican Primary Election Runoff
Candidate Votes  % ±%
Jim DeMint 154,644 59.2% +32.9%
David Beasley 106,480 40.8% +4.2%

DeMint entered the general election campaign severely weakened from the primary fight, having spent most of his campaign funds. He stressed to the voters that he would follow conservative principles and provide an important Republican vote in the closely divided Senate. Democrats fared poorly in statewide elections in South Carolina, so Tenenbaum tried to make the race about issues rather than party identification. She attacked DeMint's support of the FairTax proposal because it would increase the sales tax by 23%. The election victory by DeMint merely cemented South Carolina's shift to the Republican column as the best candidate the Democrats could offer was soundly defeated by the typical 10 point margin.

South Carolina U.S. Senate Election, 2004
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Jim DeMint 857,167 53.6 +7.9%
Democratic Inez Tenenbaum 704,384 44.1 -8.6%
Constitution Patrick Tyndall 13,464 0.8 +0.8%
Libertarian Rebekah E. Sutherland 10,678 0.7 -0.9%
United Citizens Party Tee Ferguson 5,859 0.4 +0.4%
Green Efia Nwangaza* 4,245 0.3 +0.3%
No party Write-Ins 1,286 0.1 +0.1%
Majority 152,783 9.5 +2.5%
Turnout 1,597,221 69.0 +16.2%
  • Nwangaza ran under the Independence Party in Aiken and Calhoun counties; her totals are combined.

South Dakota[edit]

South Dakota Election
South Dakota
← 1998
2010 →
  John Thune official photo.jpg Tom Daschle, official Senate photo.jpg
Nominee John Thune Tom Daschle
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 197,848 193,340
Percentage 50.6% 49.4%

04SDsenatecounties.PNG
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Tom Daschle
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

John Thune
Republican

Incumbent Democrat Tom Daschle ran for re-election a fourth term, but lost to Republican John Thune, former U.S. Representative and nominee for the U.S. Senate in 2002.

In the 2004 Congressional elections, Daschle lost his seat to Republican challenger and former U.S. Representative John Thune in a bitterly contested battle. Thune prevailed by a narrow 50.6%-49.4% margin, of 4,508 votes. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist visited South Dakota to campaign for Thune, breaking an unwritten tradition that one party's leader in the Senate would not campaign directly for the other's defeat. Daschle's loss resulted in the first ousting of a majority or minority leader since 1952 when Arizona Senator Ernest McFarland lost his seat to Barry Goldwater. Daschle's Senate term expired on January 3, 2005.

Throughout the campaign, Thune, along with Frist, President Bush, and Vice President Cheney, frequently accused Daschle of being the "chief obstructionist" of Bush's agenda and charged him with using filibusters to block confirmation of several of Bush's nominees to the federal judiciary. Thune also used moral values such as issues surrounding same-sex marriage and abortion to convince South Dakota voters that Daschle's positions on such topics were out-of-sync with the state's residents. The Republican candidate also drove home his strong support for the President while blasting Daschle for his vehement opposition to Bush. He attempted to sway voters by remembering that Bush won South Dakota in a landslide in 2000 and had a very high job-approval rating among South Dakotans. His opponent, the Minority Leader, repeatedly argued that he was funneling money into South Dakota for vital federal highway and water pet projects.

Daschle responded to Thune's claim that he was a partisan anti-Bush obstructionist by pointing to his action just nine days after the September 11 attacks when he hugged President Bush on the Senate floor following Bush's address to Congress and the nation. He also hit back by alleging that Thune wanted to "rubber stamp what the administration is doing." Daschle's use of the video of his embrace of Bush forced the Republican National Committee to demand that the ad be pulled, claiming that it suggests that Bush endorses Daschle. Shortly following the airing of the ad, in a nationally televised debate on NBC's Meet the Press, Thune accused Daschle of "emboldening the enemy" in his skepticism of the Iraq war.

Daschle also noticeably relied very heavily on the power of incumbency to win a fourth term. Some also argued that Stephanie Herseth's election to the state's only House seat hurt Daschle, as voters may not have been comfortable sending an all-Democratic delegation to Congress for the first time in many decades. Accusations that Daschle was possibly considering no longer being an official resident of South Dakota was believed to have offended voters there. Others have analyzed that Daschle's lengthy consideration and eventual rejection of a potential run for the presidency in 2004 took a toll on South Dakotans, who felt betrayed and used by Daschle as a result.

When the race began in early 2004, Daschle led by 7 points in January and February. By May, his lead minimized to just 2 points and into the summer polls showed a varying number of trends: either Daschle held a slim 1- to 2-point lead or Thune held a slim 1- to 2-point lead or the race was tied right down the middle. Throughout September, Daschle led Thune by margins of 2 to 5 percent while during the entire month of October into the November 2 election, most polls showed that Thune and Daschle were dead even, usually tied 49-49 among likely voters. Some polls showed either Thune or Daschle leading by extremely slim margins.

Thune was an aide to former Senator James Abdnor, the man Daschle defeated in 1986 to gain his seat in the Senate.

Daschle spent a great deal of time and energy campaigning for his fellow Democrat Tim Johnson in 2002, who barely defeated Thune by 524 votes. He argued that by re-electing Johnson, South Dakota would be better off because Johnson would help to keep Daschle Majority Leader. However, in the end, while Johnson won, other states voted for enough Republicans that Daschle was no longer majority leader. Furthermore, Thune's whisker-close defeat in 2002 freed him up to run against Daschle in 2004. Had Daschle not put his considerable weight to re-electing Johnson, it seems very likely that Thune would have beaten Johnson, leaving Daschle without a strong challenger for the upcoming election and making his re-election a certainty.

South Dakota General Election[160]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican John Thune 197,848 50.58 +14.17%
Democratic Tom Daschle (Incumbent) 193,340 49.42 -12.72%
Majority 4,508 1.15 -24.58%
Turnout 391,188

Utah[edit]

Utah Election
Utah
← 1998
2010 →
  Bob Bennett official portrait, 2009.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Bob Bennett Paul Van Dam
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 626,640 258,955
Percentage 68.7% 28.4%

Utah allred.png
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Bob Bennett
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Bob Bennett
Republican

Incumbent Republican Bob Bennett won re-election to a third term easily beating Democrat Paul Van Dam, former Attorney General of Utah and former Salt Lake County District Attorney

Utah General Election[161]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Bob Bennett (Incumbent) 626,640 68.73 +4.75%
Democratic Paul Van Dam 258,955 28.40 -4.57%
Constitution Gary R. Van Horn 17,289 1.90
Personal Choice Joe LaBonte 8,824 0.97
Write-ins 18 0.00
Majority 367,685 40.33 +9.32%
Turnout 911,726

Vermont[edit]

Vermont Election
Vermont
← 1998
2010 →
  Patrick Leahy official photo.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Patrick Leahy Jack McMullen
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 216,972 75,398
Percentage 70.6% 24.5%

Vermont Election Results by County, all Democratic.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Patrick Leahy
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Patrick Leahy
Democratic

Incumbent Democrat Patrick Leahy won re-election to a sixth term.

Democratic Primary Election[162]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Patrick Leahy (Incumbent) 27,459 94.32
Democratic Craig Hill 1,573 5.40
Democratic Write-ins 81 0.28
Total votes 29,113 100.00%
Republican Primary Election[163]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jack McMullen 9,591 67.69
Republican Peter D. Moss 2,058 14.52
Republican Ben Mitchell 1,715 12.10
Republican Write-ins 806 5.69
Total votes 14,170 100.00
Vermont General Election[164]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Patrick Leahy (Incumbent) 216,972 70.63 -1.59%
Republican Jack McMullen 75,398 24.54 +2.09%
Independent Cris Ericson 6,486 2.11
Green Craig Hill 3,999 1.30
Independent Keith Stern 3,300 1.07
Liberty Union Ben Mitchell 879 0.29 -0.29%
Write-ins 174 0.06
Majority 141,574 46.08 -3.68%
Turnout 307,208

Washington[edit]

Washington Election
Washington (state)
← 1998
2010 →
  Patty Murray 113th Congress.jpg Georgenethercutt.jpg
Nominee Patty Murray George Nethercutt
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 1,549,708 1,204,584
Percentage 55.0% 42.7%

2004 Washington Senatorial election map.png
County results

Murray:      40-50%     50-60%     60-70%

Nethercutt:      40-50%     50-60%     60-70%

U.S. Senator before election

Patty Murray
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Patty Murray
Democratic

Incumbent Democrat Patty Murray won re-election. She became only the fourth Washington senator to win 3 consecutive terms, just after fellow Democrats Warren G. Magnuson and Scoop Jackson[citation needed].

Term limits became an issue in the campaign, as Democrats seized on Nethercutt's broken term-limits pledge that he had made when he unseated Speaker Tom Foley in 1994. Nethercutt was also hampered by his lack of name recognition in the more densely populated western part of the state, home to two-thirds of the state's population. Washington has not elected a Senator from east of the Cascades since Miles Poindexter in 1916. Other important issues included national security and the war in Iraq. Nethercutt supported the invasion of Iraq, while Murray opposed it. Nethercutt was a heavy underdog from the start, and his campaign never gained much traction. In November, he lost by 12 points, receiving 43 percent of the vote to Murray's 55 percent.

Washington General Election[165]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic (Wash.) Patty Murray (Incumbent) 1,549,708 54.98
Republican (Wash.) George Nethercutt 1,204,584 42.74
Libertarian J. Mills 34,055 1.21
Green Mark Wilson 30,304 1.08
Total votes 2,818,651 100.00

Wisconsin[edit]

Wisconsin Election
Wisconsin
← 1998
2010 →
  Russ Feingold official photo 2.jpg Tim Michels cropped.jpg
Nominee Russ Feingold Tim Michels
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 1,632,697 1,301,183
Percentage 55.3% 44.1%

04WISenateCounties.PNG
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Russ Feingold
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Russ Feingold
Democratic

Incumbent Democrat Russ Feingold won re-election to a third term.

Republican Tim Michels, businessman and army veteran insisted he has more real world experience than Feingold, someone he called an "extreme liberal" who's out of touch with Wisconsin voters.[166] Feingold attacked back by saying that any Republican would be a rubber stamp for President Bush. The incumbent had $2.2 million in the bank, while Michels had already spent $1 million in the primary and had only about $150,000 left.[167]

When the NRSC was finally convinced in October that Michels had a shot, they pledged $600,000 for him.[168]

On October 1, a poll showed Feingold leading 52% to 39%.[169] In mid October, another poll showed Feingold winning 48% to 43%. A poll at the end of the month showed him leading 51% to 36%.[170]

Wisconsin General Election[171]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Russell Dana Feingold (Incumbent) 1,632,697 55.35
Republican Tim Michels 1,301,183 44.11
Libertarian Arif Khan 8,367 0.28
Independent Eugene A. Hem 6,662 0.23
Write-In Votes 834 0.03
Total votes 2,949,743 100.00

Notes[edit]

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References[edit]

See also[edit]