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United States Senate special election in Oregon, 1996


United States Senate special election in Oregon, 1996

United States Senate special election in Oregon, 1996

January 30, 1996

Nominee Ron Wyden Gordon H. Smith
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 571,739 553,519
Percentage 47.8% 46.3%

County results

U.S. Senator before election

Robert Packwood

Elected U.S. Senator

Ron Wyden

The 1996 United States Senate special election in Oregon was held on January 30, 1996 to fill the seat vacated by Republican Bob Packwood, who had resigned from the Senate due to sexual misconduct allegations.

In the primaries held on December 5, 1995, Democratic U. S. Representative Ron Wyden and Republican President of the Oregon State Senate Gordon H. Smith were nominated. Wyden then defeated Smith in the general election.[1] Smith would win the regularly-scheduled election to the Senate later that year and serve alongside Wyden until 2009.

Democratic primary


  • Peter DeFazio, U.S. Representative[2]
  • Michael Donnelly, businessman and President of Wild Oregon Water[3]
  • Anna Nevenic, nurse and perennial candidate[4]
  • J.J.T. Van Dooremolen
  • Ron Wyden, U.S. Representative[5]


Democratic primary results[6]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ron Wyden 212,532 49.46%
Democratic Peter DeFazio 187,411 43.61%
Democratic Anna Nevenic 11,201 2.61%
Democratic Michael Donnelly 8,340 1.94%
Democratic Write-in Candidates 7,959 1.85%
Democratic J.J.T. Van Dooremolen 2,279 0.53%
Majority 25,121 5.85%
Totals 429,722 100%

Republican primary



Republican primary results[14]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Gordon H. Smith 246,060 63.63%
Republican Norma Paulus 98,158 25.38%
Republican Jack Roberts 29,687 7.68%
Republican John Thomas 3,272 0.85%
Republican Brian Boquist 3,228 0.84%
Republican Tony G. Zangaro 1,638 0.42%
Republican Sam Berry 1,426 0.37%
Republican Jeffrey Brady 1,160 0.3%
Republican Valentine Christian 943 0.24%
Republican Robert J. Fenton 632 0.16%
Republican Lex Loeb 508 0.13%
Majority 147,902 38.25%
Totals 386,712 100%

General election


General election results[15]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ron Wyden 571,739 47.78%
Republican Gordon H. Smith 553,519 46.26%
American Independent Karen Shilling 25,597 2.14%
Libertarian Gene Nanni 15,698 1.31%
Write-In Write-In Candidates 14,958 1.25%
Socialist Vickie Valdez 7,872 0.66%
Pacific Green Lou Gold 7,225 0.60%
Majority 18,220 1.52
Totals 1,196,608 100%
Democratic gain from Republican


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