1998 United States elections

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1998 United States elections
Midterm elections
Election dayNovember 3
Incumbent presidentBill Clinton (Democratic)
Next Congress106th
Senate elections
Overall controlRepublican Hold
Seats contested34 of 100 seats
Net seat changeNone
1998 Senate election map.svg
1998 Senate election results

  Democratic gain   Democratic hold
  Republican gain   Republican hold

House elections
Overall controlRepublican Hold
Seats contestedAll 435 voting seats
Popular vote marginRepublican +1.1%
Net seat changeDemocratic +5
United States House of Representatives elections, 1998.png
1998 House of Representatives election results

  Democratic gain   Democratic hold
  Republican gain   Republican hold
  Independent hold

Gubernatorial elections
Seats contested38 (36 states, 2 territories)
Net seat changeDemocratic +1
1998 Gubernatorial election map.svg
1998 gubernatorial election results
Territorial races not shown

  Democratic gain   Democratic hold
  Republican gain   Republican hold
  Reform gain   Independent hold

The 1998 United States elections were held on November 3, 1998 in the middle of Democratic President Bill Clinton's second term. The elections showed little change, and the composition in both houses of the United States Congress were not significantly altered.[1]

In the Senate elections, neither party made gains, as Republicans won Senate seats from Illinois, Kentucky, and Ohio. Democrats won seats in New York, North Carolina, and Indiana.

The parallel House of Representatives elections saw a significant disruption of the historic six-year itch trend, where the President's party loses seats in the second-term midterm elections, as the Democrats picked up 5 seats in the House. This also marked the second time in U.S. history since the Civil War that the President's party gained seats in a midterm election, the first being 1934 and the third being 2002. This is also the only time this has happened during the president's second term rather than their first.

Furthermore, neither party made net gains in governorships. Texas Governor George W. Bush's landslide re-election solidified his status as a front-runner for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination.[2]

The election was the most successful midterm for a president's party since at least the 1962 election during John F. Kennedy's administration. The impeachment of Clinton likely played a major role in the success of the Democratic Party. The election precipitated a change in Republican leadership, with Newt Gingrich resigning as Speaker of the House.[2]

A 2001 study by Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz attributes the Republican Party's poor performance in the 1998 elections to a public backlash against Republicans' handling of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal and the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton.[3]


  1. ^ "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 3, 1998" (PDF). U.S. House of Reps, Office of the Clerk. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  2. ^ a b Busch, Andrew (1999). Horses in Midstream. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 145–148.
  3. ^ Abramowitz, Alan I. (2001). "It's Monica, Stupid: The Impeachment Controversy and the 1998 Midterm Election". Legislative Studies Quarterly. 26 (2): 211. doi:10.2307/440200.