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This is an incomplete list of special elections to the United States Senate. Such elections fill the vacancies that occur when a member of the Senate dies or resigns before the biennial general election which precedes the end of his or her six-year term. Winners of these special elections typically serve the remaining two or four years plus two months of that six-year term. General elections to the U.S. Congress are held in November of even-numbered years. New Congresses convened on March 4 of the following year until 1934. Since 1934, new Congresses have begun on January 3 of the following year.

Some states, such as Texas, allow for special elections to the Senate that occur separate from a general election (similar to special elections to the U.S. House), while most wait to hold them in conjunction with the next general election.

Contents

Appointments by Governors

Prior to ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, most state legislatures appointed U.S. Senators. The Seventeenth Amendment states that special elections will be held to fill vacant Senate seats, but that state legislatures may empower the governor of the state to fill the seat by an appointment between the time that it becomes vacant and the time that the winner of the special election is certified. As of 2009, four states, Massachusetts, Oregon, Wisconsin and Oklahoma require special elections, Oklahoma permitting its governor to appoint only the winner of a special election.[1] Alaska in 2004 enacted legislation and a separate ballot referendum law that took effect on the same day, that conflict. It is uncertain if the Alaska governor may successfully appoint an interim Senator to serve until the mandated special election occurs 60 to 90 days after the vacancy happens. The ballot-approved law fails to specifically authorize the governor to appoint, though the legislative law does.[1]

From 1913 through January 2009, 183 senators have been appointed to fill vacancies. Of those, 62 did not later run for election; 56 ran and lost the subsequent special election; and 60 ran and won the election.[2]

List of special elections

This list only includes vacancies that were filled by popular special election.

Not included are:

  1. those situations in which vacancies were only filled by appointment and/or general election.
  2. elections by state legislatures prior to enactment of the 17th Amendment.

This list is sorted by the date of the special election.

State Original Appointee Winner Term ending
Senator Vacancy event Senator Date Senator Date ↑
Maryland Isidor Rayner (D) Died Nov 25, 1912 William P. Jackson (R) Nov 29, 1912 Blair Lee (D) Jan 28, 1914 Mar 3, 1917
Wisconsin Paul O. Husting (D) Died Oct 21, 1917 No appointment Irvine L. Lenroot (R) Apr 18, 1918 Mar 3, 1921
Oregon Harry Lane (D) Died May 23, 1917 Charles L. McNary (R) May 29, 1917 Frederick W. Mulkey (R) Nov 5, 1918 Mar 3, 1919
Nevada Francis G. Newlands (D) Died Dec 24, 1917 Charles B. Henderson (D) Jan 12, 1918 Charles B. Henderson (D) Nov 5, 1918 Mar 3, 1921
Idaho James H. Brady (R) Died Jan 13, 1918 John F. Nugent (D) Jan 22, 1918 John F. Nugent (D) Nov 5, 1918 Mar 3, 1921
New Jersey William Hughes (D) Died Jan 30, 1918 David Baird (R) Feb 23, 1918 David Baird (R) Nov 5, 1918 Mar 3, 1919
Louisiana Robert F. Broussard (D) Died Apr 12, 1918 Walter Guion (D) Apr 22, 1918 Edward Gay (D) Nov 5, 1918 Mar 3, 1921
Missouri William J. Stone (D) Died Apr 14, 1918 Xenophon P. Wilfley (D) Apr 30, 1918 Selden P. Spencer (R) Nov 5, 1918 Mar 3, 1921
South Carolina Benjamin R. Tillman (D) Died Jul 3, 1918 Christie Benet (D) Jul 6, 1918 William P. Pollock (D) Nov 5, 1918 Mar 3, 1919
New Hampshire Jacob H. Gallinger (R) Died Aug 17, 1918 Irving W. Drew (R) Sep 2, 1918 George H. Moses (R) Nov 5, 1918 Mar 3, 1921
Virginia Thomas S. Martin (D) Died Nov 12, 1919 Carter Glass (D) Nov 18, 1919 Carter Glass (D) Nov 2, 1920 Mar 3, 1925
Alabama John H. Bankhead (D) Died Mar 1, 1920 B. B. Comer (D) Mar 5, 1920 J. Thomas Heflin (D) Nov 2, 1920 Mar 3, 1925
Delaware Josiah O. Wolcott (D) Resigned Jul 2, 1921, to become Chancellor of Delaware T. Coleman du Pont (R) Jul 7, 1921 Thomas F. Bayard, Jr. (D) Nov 7, 1922 Mar 3, 1923
Pennsylvania Philander C. Knox (R) Died Oct 12, 1921 William E. Crow (R) Oct 17, 1921 - Aug 2, 1922 (died) David A. Reed (R) Nov 7, 1922 Mar 3, 1923
David A. Reed (R) Aug 8, 1922
Pennsylvania Boies Penrose (R) Died Dec 31, 1921 George W. Pepper (R) Jan 9, 1922 George W. Pepper (R) Nov 7, 1922 Mar 3, 1927
Iowa William S. Kenyon (R) Resigned Feb 24, 1922, to become U.S. Circuit Court Judge Charles A. Rawson (R) Feb 24, 1922 Smith W. Brookhart (R) Nov 7, 1922 Mar 3, 1925
Georgia Thomas E. Watson (D) Died Sep 26 1922 Rebecca Felton (D) Nov 21, 1922 Walter F. George (D) Nov 7, 1922 Mar 3, 1927
Colorado Samuel D. Nicholson (R) Died Mar 24, 1923 Alva B. Adams (D) May 17, 1923 Rice W. Means (R) Nov 4, 1924 Mar 3, 1927
Connecticut Frank B. Brandegee (R) Died Oct 14, 1924 No appointment Hiram Bingham III (R) Dec 16, 1924 Mar 3, 1927
Arkansas Thaddeus H. Caraway (D) Died Nov 6, 1931 Hattie Caraway (D) Dec 9, 1931 Hattie Caraway (D) Jan 12, 1932 Mar 3, 1933
Tennessee Cordell Hull (D) Resigned Mar 3, 1933 to become Secretary of State Nathan L. Bachman (D) Mar 4, 1933 Nathan L. Bachman (D) Nov 6, 1934 Jan 3, 1937
Tennessee Nathan L. Bachman (D) Died Apr 23, 1937 George L. Berry (D) May 6, 1937 Tom Stewart (D) Nov 8, 1938 Jan 3, 1943
New York Royal Copeland (D) Died Jun 17, 1938 No appointment James M. Mead (D) Nov 8, 1938 Jan 3, 1941
Texas Morris Sheppard (D) Died Apr 9, 1941 Andrew Houston (D) Apr 21, 1941 - Jun 26, 1941 W. Lee O'Daniel (D) Jun 28, 1941 Jan 3, 1943
Mississippi Pat Harrison (D) Died Jun 22, 1941 James Eastland (D) Jun 30, 1941 Wall Doxey (D) Sep 23, 1941 Jan 3, 1943
South Carolina James F. Byrnes (D) Resigned Jul 17, 1941, appointed to Supreme Court Alva Lumpkin (D) Jul 22, 1941 - Aug 1, 1941 (died) Burnet Maybank (D) Nov 5, 1941 Jan 3, 1945
Roger Peace (D) Aug 5, 1941
Colorado Alva B. Adams (D) Died Dec 1, 1941 Eugene Millikin (R) Dec 20, 1941 Eugene Millikin (R) Nov 3, 1942 Jan 3, 1945
West Virginia Matthew M. Neely (D) Resigned Jan 12, 1941 to become Governor of West Virginia Joseph Rosier (D) Jan 13, 1941 Hugh Ike Shott (R) Nov 3, 1942 Jan 3, 1943
Nevada Key Pittman (D) Died Nov 10, 1940 Berkeley Bunker (D)[3] Nov 27, 1940 James G. Scrugham (D) Dec 7, 1942 Jan 3, 1947
Indiana Frederick Van Nuys (D) Died Jan 25, 1944 Samuel D. Jackson (D) Jan 28, 1944 William E. Jenner (R) Nov 7, 1944 Jan 3, 1945
Oregon Charles L. McNary (R) Died Feb 25, 1944 Guy Cordon (R) Mar 4, 1944 Guy Cordon (R) Nov 7, 1944 Jan 3, 1949
New Jersey William Warren Barbour (R) Died Nov 22, 1943 Arthur Walsh (D) Nov 26, 1943 H. Alexander Smith (R) Nov 7, 1944 Jan 3, 1947
Massachusetts Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. (R) Resigned Feb 3, 1944, joined the Army Sinclair Weeks (R) Feb 8, 1944 Leverett Saltonstall (R) Nov 7, 1944 Jan 3, 1949
New York Robert F Wagner (D) Resigned Jun 28, 1949 John Foster Dulles (R) Jul 7, 1949 Herbert Lehman (D) Nov 8, 1949 Jan 3, 1951
North Carolina J. Melville Broughton (D) Died Mar 6, 1949 Frank Porter Graham (D) Mar 29, 1949 Willis Smith (D) Nov 7, 1950 Jan 3, 1955
North Carolina Clyde R. Hoey (D) Died May 12, 1954 Sam Ervin (D) Jun 5, 1954 Sam Ervin (D) Nov 2, 1954 Jan 3, 1957
West Virginia Harley M. Kilgore (D) Died Feb 28, 1956 William R. Laird, III (D) Mar 13, 1956 W. Chapman Revercomb (R) Nov 6, 1956 Jan 3, 1959
South Carolina Strom Thurmond (D) Resigned Apr 4, 1956 Thomas A. Wofford (D) Apr 5, 1956 Strom Thurmond (D) Nov 6, 1956 Jan 3, 1961
Wisconsin Joseph McCarthy (R) Died May 2, 1957 No appointment William Proxmire (D) Aug 27, 1957 Jan 3, 1959
West Virginia Matthew M. Neely (D) Died Jan 18, 1958 John D. Hoblitzell, Jr. (R) Jan 25, 1958 Jennings Randolph (D) Nov 4, 1958 Jan 3, 1961
North Carolina W. Kerr Scott (D) Died Apr 16, 1958 B. Everett Jordan (D) Apr 19, 1958 B. Everett Jordan (D) Nov 4, 1958 Jan 3, 1961
North Dakota William Langer (R) Died Nov 8, 1959 Clarence Brunsdale (R) Nov 19, 1959 Quentin Burdick (D-NPL) Jun 28, 1960 Jan 3, 1965
Missouri Thomas C. Hennings, Jr. (D) Died Sep 13, 1960 Edward V. Long (D) Sep 23, 1960 Edward V. Long (D) Nov 8, 1960 Jan 3, 1963
Texas Lyndon Johnson (D) Resigned Jan 3, 1961, elected Vice President William Blakley (D) Jan 3, 1961 John Tower (R) May 27, 1961 Jan 3, 1967
Massachusetts John Kennedy (D) Resigned Dec 22, 1960, elected President Benjamin Smith II (D) Dec 27, 1960 Ted Kennedy (D) Nov 6, 1962 Jan 3, 1965
New Hampshire Styles Bridges (R) Died Nov 26, 1961 Maurice Murphy, Jr. (R) Dec 7, 1961 Thomas McIntyre (D) Nov 6, 1962 Jan 3, 1967
Kansas Andrew Schoeppel (R) Died Jan 21, 1962 James Pearson (R) Jan 31, 1962 James Pearson (R) Nov 6, 1962 Jan 3, 1967
Idaho Henry Dworshak (R) Died Jul 23, 1962 Len Jordan (R) Aug 6, 1962 Len Jordan (R) Nov 6, 1962 Jan 3, 1967
Wyoming Edwin Keith Thomson (R) Died Dec 9, 1960; Senator-elect John J. Hickey (D) Jan 3, 1961 Milward L. Simpson (R) Nov 6, 1962 Jan 3, 1967
Tennessee Estes Kefauver (D) Died Aug 10, 1963 Herbert Walters (D) Aug 20, 1963 Ross Bass (D) Nov 3, 1964 Jan 3, 1967
Oklahoma Robert S. Kerr (D) Died Jan 1, 1963 J. Howard Edmondson (D) Jan 6, 1963 Fred R. Harris (D) Nov 3, 1964 Jan 3, 1967
South Carolina Olin Johnston (D) Died Apr 18, 1965 Donald Russell (D) Apr 22, 1965 Ernest Hollings (D) Nov 8, 1966 Jan 3, 1969
Virginia Harry F. Byrd, Sr. (D) Resigned Nov 10, 1965 Harry F. Byrd, Jr. (D) Nov 12, 1965 Harry F. Byrd, Jr. (D) Nov 8, 1966 Jan 3, 1971
Alaska Bob Bartlett (D) Died Dec 11, 1968 Ted Stevens (R) Dec 24, 1968 Ted Stevens (R) Nov 3, 1970 Jan 3, 1973
Illinois Everett Dirksen (R) Died Sep 7, 1969 Ralph Tyler Smith (R) Sep 17, 1969 Adlai Stevenson III (D) Nov 3, 1970 Jan 3, 1975
Vermont Winston L. Prouty (R) Died Sep 10, 1971 Robert Stafford (R) Sep 16, 1971 Robert Stafford (R) Jan 7, 1972 Jan 3, 1977
New Hampshire Louis Crosby Wyman (R) Wyman retired Jan 3, 1975; the election to succeed him was contested; then the seat was declared vacant.[4] Norris H. Cotton (R) Aug 8, 1975 John A. Durkin (D) Sep 16, 1975 Jan 3, 1981
Minnesota Hubert Humphrey (D) Died Jan 13, 1978 Muriel Humphrey (D) Jan 25, 1978 David Durenberger (R) Nov 7, 1978 Jan 3, 1983
Alabama James Allen (D) Died Jun 1, 1978 Maryon Allen (D) Jun 8, 1978 Donald Stewart (D) Nov 7, 1978 Jan 3, 1981
Washington Henry "Scoop" Jackson (D) Died Sep 1, 1983 Dan Evans (R) Sep 8, 1983 Dan Evans (R) Nov 8, 1983 Jan 3, 1989
Indiana Dan Quayle (R) Resigned Jan 3, 1989, elected Vice President Dan Coats (R) Jan 3, 1989 Dan Coats (R) Nov 6, 1990 Jan 3, 1993
Hawaii Spark Matsunaga (D) Died Apr 15, 1990 Daniel Akaka (D) May 16, 1990 Daniel Akaka (D) Nov 6, 1990 Jan 3, 1995
Pennsylvania John Heinz III (R) Died Apr 4, 1991 Harris Wofford (D) May 9, 1991 Harris Wofford (D) Nov 5, 1991 Jan 3, 1995
California Pete Wilson (R) Resigned Jan 7, 1991, elected Governor of California John Seymour (R) Jan 10, 1991 Dianne Feinstein (D) Nov 3, 1992 Jan 3, 1995
North Dakota Quentin Burdick (D) Died Sep 8, 1992 Jocelyn Burdick (D) Sep 16, 1992 Kent Conrad (D) Dec 4, 1992 Jan 3, 1995
Texas Lloyd Bentsen (D) Resigned Jan 20, 1993, appointed Treasury Secretary Bob Krueger (D) Jan 21, 1993 Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) Jun 5, 1993 Jan 3, 1995
Tennessee Al Gore (D) Resigned Jan 3, 1993, elected Vice President Harlan Matthews (D) Jan 3, 1993 Fred Thompson (R) Nov 8, 1994 Jan 3, 1997
Oklahoma David Boren (D) Resigned Nov 15, 1994, to become President of the University of Oklahoma No appointment Jim Inhofe (R) Nov 8, 1994 Jan 3, 1997
Oregon Bob Packwood (R) Resigned Oct 1, 1995, following Ethics Committee's recommendation of expulsion No appointment Ron Wyden (D) Jan 30, 1996 Jan 3, 1999
Kansas Bob Dole (R) Resigned Jun 11, 1996, to run for President Sheila Frahm (R) Jun 11, 1996 Sam Brownback (R) Nov 5, 1996 Jan 3, 1999
Georgia Paul Coverdell (R) Died Jul 18, 2000 Zell Miller (D) Jul 24, 2000 Zell Miller (D) Nov 7, 2000 Jan 3, 2005
Missouri Mel Carnahan (D) Died Oct 16, 2000; posthumously elected Nov 7, 2000 (therefore, never seated) Jean Carnahan (D) Jan 3, 2001 Jim Talent (R) Nov 5, 2002 Jan 3, 2007
Wyoming Craig Thomas (R) Died Jun 4, 2007 John Barrasso (R) Jun 25, 2007 John Barrasso (R) Nov 4, 2008 Jan 3, 2013
Mississippi Trent Lott (R) Resigned Dec 18, 2007 Roger Wicker (R) Dec 31, 2007 Roger Wicker (R) Nov 4, 2008 Jan 3, 2013
Massachusetts Ted Kennedy (D) Died Aug 25, 2009 Paul G. Kirk (D) Sep 24, 2009 Scott Brown (R) Jan 19, 2010 Jan 3, 2013
Delaware Joe Biden (D) Resigned Jan 15, 2009; elected Vice President Ted Kaufman (D) Jan 16, 2009 TBD Nov 2, 2010 Jan 3, 2015
New York Hillary Clinton (D) Resigned Jan. 21, 2009 to become Secretary of State Kirsten Gillibrand (D) Jan 27, 2009 TBD Nov 2, 2010 Jan 3, 2013
State Senator Vacancy event Senator Date Senator Date ↑ Term ending
Original Appointee Winner

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Neale, Thomas H. (March 10, 2009). "Filling U.S. Senate Vacancies: Perspectives and Contemporary Developments". Congressional Research Service. p. 8. http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/R40421_20090310.pdf. 
  2. ^ Schneider, Bill. (February 5, 2009) Schneider: Senate appointments highlight messy process. Cable News Network (CNN)
  3. ^ Senator Bunker was appointed to fill the vacancy caused by the November 10, 1940 death of Key Pittman, who had just won re-election. Bunker was appointed both to complete the term that would end January 3, 1941 and to begin the term that would end January 3, 1947.
  4. ^ "Closest election in Senate history". Senate.gov. http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/Closest_election_in_Senate_history.htm. 

External links

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