United States Senate elections, 1970

United States Senate elections, 1970
United States
November 3, 1970

35 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate
51 seats needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party
Leader Mike Mansfield Hugh Scott
Party Democratic Republican
Leader's seat Montana Pennsylvania
Last election 58 seats 42 seats
Seats before 57 43
Seats won 54 44
Seat change Decrease 4 Increase 2
Popular vote 25,402,791 19,326,064
Percentage 52.4% 39.9%
Swing Increase 3.1% Decrease 6.6%

  Third party Fourth party
Party Independent Conservative (N.Y.)
Last election 0 seats 0 seats
Seats before 0 0
Seats won 1 1
Seat change Increase 1 Increase 1

  Republican hold
  Republican gain
  Democratic hold
  Democratic gain
  Conservative gain
  Indepedent gain

Majority Leader before election

Mike Mansfield

Elected Majority Leader

Mike Mansfield

The United States Senate elections, 1970 was an election for the United States Senate, taking place in the middle of Richard Nixon's first term as President. The Democrats lost a net of three seats, while the Republicans and the Conservative Party of New York picked up one net seat each, and former Democrat Harry F. Byrd, Jr. was re-elected as an independent. This was the most recent election in which a third party won a seat in the Senate until Joe Lieberman was elected as a candidate of the Connecticut for Lieberman party in 2006.

Results summary

Parties Total Seats Popular Vote
1968 1970 +/- Vote %
Democratic 57 54 Decrease 4 25,402,791 52.40%
Republican 43 44 Increase 2 19,326,064 39.87%
Conservative 0 1 Increase 1 2,183,572 4.50%
Others 0 1 Increase 1 1,566,033 3.23%
Total 100 100 Steady 48,478,460 100.0%

Source: Election Statistics - Office of the Clerk

Change in Senate composition

Before the elections

D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 D7 D8 D9 D10
D11 D12 D13 D14 D15 D16 D17 D18 D19 D20
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 D48 D49 D50
Majority → D51
R41 R42 R43 D57 D56 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

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 D45 D46 D47 D48 D49 D50O
Majority → D51O
R41+ R42+ R43+ R44+ C1+ I1@ D54+ D53+ D52O
R40O 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
C# Conservative
I# Independent
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
@ Party gain: Incumbent elected from a different party


Democratic holds

  1. Florida: Spessard Holland (D) retired and was replaced by Lawton Chiles (D).
  2. Minnesota: Eugene McCarthy (D) retired and was replaced by former Vice President (and former Senator) Hubert Humphrey (D).

Republican hold

  1. Delaware: John J. Williams (R) retired and was replaced by William Roth (R). He subsequently (December 31, 1970) resigned to give Roth additional seniority in the next term.

Republican gain

  1. Ohio: Stephen M. Young (D) retired and was replaced by Robert Taft, Jr. (R).

Incumbents who lost their seats

Democratic hold

  1. Texas: Ralph Yarborough (D) lost renomination to Lloyd Bentsen (D).

Democratic gains

  1. California: George Murphy (R) lost re-election to John V. Tunney (D).
  2. Illinois (Special- Class 3): Ralph Tyler Smith (R) lost re-election to Adlai Stevenson III (D).

Conservative gain

  1. New York: Charles Goodell (R), who was appointed in September 1969 to finish the term of the late Robert Kennedy, lost election to James L. Buckley (C).

Republican gains

  1. Connecticut: Thomas J. Dodd (D) dropped out of the Democratic primary, ran as an independent, and lost re-election to Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. (R).
  2. Maryland: Joseph Tydings (D) lost re-election to John Glenn Beall, Jr. (R).
  3. Tennessee: Al Gore, Sr. (D) lost re-election to Bill Brock (R).

Other changes

Independent gain

  1. Virginia: Harry F. Byrd, Jr. (D) won re-election as an Independent. He broke with the Democratic Party because they asked him to sign an oath of loyalty to the party. Instead of signing the restrictive contract, Byrd ran as an independent. He continued to caucus with the Democrats, and maintained his Democratic seniority.

Getting out the vote

President Nixon said that rather than violent protests, the best way for the American public to get their opinion heard was by voting:

The most powerful four letter word is a clean word, it’s the most powerful four letter word in the history of men, it's called vote. V-O-T-E. My friends, I say that the answer to those that engage in disruption, to those that shout their filthy slogans, to those that try to shout down speakers, it's not to answer in kind, but go to the polls in election day, and in the quiet of that ballot box, stand up and be counted, the great silent majority of America.

Complete list of races

A bold state name indicates an article about that state's election.

State Incumbent Party Result Candidates
Special (Class 2)
Ted Stevens Republican Appointee elected to finish term ending January 3, 1973 Ted Stevens (Republican) 59.6%
Wendell P. Kay (Democratic) 40.4%
Arizona Paul Fannin Republican Re-elected Paul Fannin (Republican) 56.0%
Sam Grossman (Democratic) 44.0%
California George Murphy Republican Lost re-election
Democratic gain
John V. Tunney (Democratic) 53.9%
George Murphy (Republican) 44.3%
Robert Scheer (Peace and Freedom) 0.9%
Charles C. Ripley (American Independent) 0.9%
Connecticut Thomas J. Dodd Democratic Lost re-election as an Independent
Republican gain
Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. (Republican) 41.7%
Joseph Duffey (Democratic) 33.8%
Thomas J. Dodd (independent) 24.5%
Delaware John J. Williams Republican Retired
Republican hold
William V. Roth, Jr. (Republican) 58.8%
Jacob Zimmerman (Democratic) 40.1%
Florida Spessard Holland Democratic Retired
Democratic hold
Lawton Chiles (Democratic) 53.9%
William C. Cramer (Republican) 46.1%
Hawaii Hiram Fong Republican Re-elected Hiram Fong (Republican) 51.6%
Cecil Heftel (Democratic) 48.4%
Special (Class 3)
Ralph Tyler Smith Republican Appointee lost election to finish term ending January 3, 1975
Democratic gain
Adlai Stevenson III (Democratic) 57.4%
Ralph Tyler Smith (Republican) 42.2%
Indiana Vance Hartke Democratic Re-elected Vance Hartke (Democratic) 50.1%
Richard L. Roudebush (Republican) 49.9%
Maine Edmund Muskie Democratic Re-elected Edmund Muskie (Democratic) 61.9%
Neil S. Bishop (Republican) 38.3%
Maryland Joseph Tydings Democratic Lost re-election
Republican gain
John Glenn Beall, Jr. (Republican) 50.7%
Joseph Tydings (Democratic) 48.1%
Massachusetts Ted Kennedy Democratic Re-elected Ted Kennedy (Democratic) 62.1%
Josiah A. Spaulding (Republican) 37.0%
Michigan Philip Hart Democratic Re-elected Philip Hart (Democratic) 66.8%
Lenore Romney (Republican) 32.9%
Minnesota Eugene McCarthy Democratic Retired
Democratic hold
Hubert Humphrey (Democratic) 57.8%
Clark MacGregor (Republican) 41.6%
Mississippi John C. Stennis Democratic Re-elected John C. Stennis (Democratic) 88.4%
William R. Thompson (Independent) 11.6%
Missouri Stuart Symington Democratic Re-elected Stuart Symington (Democratic) 51.1%
John Danforth (Republican) 48.1%
Gene Chapman (American Independent) 0.8%
E. J. DiGirolamo (Independent) 0.04%
Montana Mike Mansfield Democratic Re-elected Mike Mansfield (Democratic) 60.5%
Harold E. Wallace (Republican) 39.5%
Nebraska Roman Hruska Republican Re-elected Roman Hruska (Republican) 52.5%
Frank B. Morrison (Democratic) 47.5%
Nevada Howard Cannon Democratic Re-elected Howard Cannon (Democratic) 57.7%
William J. Raggio (Republican) 41.2%
New Jersey Harrison A. Williams Democratic Re-elected Harrison A. Williams (Democratic) 54.0%
Nelson G. Gross (Republican) 42.2%
New Mexico Joseph Montoya Democratic Re-elected Joseph Montoya (Democratic) 52.3%
Anderson Carter (Republican) 46.6%
New York Charles Goodell Republican Appointee lost election to term beginning January 3, 1971
Conservative gain
James L. Buckley (Conservative) 38.8%
Richard Ottinger (Democratic) 36.8%
Charles Goodell (Republican) 24.3%
North Dakota Quentin N. Burdick Democratic Re-elected Quentin N. Burdick (Democratic) 61.3%
Thomas S. Kleppe (Republican) 37.8%
Ohio Stephen M. Young Democratic Retired
Republican gain
Robert A. Taft, Jr. (Republican) 49.7%
Howard Metzenbaum (Democratic) 47.5%
Pennsylvania Hugh Scott Republican Re-elected Hugh Scott (Republican) 51.4%
William G. Sesler (Democratic) 45.4%
Rhode Island John O. Pastore Democratic Re-elected John O. Pastore (Democratic) 67.5%
John McLaughlin (Republican) 31.5%
Tennessee Al Gore, Sr. Democratic Lost re-election
Republican gain
Bill Brock (Republican) 51.3%
Al Gore, Sr. (Democratic) 47.4%
Texas Ralph Yarborough Democratic Lost renomination
Democratic hold
Lloyd Bentsen (Democratic) 53.5%
George H. W. Bush (Republican) 46.4%
Utah Frank Moss Democratic Re-elected Frank Moss (Democratic) 56.2%
Laurence J. Burton (Republican) 42.5%
Clyde B. Freeman (American Independent) 1.4%
Vermont Winston L. Prouty Republican Re-elected Winston L. Prouty (Republican) 58.9%
Philip H. Hoff (Democratic) 40.2%
Virginia Harry F. Byrd, Jr. Democratic Re-elected as an Independent
Independent gain
Harry F. Byrd, Jr. (Independent) 53.5%
George Rawlings (Democratic) 31.2%
Ray Garland (Republican) 15.3%
Washington Henry M. Jackson Democratic Re-elected Henry M. Jackson (Democratic) 82.4%
Charles W. Elicker (Republican) 16.0%
Bill Massey (Socialist Workers) 0.9%
E.S. "Pinky" Fisk (Buffalo) 0.7%
West Virginia Robert Byrd Democratic Re-elected Robert Byrd (Democratic) 77.6%
Elmer H. Dodson (Republican) 22.4%
Wisconsin William Proxmire Democratic Re-elected William Proxmire (Democratic) 70.8%
John E. Erickson (Republican) 28.5%
Wyoming Gale W. McGee Democratic Re-elected Gale W. McGee (Democratic) 55.8%
John S. Wold (Republican) 44.2%

See also

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