1988 United States Senate election in Montana

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United States Senate election in Montana, 1988

← 1982 November 8, 1988 1994 →
  Conrad Burns official portrait.jpg John Melcher (cropped).jpg
Nominee Conrad Burns John Melcher
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 189,445 175,809
Percentage 51.9% 48.1%

Montana Senate Election Results by County, 1988.svg
County Results

Burns:      50-60%      60-70%      70-80%

Melcher:      50–60%      60–70%

U.S. Senator before election

John Melcher

Elected U.S. Senator

Conrad Burns

The 1988 United States Senate election in Montana took place on November 8, 1988. Incumbent United States Senator John Melcher, who was first elected to the Senate in 1976 and was re-elected in 1982, ran for re-election. After winning the Democratic primary, he faced Yellowstone County Commissioner Conrad Burns in the general election, and a grueling campaign followed. Ultimately, Melcher was narrowly defeated in his bid for re-election by Burns, who became the first Republican Senator from Montana in 36 years since Zales Ecton lost re-election in 1952.

Democratic primary[edit]



Democratic Party primary results[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Jack Melcher (Incumbent) 88,457 74.54
Democratic Bob Kelleher 30,212 25.46
Total votes 118,669 100.00

Republican primary[edit]



Republican Primary results[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Conrad Burns 63,330 84.71
Republican Tom Faranda 11,427 15.29
Total votes 74,757 100.00

General election[edit]


United States Senate election in Montana, 1988[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Conrad Burns 189,445 51.87% +10.20%
Democratic John Melcher (Incumbent) 175,809 48.13% -6.33%
Majority 13,636 3.73% -9.06%
Turnout 365,254
Republican gain from Democratic Swing

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Report of the Official Canvass of the Vote Cast at the Primary Election Held in the State of Montana, June 7, 1988" (PDF). Montana Secretary of State. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-28. Retrieved July 2, 2014.
  2. ^ "Statistics of the Presidential and Congressional Election of November 8, 1988" (PDF). Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. Retrieved July 2, 2014.
Preceded by
Montana U.S. Senate elections
Succeeded by