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United States Senate elections, 1986

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United States Senate elections, 1986

United States Senate elections, 1986

November 4, 1986

34 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate
51 seats needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party
Leader Robert Byrd Bob Dole
Party Democratic Republican
Leader's seat West Virginia Kansas
Last election 47 seats 53 seats
Seats won 55 45
Seat change Increase 8 Decrease 8
Popular vote 24,347,369 23,126,219
Percentage 50.1% 47.6%
Swing Increase 0.3% Decrease 1.7%

  Republican hold
  Republican gain
  Democratic hold
  Democratic gain

Majority Leader before election

Bob Dole

Elected Majority Leader

Robert Byrd

The U.S. Senate election, 1986 was an election for the United States Senate in the middle of Ronald Reagan's second presidential term. The Republicans had to defend an unusually large number of freshman Senate incumbents who had been elected on President Ronald Reagan's coattails in 1980. Democrats won a net of eight seats, defeating seven freshman incumbents and regaining control of the Senate for the first time since 1980. The party not controlling the presidency gained seats, as usually occurs in mid-term elections.

Results summary

Shading indicates party with largest share of that line.
Parties Total
Democratic Republican Conservative Independent Libertarian Other
Last election: 1984 47 53 0 0 0 0 100
Before this election 47 53 0 0 0 0 100
Not Up 35 31 0 0 0 0 66
Up 12 22 0 0 0 0 34
Replaced by other party 2 1 3
Held by same party 1 2 3
Won re-election 9 12 21
Lost re-election 0 7 7
Lost renomination,
but held by same party
0 0 0
Summary Total Won 11 13 24
Total Lost 1 9 9
Total Picked-up 9 1 10
Change Increase 8 Decrease 8 Steady Steady Steady Steady Steady
Elected 20 14 0 0 0 0 34
Votes 24,347,369 23,126,219 212,101 155,032 104,338 665,946 48,611,005
Share 50.1% 47.6% 0.4% 0.3% 0.2% 1.4% 100%
Result 55 45 0 0 0 0 100

Change in Senate composition

Senate composition before the elections

D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 D7 D8 D9 D10
D20 D19 D18 D17 D16 D15 D14 D13 D12 D11
D21 D22 D23 D24 D25 D26 D27 D28 D29 D30
D40 D39 D38 D37 D36 D35 D34 D33 D32 D31
D41 D42 D43 D44 D45 D46 D47 R53 R52 R51
R41 R42 R43 R44 R45 R46 R47 R48 R49 R50
R40 R39 R38 R37 R36 R35 R34 R33 R32 R31
R21 R22 R23 R24 R25 R26 R27 R28 R29 R30
R20 R19 R18 R17 R16 R15 R14 R13 R12 R11
R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10

Senate composition as a result of the elections

D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 D7 D8 D9 D10
D20 D19 D18 D17 D16 D15 D14 D13 D12 D11
D21 D22 D23 D24 D25 D26 D27 D28 D29 D30
D40 D39 D38 D37 D36 D35 D34 D33 D32 D31
D41 D42 D43 D44 D45O D46O D47+ D48+ D49+ D50+
Majority→ D51+
R45 R46 R47 R48O R49+ D55+ D54+ D53+ D52+
R40 R39 R38 R37 R36 R35 R34 R33 R32 R31
R21 R22 R23 R24 R25 R26 R27 R28 R29 R30
R20 R19 R18 R17 R16 R15 R14 R13 R12 R11
R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10
D# Democratic
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

Democratic gains

In this Senate election, the Democrats gained a net of eight seats, and recaptured control of the Senate from the Republicans with a 55 - 45 majority. Robert Dole (R-Kansas) and Robert C. Byrd (D-West Virginia) exchanged positions as the Majority Leader and the Minority Leader.

This was the last election — up through the present — in which the Democrats in this Class of Senators (1/3 of the Senate) amassed a gain in seats (not including special elections held in off-years in some states to fill the seats that had been vacated by Senators due to death, resignation, or otherwise).

Republican gain

The only win by the Republican Party was for one "open seat" in Missouri. On the other hand, the Democratic Party won the "open seats" in Maryland and Nevada, and the Democrats also defeated seven incumbent Republican Senators, six of them who were first-term senators who had been elected in 1980.

Incumbents who lost re-election

Subsequent action

During 1987, Edward Zorinsky (D-Nebraska) died and was replaced by David K. Karnes (R-Nebraska). This result has not been included in these summaries and totals.

Complete list of races

State Incumbent senator Incumbent party Result Candidates
Alabama Jeremiah Denton Republican Lost re-election
Democratic gain
Richard Shelby (Democratic) 50.9%
Jeremiah Denton (Republican) 49.1%
Alaska Frank Murkowski Republican Re-elected Frank Murkowski (Republican) 54.0%
Glenn Olds (Democratic) 44.1%
Chuck House (Libertarian) 1.7%
Arizona Barry Goldwater Republican Retired
Republican hold
John McCain (Republican) 60.6%
Richard Kimball (Democratic) 39.4%
Arkansas Dale Bumpers Democratic Re-elected Dale Bumpers (Democratic) 62.9%
Asa Hutchinson (Republican) 37.1%
California Alan Cranston Democratic Re-elected Alan Cranston (Democratic) 49.3%
Ed Zschau (Republican) 47.8%
Breck McKinley (Libertarian) 1.5%
Edward B. Vallen (American Ind.) 0.9%
Andrew R. Kangas (Peace & Freedom) 0.5%
Colorado Gary Hart Democratic Retired
Democratic hold
Tim Wirth (Democratic) 49.9%
Ken Kramer (Republican) 48.4%
Michael Bush (Independent) 1.0%
Michael Chamberlain (Socialist Workers) 0.4%
Henry Olshaw (Unaffiliated American) 0.2%
Calvin Dodge (Prohibition) 0.1%
Connecticut Chris Dodd Democratic Re-elected Chris Dodd (Democratic) 64.8%
Roger W. Eddy (Republican) 34.8%
Edward McCallum (Independent) 0.4%
Florida Paula Hawkins Republican Lost re-election
Democratic gain
Bob Graham (Democratic) 55%
Paula Hawkins (Republican) 45%
Georgia Mack Mattingly Republican Lost re-election
Democratic gain
Wyche Fowler (Democratic) 50.9%
Mack Mattingly (Republican) 49.1%
Hawaii Daniel Inouye Democratic Re-elected Daniel Inouye (Democratic) 73.6%
Frank Hutchinson (Republican) 26.4%
Idaho Steve Symms Republican Re-elected Steve Symms (Republican) 51.4%
John V. Evans (Democratic) 48.6%
Illinois Alan J. Dixon Democratic Re-elected Alan J. Dixon (Democratic) 65.4%
Judy Koehler (Republican) 34.1%
Indiana Dan Quayle Republican Re-elected Dan Quayle (Republican) 61.1%
Jill L. Long (Democratic) 38.9%
Iowa Chuck Grassley Republican Re-elected Chuck Grassley (Republican) 66.0%
John P. Roehrick (Democratic) 34.0%
Kansas Bob Dole Republican Re-elected Bob Dole (Republican) 70.1%
Guy MacDonald (Democratic) 29.9%
Kentucky Wendell H. Ford Democratic Re-elected Wendell H. Ford (Democratic) 74.3%
Jackson M. Andrews (Republican) 25.7%
Louisiana Russell B. Long Democratic Retired
Democratic hold
John Breaux (Democratic) 52.8%
Henson Moore (Republican) 47.2%
Maryland Charles Mathias, Jr. Republican Retired
Democratic gain
Barbara Mikulski (Democratic) 60.8%
Linda Chavez (Republican) 39.2%
Missouri Thomas Eagleton Democratic Retired
Republican gain
Kit Bond (Republican) 52.6%
Harriett Woods (Democratic) 47.4%
Nevada Paul Laxalt Republican Retired
Democratic gain
Harry Reid (Democratic) 50.0%
James David Santini (Republican) 44.5%
Kent Cromwell (Libertarian) 1.9%
New Hampshire Warren Rudman Republican Re-elected Warren Rudman (Republican) 62.9%
Endicott Peabody (Democratic) 32.4%
Gruce Valley (Independent) 4.7%
New York Al D'Amato Republican Re-elected Al D'Amato (Republican) 57.7%
Mark J. Green (Democratic) 40.9%
John S. Dyson (Liberal) 1.4%
Fred Newman (New Alliance) 0.3%
Michael Shur (Socialist Workers) 0.2%
North Carolina
Jim Broyhill Republican Interim appointee lost election to finish term
Democratic gain
Terry Sanford (Democratic) 50.9%
Jim Broyhill (Republican) 49.1%
North Carolina
Interim appointee lost election to the next term
Democratic gain
Terry Sanford (Democratic) 51.8%
Jim Broyhill (Republican) 48.2%
North Dakota Mark Andrews Republican Lost re-election
Democratic gain
Kent Conrad (Democratic) 49.8%
Mark Andrews (Republican) 49.0%
Ohio John Glenn Democratic Re-elected John Glenn (Democratic) 62.4%
Tom Kindness (Republican) 37.6%
Oklahoma Don Nickles Republican Re-elected Don Nickles (Republican) 54.5%
James Robert Jones (Democratic) 45.5%
Oregon Bob Packwood Republican Re-elected Bob Packwood (Republican) 63.5%
Rick Bauman (Democratic) 36.5%
Pennsylvania Arlen Specter Republican Re-elected Arlen Specter (Republican) 56.9%
Robert W. Edgar (Democratic) 43.1%
South Carolina Ernest Hollings Democratic Re-elected Ernest Hollings (Democratic) 63.9%
Henry D. McMaster (Republican) 36.1%
South Dakota James Abdnor Republican Lost re-election
Democratic gain
Tom Daschle (Democratic) 51.7%
James Abdnor (Republican) 48.3%
Utah Jake Garn Republican Re-elected Jake Garn (Republican) 72.3%
Craig Oliver (Democratic) 26.6%
Hugh A. Butler (Libertarian) 0.7%
Mary Zins (Independent) 0.4%
Vermont Patrick Leahy Democratic Re-elected Patrick Leahy (Democratic) 63.7%
Richard A. Snelling (Republican) 34.7%
Washington Slade Gorton Republican Lost re-election
Democratic gain
Brock Adams (Democratic) 50.6%
Slade Gorton (Republican) 48.7%
Jill Fein (Socialist Workers) 0.7%
Wisconsin Bob Kasten Republican Re-elected Bob Kasten (Republican) 51.8%
Ed Garvey (Democratic) 48.2%

See also

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