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United States Senate elections, 1946: Wikis


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1944 United States 1948
United States Senate elections, 1946
37 seats in the United States Senate
November 2, 1946
Majority party Minority party
WallaceWhiteJr.jpg ScottWikeLucas.jpg
Leader Wallace White Scott Lucas
Party Republican Democratic
Leader's seat Maine Illinois
Last election 38 seats 57 seats
Seats won 51 45
Seat change +13 -12
Us senate result 1946.PNG
     Republican holds

     Republican pickups      Democratic holds      Democratic pickups

Incumbent Majority Leader
Alben Barkley

Majority Leader-elect
Wallace White

The United States Senate elections of 1946 were in the middle of Democratic President Harry Truman's first term.

The vote was largely seen as a referendum on Truman, whose approval rating had sunk to 32% [1] over the president's controversial handling of a wave of post-war labor strikes, such as a nationwide railroad strike in May, at a time when Americans depended on train service for both commuter and long-distance travel. Just as damaging was Truman's back-and-forth over whether to end unpopular wartime price controls to handle shortages, particularly in foodstuffs. For example, price controls on beef had led to a so-called "hamburger famine" [2], but when Truman, in a surprise move, lifted the controls on Oct. 14 - just weeks before the election - meat prices shot up to record levels.

The president's lack of popular support is widely seen as the reason for the Democrats' congressional defeat, the largest since they were trounced in the 1928 pro-Republican wave that brought Herbert Hoover to power. And for the first time since before the Great Depression, Republicans were seen as the party which could best handle the American economy.

However, the Republicans also benefited from what today would be called "a good map," meaning that of the one-third of Senate seats up for election, the majority were held by Democrats.

In addition to a net Republican gain by appointment before the election, the Republicans picked up twelve seats, eleven of them from Democrats, and one from Progressive Robert M. La Follette, Jr. (P-WI). This gave them a Senate majority for the first time since Hoover's administration. This election is also notable for the election of Joe McCarthy who would become famous for his investigations of communism in the 1950's

In addition to capturing open seats in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and New York, the Republicans defeated seven Democratic incumbents:

Senate contests in 1946

State Incumbent Party Status Opposing Candidates
Alabama1 George R. Swift Democrat Retired: Democratic victory, unopposed John Sparkman (Democrat)
Arizona Ernest W. McFarland Democrat Re-elected, 69.2 - 30.1 Ward S. Powers (Republican)
California William F. Knowland Republican Re-elected, 54.1 - 44.2 Will Rogers, Jr. (Democrat)
Connecticut Thomas C. Hart Republican Retired: Republican victory, 56.1 - 40.7 Raymond E. Baldwin (Republican)
Joseph M. Tone (Democrat)
Delaware James M. Tunnell Democrat Defeated, 55.2 - 44.9 John J. Williams (Republican)
Florida Spessard Holland Democrat Re-elected, 78.7 - 21.4 J. Harry Schad (Republican)
Idaho2 Charles C. Gossett Democrat Defeated in primary: Republican victory, 58.6 - 41.4 Henry C. Dworshak (Republican)
George E. Donart (Democrat)
Indiana Raymond E. Willis Republican Retired: Republican victory, 52.4 - 46.8 William E. Jenner (Republican)
M. Clifford Townsend (Democrat)
Kentucky3 William A. Stanfill Republican Retired: Republican victory, 53.3 - 46.5 John S. Cooper (Republican)
John Y. Brown (Democrat)
Maine Ralph O. Brewster Republican Re-elected, 63.6 - 36.5 Peter M. MacDonald (Democrat)
Maryland George L. P. Radcliffe Democrat Defeated in primary: Democratic victory, 50.2 - 49.8 Herbert R. O'Conor (Democrat)
David J. Markey (Republican)
Massachusetts David I. Walsh Democrat Defeated, 59.6 - 39.7 Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. (Republican)
Michigan Arthur H. Vandenberg Republican Re-elected, 67.1 - 32.0 James H. Lee (Democrat)
Minnesota Henrik Shipstead Republican Defeated in primary: Republican victory, 58.9 - 39.8 Edward John Thye (Republican)
Theodore Jorgenson (Democrat)
Mississippi Theodore G. Bilbo Democrat Re-elected, unopposed
Missouri Frank P. Briggs Democrat Defeated, 52.7 - 47.1 James P. Kem (Republican)
Montana Burton K. Wheeler Democrat Defeated in Primary: Republican victory, 53.5 - 45.4 Zales N. Ecton (Republican)
Leif Erickson (Democrat)
Nebraska Hugh Butler Republican Re-elected, 70.8 - 29.2 John E. Mekota (Democrat)
Nevada Edward P. Carville Democrat Defeated in primary: Republican victory, 55.2 - 44.8 George W. Malone (Republican)
Berkeley L. Bunker (Democrat)
New Jersey H. Alexander Smith Republican Re-elected, 58.5 - 40.1 George E. Brunner (Democrat)
New Mexico Dennis Chavez Democrat Re-elected, 51.5 - 48.5 Patrick J. Hurley (Republican)
New York James M. Mead Democrat Retired: Republican victory, 52.6 - 47.6 Irving M. Ives (Republican)
Herbert H. Lehman (Democrat)
North Dakota William Langer Republican Re-elected, 53.3 - 23.5 - 23.2 Arthur E. Thompson (Independent)
Abner B. Larson (Democrat)
North Dakota4 Milton R. Young Republican Re-elected, 55.5 - 27.4 - 15.2 William Lanier (Democrat)
Gerald P. Nye (Independent)
Ohio James W. Huffman Democrat Defeated, 57.0 - 42.4 John W. Bricker (Republican)
Pennsylvania Joseph F. Guffey Democrat Defeated, 59.3 - 39.8 Edward Martin (Republican)
Rhode Island Peter G. Gerry Democrat Retired: Democratic victory, 55.1 - 44.9 J. Howard McGrath (Democrat)
W. Gurnee Dwyer (Republican)
Tennessee Kenneth D. McKellar Democrat Re-elected, 66.6 - 26.2 W. B. Ladd (Republican)
Texas Tom Connally Democrat Re-elected, 88.5 - 11.5 Murray C. Sells (Republican)
Utah Abe Murdock Democrat Defeated, 51.2 - 48.8 Arthur V. Watkins (Republican)
Vermont Warren R. Austin Republican Retired: Republican victory, 74.6 - 25.4 Ralph E. Flanders (Republican)
Charles P. McDevitt (Democrat)
Virginia Harry F. Byrd Democrat Re-elected, 64.9 - 30.5 Lester S. Parsons (Republican)
Virginia5 Thomas G. Burch Democrat Retired: Democratic victory, 68.2 - 29.0 A. Willis Robertson (Democrat)
Robert H. Woods (Republican)
Washington Hugh B. Mitchell Democrat Defeated, 54.3 - 45.2 Harry P. Cain (Republican)
West Virginia Harley M. Kilgore Democrat Re-elected, 50.3 - 49.7 Thomas Sweeney (Republican)
Wisconsin Robert M. La Follette, Jr. Progressive Defeated in Republican primary: Republican victory, 61.3 - 37.4 Joseph R. McCarthy (Republican)
Howard J. McMurray (Democrat)
Wyoming Joseph C. O'Mahoney Democrat Re-elected, 56.2 - 43.8 Harry B. Henderson (Republican)

1 special election held due to death of John H. Bankhead II (D-AL)

2 special election held due to death of John W. Thomas (R-ID)

3 special election held due to resignation of A. B. "Happy" Chandler I (D-Ky.)

4 special election held due to death of John Moses (D-ND)

5 special election held due to death of Carter Glass (D-VA)

Senate composition before and after elections

79th Congress Senate Composition   80th Congress Senate Composition
Color Key:   = Republican   = Democratic   = Progressive

See also



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