Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Brown Victory in Massachusetts Would End 3rd Longest GOP U.S. Senate Drought in Nation

Bookmark and Share

Only West Virginia and Hawaii have gone more years without electing a Republican to a U.S. Senate seat

With all the momentum seemingly with state Senator Scott Brown in his special election battle with Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, Republicans are on the edge of their seats Tuesday in hopes of winning their first U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts since 1972.

The 38-year drought is currently the third longest for the GOP in the country, along with the state of New Jersey.

Massachusetts and New Jersey voters last elected Republicans Edward Brooke and Clifford Case respectively to the Senate back in 1972. (New Jersey Republican Senator Nicholas Brady was appointed in 1982).

But as Smart Politics documented Monday, a competitive showing, or even a victory for the Republican candidate in the heavily Democratic state of Massachusetts on Tuesday, would not be an anomaly in the annals of U.S. Senate special elections.

Special elections have been approximately 10 points more competitive than full-term seat contests since 1990, and 65 percent of U.S. Senate special elections since 1970 have resulted in a partisan flipping of voter preferences since the last time the seat in question was on the ballot (13 of 20 contests).

Moreover, despite its left-leaning tendencies, the Bay State has elected several Republicans to prominent statewide offices in recent years - notably Governors William Weld, A. Paul Cellucci, and Mitt Romney.

Additionally, state Senator Brown is considered by most analysts to be a good Republican fit "for the state." That is to say, Brown is viewed as being much more liberal than most high profile Republican candidates and officeholders nationwide.

The 38-year U.S. Senate election drought for the GOP in Massachusetts is only eclipsed by the states of West Virginia (54 years, 1956) and Hawaii (40 years, 1970). The Democratic hold on West Virginia might very well end once 92-year old Robert Byrd is no longer on the ballot - Byrd has served 51+ years in the Senate to date.

In the Upper Midwest, North Dakota is tied, along with Maryland, for the 5th longest GOP U.S. Senate election victory drought in the nation at 30 years - with Republicans favored to win the open seat being vacated by retiring Democrat Byron Dorgan this November.

Wisconsin has the 8th longest GOP drought in the country at 24 years. The last Republican elected by the Badger State to the U.S. Senate was Robert Kasten, Jr. in 1986. Kasten was defeated by Democrat Russ Feingold in 1992.

Minnesota is tied for the 19th longest Republican election victory drought in the U.S. at eight years (Norm Coleman, 2002).

Number of Years Since the Republican Party Last Won a U.S. Senate Election by State

Rank
State
Senator
Elected
Years
1
West Virginia
W. Chapman Revercomb
1956
54
2
Hawaii
Hiram Fong
1970
40
3
Massachusetts
Edward Brooke
1972
38
3
New Jersey
Clifford Case
1972
38
5
Maryland
Charles Mathias
1980
30
5
North Dakota
Mark Andrews
1980
30
7
Connecticut
Lowell Weicker
1982
28
8
Wisconsin
Robert Kasten, Jr.
1986
24
9
California
Pete Wilson
1988
22
10
New York
Al D'Amato
1992
18
11
Delaware
William Roth
1994
16
11
Michigan
Spencer Abraham
1994
16
11
Washington
Slade Gordon
1994
16
14
Arkansas
Tim Hutchinson
1996
14
15
Illinois
Peter Fitzgerald
1998
12
16
Montana
Conrad Burns
2000
10
16
Rhode Island
Lincoln Chafee
2000
10
16
Vermont
Jim Jeffords
2000
10
19
Colorado
Wayne Allard
2002
8
19
Minnesota
Norm Coleman
2002
8
19
New Mexico
Pete Domenici
2002
8
19
Oregon
Gordon Smith
2002
8
19
Virginia
John Warner
2002
8
24*
Alaska
Lisa Murkowski
2004
6
24*
Florida
Mel Martinez
2004
6
24*
Iowa
Chuck Grassley
2004
6
24*
Louisiana
David Vitter
2004
6
24*
Missouri
Kit Bond
2004
6
24*
New Hampshire
Judd Gregg
2004
6
24*
North Carolina
Richard Burr
2004
6
24*
Ohio
George Voinovich
2004
6
24*
Pennsylvania
Arlen Specter
2004
6
24*
South Dakota
John Thune
2004
6
34*
Arizona
Jon Kyl
2006
4
34*
Indiana
Richard Lugar
2006
4
34*
Nevada
John Ensign
2006
4
34*
Utah
Orrin Hatch
2006
4
38*
Alabama
Jeff Sessions
2008
2
38*
Georgia
Saxby Chambliss
2008
2
38*
Idaho
Jim Risch
2008
2
38*
Kansas
Pat Roberts
2008
2
38*
Kentucky
Mitch McConnell
2008
2
38*
Maine
Susan Collins
2008
2
38*
Mississippi
Thad Cochran
2008
2
38*
Nebraska
Mike Johanns
2008
2
38*
Oklahoma
James Inhofe
2008
2
38*
South Carolina
Lindsey Graham
2008
2
38*
Tennessee
Lamar Alexander
2008
2
38*
Texas
John Cornyn
2008
2
38*
Wyoming
Michael Enzi
2008
2
* Denotes state in which the Republican Party won its most recent gubernatorial election. Data compiled by Smart Politics.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Massachusetts U.S. Senate Race: Special Elections Frequently See Flip in Voter Preferences
Next post: Will Roy Srp Help to Upend Mike Parry? The Independent Streak of MN Senate District 26

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Which States Have the Longest and Shortest Election Day Voting Hours?

Residents in some North Dakota towns have less than half as many hours to cast their ballots as those in New York State.

Political Crumbs

No 100-Year Curse for Roberts

Defeating his Tea Party primary challenger Milton Wolf with just 48.1 percent of the vote, Pat Roberts narrowly escaped becoming the first elected U.S. Senator from Kansas to lose a renomination bid in 100 years. The last - and so far only - elected U.S. Senator to lose a Kansas primary was one-term Republican Joseph Bristow in 1914. Bristow was defeated by former U.S. Senator Charles Curtis who went on to win three terms before becoming Herbert Hoover's running mate in 1928. Only one other U.S. Senator from the Sunflower State has lost a primary since the passage of the 17th Amendment: Sheila Frahm in 1996. Frahm was appointed to fill Bob Dole's seat earlier that year and finished 13.2 points behind Sam Brownback in the three-candidate primary field. Overall, incumbent senators from Kansas have won 29 times against two defeats in the direct vote era. (Curtis also lost a primary in 1912 to Walter Stubbs, one year before the nation moved to direct elections).


The Second Time Around

Former Republican Congressman Bob Beauprez became the seventh major party or second place gubernatorial candidate in Colorado to get a second chance at the office when he narrowly won his party's nomination last month. Two of the previous six candidates were successful. Democrat Alva Adams lost his first gubernatorial bid to Benjamin Eaton in 1884, but was victorious two years later against William Meyer. Democrat Charles Johnson placed third in 1894 behind Republican Albert McIntyre and Populist incumbent Governor David Waite but returned as the Fusion (Democrat/Populist) nominee in 1898 and defeated GOPer Henry Wolcott. Gubernatorial candidates who received a second chance but lost both general elections include Democrat Thomas Patterson (1888, 1914), Progressive Edward Costigan (1912, 1914), Republican Donald Brotzman (1954, 1956), and Republican David Strickland (1978, 1986).


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting