1950 United States Senate elections

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1950 United States Senate elections

← 1948 November 7, 1950[1] 1952 →

32[1] of the 96 seats in the United States Senate
49 seats needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party
  ScottWikeLucas.jpg Kenneth wherry.jpg
Leader Scott Lucas
(lost re-election)
Ken Wherry
Party Democratic Republican
Leader since January 3, 1949 January 3, 1949
Leader's seat Illinois Nebraska
Seats before 54 42
Seats after 49 47
Seat change Decrease 5 Increase 5
Popular vote 15,297,854 16,166,439
Percentage 47.2% 49.9%
Swing Decrease 9.0% Increase 7.3%
Seats up 20 12
Races won 15 17

Us 1950 senate election map.svg
Results including special elections
     Democratic gains      Democratic holds
     Republican holds      Republican gains

Majority Leader before election

Scott Lucas
Democratic

Elected Majority Leader

Ernest McFarland
Democratic

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

Gains and losses[edit]

The Republicans defeated four incumbent Democrats:

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

Republicans also won two open seats:

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

Democrats defeated one incumbent Republican:

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

Change in Senate composition[edit]

Before the elections[edit]

  D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 D7 D8
D18 D17 D16 D15 D14 D13 D12 D11 D10 D9
D19 D20 D21 D22 D23 D24 D25 D26 D27 D28
D38
Ran
D37
Ran
D36
Ran
D35
Ran
D34 D33 D32 D31 D30 D29
D39
Ran
D40
Ran
D41
Ran
D42
Ran
D43
Ran
D44
Ran
D45
Ran
D46
Ran
D47
Ran
D48
Ran
Majority → D49
Ran
R39
Ran
R40
Ran
R41
Ran
R42
Retired
D54
Retired
D53
Retired
D52
Ran
D51
Ran
D50
Ran
R38
Ran
R37
Ran
R36
Ran
R35
Ran
R34
Ran
R33
Ran
R32
Ran
R31
Ran
R30 R29
R19 R20 R21 R22 R23 R24 R25 R26 R27 R28
R18 R17 R16 R15 R14 R13 R12 R11 R10 R9
R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8

Results of the general elections[edit]

  D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 D7 D8
D18 D17 D16 D15 D14 D13 D12 D11 D10 D9
D19 D20 D21 D22 D23 D24 D25 D26 D27 D28
D38
Re-elected
D37
Re-elected
D36
Re-elected
D35
Re-elected
D34 D33 D32 D31 D30 D29
D39
Re-elected
D40
Re-elected
D41
Re-elected
D42
Re-elected
D43
Re-elected
D44
Re-elected
D45
Re-elected
D46
Hold
D47
Hold
D48
Hold
Majority → D49
Gain
R39
Re-elected
R40
Re-elected
R41
Hold
R42
Hold
R43
Gain
R44
Gain
R45
Gain
R46
Gain
R47
Gain
R38
Re-elected
R37
Re-elected
R36
Re-elected
R35
Re-elected
R34
Re-elected
R33
Re-elected
R32
Re-elected
R31
Re-elected
R30 R29
R19 R20 R21 R22 R23 R24 R25 R26 R27 R28
R18 R17 R16 R15 R14 R13 R12 R11 R10 R9
R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8
Key:
D# Democratic
R# Republican

Race summaries[edit]

Special elections during the 81st Congress[edit]

In these special elections, the winners were seated during 1950 or before January 3, 1951; ordered by election date.

State Incumbent Results Candidates
Senator Party Electoral history
Connecticut
(Class 1)
William Benton Democratic 1949 (Appointed) Interim appointee elected November 7, 1950.
Idaho
(Class 2)
Henry C. Dworshak Republican 1946 (Special)
1948 (Lost)
1949 (Appointed)
Interim appointee elected November 7, 1950.
Kansas
(Class 3)
Harry Darby Republican 1949 (Appointed) Interim appointee retired November 28, 1950 when successor's election was certified.
Successor elected November 7, 1950.
Republican hold.
Winner was also elected to finish the term, see below.
Kentucky
(Class 3)
Garrett L. Withers Democratic 1949 (Appointed) Interim appointee resigned to trigger special election.
Successor elected November 7, 1950.
Democratic hold.
Winner was also elected to finish the term, see below.
North Carolina
(Class 2)
Frank Porter Graham Democratic 1949 (Appointed) Interim appointee lost nomination to finish term.
Winner elected November 7, 1950.
Democratic hold.
Rhode Island
(Class 1)
Edward L. Leahy Democratic 1949 (Appointed) Interim appointee retired.
Winner elected November 7, 1950.
Democratic hold.

Races leading to the 82nd Congress[edit]

In these general elections, the winner was seated on January 3, 1951; ordered by state.

All of the elections involved the Class 3 seats.

State Incumbent Results Candidates
Senator Party Electoral
history
Alabama Lister Hill Democratic 1938 (Appointed)
1938 (Special)
1938
1944
Incumbent re-elected.
Arizona Carl Hayden Democratic 1926
1932
1938
1944
Incumbent re-elected.
Arkansas J. William Fulbright Democratic 1944 Incumbent re-elected.
California Sheridan Downey Democratic 1938
1944
Incumbent ran, but then retired due to ill health.
New senator elected.
Republican gain.
Incumbent resigned November 30, 1950 due to ill health and the winner was appointed December 1, 1950 to finish the therm.
Colorado Eugene D. Millikin Republican 1941 (Appointed)
1942
1944
Incumbent re-elected.
Connecticut Brien McMahon Democratic 1944 Incumbent re-elected.
Florida Claude Pepper Democratic 1936 (Special)
1938
1944
Incumbent lost renomination.
New senator elected.
Democratic hold.[2]
Georgia Walter F. George Democratic 1922 (Special)
1926
1932
1938
1944
Incumbent re-elected.
Idaho Glen H. Taylor Democratic 1944 Incumbent lost renomination.
New senator elected.
Republican gain.
Illinois Scott W. Lucas Democratic 1938
1944
Incumbent lost re-election.
New senator elected.
Republican gain.
Indiana Homer E. Capehart Republican 1944 Incumbent re-elected.
Iowa Bourke B. Hickenlooper Republican 1944 Incumbent re-elected.
Kansas Harry Darby Republican 1949 (Appointed) Incumbent retired.
New senator elected.
Republican hold.
Winner was also elected to finish the current term, see above.
Kentucky Garrett L. Withers Democratic 1949 (Appointed) Incumbent retired.
New senator elected.
Democratic hold.
Incumbent resigned to trigger special election and winner was also elected to finish the current term, see above.
Louisiana Russell B. Long Democratic 1948 (Special) Incumbent re-elected.
Maryland Millard E. Tydings Democratic 1944 Incumbent lost re-election.
New senator elected.
Republican gain.
Missouri Forrest C. Donnell Republican 1944 Incumbent lost re-election.
New senator elected.
Democratic gain.
Nevada Patrick A. McCarran Democratic 1932
1938
1944
Incumbent re-elected.
New Hampshire Charles W. Tobey Republican 1938
1944
Incumbent re-elected.
New York Herbert H. Lehman Democratic 1926
1932
1938
1944
Incumbent re-elected.
North Carolina Clyde R. Hoey Democratic 1932
1932 (Special)
1938
1944
Incumbent re-elected.
North Dakota Milton R. Young Republican 1945 (Appointed)
1946 (Special)
Incumbent re-elected.
Ohio Robert A. Taft Republican 1938
1944
Incumbent re-elected.
Oklahoma Elmer Thomas Democratic 1926
1932
1938
1944
Incumbent lost renomination.
New senator elected.
Democratic hold.
Oregon Wayne Morse Republican 1944 Incumbent re-elected.
Pennsylvania Francis J. Myers Democratic 1944 Incumbent lost re-election.
New senator elected.
Republican gain.
South Carolina Olin B. Johnston Democratic 1944 Incumbent re-elected.
South Dakota Chandler Gurney Republican 1938
1944
Incumbent lost renomination.
New senator elected.
Republican hold.
Utah Elbert D. Thomas Democratic 1932
1938
1944
Incumbent lost re-election.
New senator elected.
Republican gain.
Vermont George D. Aiken Republican 1940 (Special)
1944
Incumbent re-elected.
Washington Warren G. Magnuson Democratic 1944 (Appointed)
1944
Incumbent re-elected.
Wisconsin Alexander Wiley Republican 1938
1944
Incumbent re-elected.

Special elections during the 82nd Congress[edit]

There were no elections in 1951 to the 82nd Congress.

Arizona[edit]

Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Carl Hayden ran for re-election to a fifth term, defeating Republican nominee Bruce Brockett in the general election. Brockett was formerly the Republican nominee for governor in both 1946 and 1948. Hayden first defeated Cecil H. Miller and Robert E. Miller (of the Arizona Farm Bureau), for the Democratic nomination.

Democratic primary[3]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Carl T. Hayden, incumbent U.S. Senator 95,544 70.97%
Democratic Cecil H. Miller 24,340 18.08%
Democratic Robert E. Miller 14,752 10.96%
Total votes 134,636 100.00
General election[4]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Carl T. Hayden 116,246 62.80%
Republican Bruce Brockett 68,846 37.20%
Majority 47,400 25.60%
Turnout 185,092
Democratic gain from Republican

California[edit]

Florida[edit]

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

New York[edit]

The Socialist Workers state convention met on July 9, and nominated Joseph Hansen for the U.S. Senate.[5]

The American Labor state convention met on September 6 and nominated W.E.B. DuBois for the U.S. Senate.[6]

The Republican state convention met on September 7 at Saratoga Springs, New York. They re-nominated Lieutenant Governor Joe R. Hanley for the U.S. Senate.[7]

The Democratic state convention met on September 7 at Rochester, New York, and re-nominated the incumbent U.S. Senator Herbert H. Lehman[8]

The Liberal state convention met on September 6 and 7 at the Statler Hotel in New York City, and endorsed Democratic nominee Lehman.[9]

Although almost the whole Republican statewide ticket was elected in a landslide, only the Democratic incumbent U.S. Senator, Ex-Governor Herbert H. Lehman, managed to stay in office.

General election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Herbert H. Lehman (Incumbent) 2,319,719
Republican Joe R. Hanley 2,367,353
Liberal Herbert H. Lehman (Incumbent) 312,594
American Labor W. E. B. Du Bois 205,729
Socialist Workers Joseph Hansen 13,340
Industrial Government Stephen Emery 7,559
Total votes

Pennsylvania[edit]

South Carolina[edit]

Vermont[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • "DEWEY'S PLURALITY OFFICIALLY 572,668; Canvassers' Tabulation Shows Lehman Defeated Hanley by Margin of 246,960". The New York Times. December 15, 1950.
  • New York Red Book 1951

Notes[edit]