United States Senate elections, 1974

Last updated on 9 August 2017

The United States Senate elections, 1974 were held in the wake of the Watergate scandal, Richard M. Nixon's resignation from the presidency, and Gerald Ford's subsequent pardon of Nixon. Economic issues, specifically inflation and stagnation, were also a factor that contributed to the Republican losses.[1] Democrats made a net gain of three seats from the Republicans. Following the election, the Democratic caucus controlled 60 seats (including one independent) and the Republican caucus controlled 39 seats (including one Conservative). Democrats would gain an additional seat when Democrat John A. Durkin (D-NH) won a 1975 special election that was held after the 1974 election resulted in two recounts and an extended dispute in the Senate. This was the last election to date where a member of a political party other than the Democrats or Republicans had one or more seats in the chamber (not including Independents, members of no political party). This is also the last Senate election where the Democrat won Orange County, California in a race with Republican opposition.

Michael Joseph Mansfield.jpg
Michael Joseph Mansfield.jpg
1974 Senate election map.svg
1974 Senate election map.svg

Gains and losses

Democrats won open seats in Vermont and Florida and unseated incumbents Peter H. Dominick (R-CO) and Marlow Cook (R-KY). Republicans took an open seat in Nevada, where Republican Paul Laxalt defeated Harry Reid by 624 votes. The election also produced other close results; Milton Young (R-ND) won reelection against Democrat William L. Guy by only 186 votes and Henry Bellmon (R-OK) won reelection against Democrat Ed Edmondson by half a percent of the vote. Bob Dole (R-KS) survived the closest election of his career against Democratic Rep. William Roy, a race undoubtedly made close due to Dole's close association with Nixon as chairman of the Republican National Committee. It was the closest the Democrats have come to winning a Senate election in Kansas since George McGill won re-election in 1932 (McGill was defeated by Clyde M. Reed in 1938).

Results summary

Parties Total Seats Popular Vote
Incumbents Not up This election Result +/- Vote  %
Up Re-elected Held Gained Lost
Democratic 57 37 20 15 4 Increase 4 Decrease 1 60 Increase 3 22,544,761 55.24%
Republican 41 27 14 8 2 Increase 1 Decrease 4 38 Decrease 3 16,145,793 39.56%
Conservative (N.Y.) 1 1 0 Steady Steady Steady Steady 1 Steady 822,584 2.02%
Independent 1 1 0 Steady Steady Steady Steady 1 Steady 199,108 <0.01%
Others 0 Steady Steady Steady Steady Steady Steady 0 Steady 1,098,146 2.69%
Total 100 66 34 23 6 Increase 5 Decrease 5 100 Steady 40,810,392 100.0%

Source: Election Statistics - U.S. House of Representatives, Office of the Clerk

Change in Senate composition

Senate composition before the elections

D9 D8 D7 D6 D5 D4 D3 D2 D1 I1
D10 D11 D12 D13 D14 D15 D16 D17 D18 D19
D29 D28 D27 D26 D25 D24 D23 D22 D21 D20
D30 D31 D32 D33 D34 D35 D36 D37 D38 D39
D49 D48 D47 D46 D45 D44 D43 D42 D41 D40
D50 ← Majority
D51 D52 D53 D54 D55 D56 D57 R41 R40
R30 R31 R32 R33 R34 R35 R36 R37 R38 R39
R29 R28 R27 R26 R25 R24 R23 R22 R21 R20
R10 R11 R12 R13 R14 R15 R16 R17 R18 R19
R9 R8 R7 R6 R5 R4 R3 R2 R1 C1

Senate composition as a result of the elections

D9 D8 D7 D6 D5 D4 D3 D2 D1 I1
D10 D11 D12 D13 D14 D15 D16 D17 D18 D19
D29 D28 D27 D26 D25 D24 D23 D22 D21 D20
D30 D31 D32 D33 D34 D35 D36 D37 D38 D39
D49 D48 D47 D46 D45 D44 D43 D42 D41 D40
D50 ← Majority
D51 D52 D53O D54O D55O D56O D57+ D58+ D59+
R30 R31 R32 R33 R34 R35 R36O R37O R38+ D60+
R29 R28 R27 R26 R25 R24 R23 R22 R21 R20
R10 R11 R12 R13 R14 R15 R16 R17 R18 R19
R9 R8 R7 R6 R5 R4 R3 R2 R1 C1
C# Conservative, caucusing with the Republicans
D# Democratic
I# Independent, caucusing with the Democrats
R# Republican
Incumbent re-elected or appointee elected to finish term
O Party hold: New senator elected from same party
+ Party gain: New senator elected from different party

Race summary

A bolded state indicates an article about that election.

A bolded candidate indicates the winner.

State Incumbent senator Incumbent party Result Candidates
Alabama James Allen Democratic Re-elected James Allen (Democratic) 95.8%
Alvin Abercrombie (Prohibition) 4.2%
Alaska Mike Gravel Democratic Re-elected Mike Gravel (Democratic) 58.3%
C. R. Lewis (Republican) 41.7%
Arizona Barry Goldwater Republican Re-elected Barry Goldwater (Republican) 58.3%
Jonathan Marshall (Democratic) 41.7%
Arkansas J. William Fulbright Democratic Lost renomination
Democratic hold
Dale Bumpers (Democratic) 84.9%
John H. Jones (Republican) 15.1%
California Alan Cranston Democratic Re-elected Alan Cranston (Democratic) 60.5%
H. L. Richardson (Republican) 36.2%
Jack McCoy (American Independent) 1.7%
Gayle M. Justice (Peace and Freedom) 1.6%
Colorado Peter H. Dominick Republican Lost re-election
Democratic gain
Gary Hart (Democratic) 57.2%
Peter H. Dominick (Republican) 39.5%
John M King (Independent) 2.0%
Joseph Fred Hyskell (Prohibition) 1.0%
Henry John Olshaw (American) 0.3%
Connecticut Abraham A. Ribicoff Democratic Re-elected Abraham A. Ribicoff (Democratic) 63.7%
James H. Brannen III (Republican) 34.3%
Florida Edward J. Gurney Republican Retired
Democratic gain
Richard Stone (Democratic) 43.4%
Jack Eckerd (Republican) 40.9%
John Grady (American) 15.7%
Georgia Herman Talmadge Democratic Re-elected Herman Talmadge (Democratic) 71.7%
Jerry Johnson (Republican) 28.2%
Hawaii Daniel Inouye Democratic Re-elected Daniel Inouye (Democratic) 82.9%
James D. Kimmel (Independent) 17.1%
Idaho Frank Church Democratic Re-elected Frank Church (Democratic) 56.1%
Robert L. Smith (Republican) 42.1%
Jean Stoddard (American) 1.8%
Illinois Adlai Stevenson III Democratic Re-elected Adlai Stevenson III (Democratic) 62.2%
George M. Burditt (Republican) 37.2%
Indiana Birch Bayh Democratic Re-elected Birch Bayh (Democratic) 50.7%
Richard Lugar (Republican) 46.4%
Don L. Lee (American) 2.8%
Iowa Harold Hughes Democratic Retired
Democratic hold
John Culver (Democratic) 52.0%
David M. Stanley (Republican) 47.3%
Kansas Bob Dole Republican Re-elected Bob Dole (Republican) 50.9%
William R. Roy (Democratic) 49.1%
Kentucky Marlow Cook Republican Lost re-election
Democratic gain
Wendell Ford (Democratic) 53.5%
Marlow Cook (Republican) 44.1%
William E. Parker (American) 2.4%
Louisiana Russell B. Long Democratic Re-elected Russell B. Long (Democratic) Unopposed
Maryland Charles Mathias, Jr. Republican Re-elected Charles Mathias, Jr. (Republican) 57.3%
Barbara Mikulski (Democratic) 42.7%
Missouri Thomas Eagleton Democratic Re-elected Thomas Eagleton (Democratic) 60.1%
Thomas B. Curtis (Republican) 39.3%
Cliff Talmage (Independent) 0.6%
Nevada Alan Bible Democratic Retired
Republican gain
Paul Laxalt (Republican) 47.0%
Harry Reid (Democratic) 46.6%
New Hampshire Norris Cotton Republican Retired
Republican hold[2]
Louis C. Wyman (Republican) 49.7%
John A. Durkin (Democratic) 49.7%
New York Jacob K. Javits Republican Re-elected Jacob K. Javits (Republican) 45.3%
Ramsey Clark (Democratic) 38.2%
Barbara A. Keating (Conservative) 15.9%
Rebecca Finch (Socialist Workers Party) 0.1%
William F Dowling Jr (Courage) 0.1%
Robert E Massi (Socialist Labor) 0.08%
Mildred Edelman (Communist) 0.08%
Elijah Boyd Jr (Labor) 0.07%
North Carolina Sam Ervin Democratic Retired
Democratic hold
Robert Burren Morgan (Democratic) 62.1%
William E. Stevens (Republican) 37.0%
North Dakota Milton Young Republican Re-elected Milton Young (Republican) 48.4%
William L. Guy (Democratic) 48.3%
Ohio Howard Metzenbaum Democratic Lost renomination
Democratic hold
John Glenn (Democratic) 64.6%
Ralph J. Perk (Republican) 30.7%
Oklahoma Henry Bellmon Republican Re-elected Henry Bellmon (Republican) 49.4%
Ed Edmondson (Democratic) 48.9%
Oregon Bob Packwood Republican Re-elected Bob Packwood (Republican) 54.9%
Betty Roberts (Democratic) 44.2%
Pennsylvania Richard Schweiker Republican Re-elected Richard Schweiker (Republican) 53.0%
Peter F. Flaherty (Democratic) 45.9%
George W. Shankey (Constitution) 1.1%
South Carolina Ernest Hollings Democratic Re-elected Ernest Hollings (Democratic) 69.5%
Gwenyfred Bush (Republican) 28.6%
South Dakota George McGovern Democratic Re-elected George McGovern (Democratic) 53.0%
Leo K. Thorsness (Republican) 47.0%
Utah Wallace F. Bennett Republican Retired
Republican hold
Jake Garn (Republican) 50.0%
Wayne Owens (Democratic) 44.1%
Vermont George Aiken Republican Retired
Democratic gain
Patrick Leahy (Democratic) 49.5%
Richard W. Mallary (Republican) 46.4%
Washington Warren G. Magnuson Democratic Re-elected Warren G. Magnuson (Democratic) 60.7%
Jack Metcalf (Republican) 36.1%
Gene Goosman (American Independent) 2%
Clare Fraenzl (Socialist Workers) 0.8%
Pat Ruckert (U.S. Labor) 0.4%
Wisconsin Gaylord Nelson Democratic Re-elected Gaylord Nelson (Democratic) 61.8%
Tom Petri (Republican) 35.8%

Complete list of races


Patrick Leahy 1979 congressional photo.jpg
Patrick Leahy 1979 congressional photo.jpg
Richard W. Mallary.jpg
Richard W. Mallary.jpg

Incumbent Republican George Aiken did not run for re-election to another term in the United States Senate. Democratic candidate, attorney and prosecutor Patrick Leahy defeated Republican candidate, congressman Richard W. Mallary to succeed him.

Republican primary results[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Richard W. Mallary 27,221 59.1%
Republican Charles R. Ross 16,479 35.8%
Republican T. Serse Ambrosini 2,265 4.9%
Republican Other 61 0.1%
Total votes 46,026 100.0%
Democratic primary results[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Patrick Leahy 19,801 83.9%
Democratic Nathaniel Frothingham 3,703 15.7%
Democratic Other 97 0.4%
Total votes 23,601 100.0%
United States Senate election in Vermont, 1974[4]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Patrick Leahy 70,629 49.47%
Republican Richard W. Mallary 66,223 46.38%
Liberty Union Bernie Sanders 5,901 4.13%
N/A Other 19 0.0%
Total votes 142,772 100.0%


  1. ^ James M. Naughton (November 6, 1974). "Senate and House Margins Are Substantially Enlarged". New York Times. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  2. ^ Election was contested; Louis C. Wyman (R) was seated, then resigned so that a new election could take place. Norris Cotton (R) held the seat temporarily until a new special election in 1975 selected John A. Durkin (D).
  3. ^ a b "Primary Election Results" (PDF). Office of the Vermont Secretary of State. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  4. ^ "General Election Results - U.S. Senator - 1914-2014" (PDF). Office of the Vermont Secretary of State. Retrieved June 17, 2015.

See also

Content from Wikipedia