1990 United States Senate election in New Hampshire

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United States Senate election in New Hampshire, 1990

← 1984 November 6, 1990 1996 →
  Robert C Smith.jpg John A. Durkin.jpg
Nominee Bob Smith John A. Durkin
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 189,792 91,299
Percentage 65.1% 31.3%

New Hampshire Senate 1990.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Gordon J. Humphrey

Elected U.S. Senator

Bob Smith

The 1990 United States Senate election in New Hampshire was held on November 6, 1990. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Gordon J. Humphrey decided to retire and not run for re-election to a third term. Republican Bob Smith won the open seat, easily defeating the Democratic nominee, former senator John A. Durkin.





  • John G. Elsnau


The 1990 New Hampshire Senate race garnered national news after John Durkin, previously a senator from New Hampshire in 1975-1980, made a remark that was perceived as a racial slur against the Japanese. Durkin told reporters interviewing him, "If you want a Jap in the United States Senate, then vote for Bob Smith". "Jap" is a term that was frequently used in WWII to describe the japanese, and was, by 1990, considered racist terminology. The quote destroyed Durkin's campaign and he ended up losing to Smith by a more than 2-to-1 margin, a devastating blow for the ex-senator. [1]

Despite this, Durkin is much more well known for his victory in the closest U.S. senate election in U.S. history that spanned from 1974-1975, due to the entire election having been redone. [2]


General election results[3]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Bob Smith 189,792 65.13%
Democratic John A. Durkin 91,299 31.33%
Libertarian John G. Elsnau 9,102 3.34%
Write-In Candidates 585 0.20%
Majority 98,493 33.80%
Turnout 291,393

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Leubsdorf, Ben. "Former U.S. Senator John Durkin dies". Concord Monitor. CM. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  2. ^ Chavis, Christopher. "Speak your Piece: The Last Federal Election Re-do". Daily Yonder. Daily Yonder. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  3. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=3533