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2010 United States 2014
United States Senate elections, 2012
Class I (33 of the 100) seats in the United States Senate
November 6, 2012
2012 Senate election map.svg
Senate Seats up for election:
     Democratic incumbent     Independent incumbent     Republican incumbent     Retiring Republican     Seat to be determined by 2010 special election     No election

Majority Leader-elect

Elections to the United States Senate will be held on November 6, 2012, with 33 of the 100 seats in the Senate being contested. Each of these is a regular election; the winners will serve six-year terms from January 3, 2013 until January 3, 2019. Democrats have 23 seats up for election, including 2 independents who caucus with the Democrats, and Republicans have 10 seats up for election.

The 2012 presidential election, elections to the House of Representatives, elections for governors in 13 states and territories, and many state and local elections will also be held on this date.



Source Safe Democratic* Likely Democratic* Leans Democratic* Tossup Leans Republican Likely Republican Safe Republican
The Cook
Political Report
CQ Politics
The Rothenberg Political Report
Larry Sabato's
Crystal Ball

*The Democrats include Independent Democrat Joe Lieberman, who ran and won as an independent in 2006 after losing the Connecticut Democratic primary. Lieberman and Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont both caucus with the Democratic Party.


The composition of the Senate going into the 2012 election will depend on the results of the 2010 elections. Among the Senators up for election in 2012, there will be 20 Democrats, 9 Republicans, 2 Independents, and 2 to be determined by special elections in 2010. The Independents include Joe Lieberman, who ran and won as an independent in 2006 after losing the Connecticut Democratic primary. Lieberman and Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont both caucus with the Democratic Party.

There may be some additional changes if Senators die or resign. If Senators in other classes die or resign between 2010 and 2012, there may be additional special elections between the beginning of the 111th Congress (on January 3, 2009), and the 2012 election. The dates between which the death or resignation of a Senator would lead a special election during this time period vary from state to state.



Retiring Senators

Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) of Texas

In an interview with Texas Monthly published in December 2007, Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison stated that she will not seek re-election and may also resign from the Senate as early as 2009.[1] Hutchison was re-elected in 2006 with 62% of the vote despite a poor overall climate for Republicans, who lost control of both chambers of Congress that year. After the 2008 elections, Hutchison formed an exploratory committee to run for governor in 2010.

If Hutchison does step down early, Republican Governor Rick Perry will likely appoint a Republican replacement that may also double as the leading candidate for a special election that likely will involve multiple Democrats seeking the seat. If Hutchison serves out her term and upholds her stance to retire, numerous candidates from both parties will run for her seat. Even though Texas is generally a Republican state, Democrats have been gaining ground there for the past several years because of dissatisfaction with the Bush Administration and the increase of Latino and other minority populations in Texas, which tend to vote Democratic.

For the Republicans, Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael L. Williams, Republican fundraiser and former state Secretary of the State Roger Williams, and state Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones are candidates.[2][3] Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert has also been mentioned as a possible contender for the seat, as well as Greg Abbott and David Dewhurst.

Possible Democratic challengers include Bill White, the mayor of Houston, who expressed interest in running for Hutchinson's Senate seat if she resigns.[4] However, he recently announced his candidacy for Governor of Texas instead. John Sharp, the former state comptroller, has said he will run whenever the seat comes up for an election.[5]

Democratic incumbent elections

Dianne Feinstein of California

Four-term Senator Dianne Feinstein was re-elected with 59% of the vote in 2006. She has not announced if she will seek another term in 2012, when she will be 79 years old.

However, Feinstein may run for Governor of California in 2010.[6]

Tom Carper of Delaware

Two-term Senator Tom Carper was reelected with 70% of the vote in 2006.

There have been unconfirmed reports that Carper is suffering from a health problem. Carper has denied it, but has made statements to the effect that he might not run for reelection.[7]

Democrat and New Castle County Executive Chris Coons is considered a potential candidate should Carper opt for retirement.[7]

Bill Nelson of Florida

Two-term Senator Bill Nelson was reelected with 60% of the vote in 2006. He will be 70 years old in 2012.

Appointed Republican Senator George LeMieux, who currently serves with Nelson, and is retiring at the end of his term in 2011, is being discussed as someone who may challenge Nelson in 2012.[8]

Daniel Akaka of Hawaii

Four-term Senator Daniel Akaka was re-elected with 62% of the vote in 2006. He will be 88 years old in 2012.

Former Congressman Ed Case, who unsuccessfully ran against Akaka in the 2006 Senate election, has hinted that he might run for Akaka's seat in 2012, and he has already started fundraising for such a run [9].

Ben Cardin of Maryland

First-term Senator Ben Cardin was elected with 54% of the vote in 2006 against former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele. He will be 69 years old in 2012.

Debbie Stabenow of Michigan

Two-term Senator Debbie Stabenow was re-elected in 2006 with 57% of the vote to 41% for Oakland County Sheriff and former State Senate Majority Leader Michael Bouchard after narrowly defeating Republican incumbent Spencer Abraham in 2000.

A poll conducted in March 2010 showed former Republican Governor John Engler leading Stabenow, 42% to 41%, with a margin of error of ±4% and 10% unsure.[10]

Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is looking at running. [11]

Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota

First-term Senator Amy Klobuchar was elected with 58% of the vote in 2006. Senator Klobuchar's approval ratings, last reported at 59%, have steadily risen since her election in November 2006. Her quick response to the I-35 bridge collapse in her home city of Minneapolis and her travels around the state seem to have kept the senator's numbers up with the citizens of Minnesota.

Claire McCaskill of Missouri

First-term Senator Claire McCaskill was elected with 49.6% of the vote in 2006, defeating then-incumbent Jim Talent. Missouri is often considered a swing state in presidential elections; it has voted for the winning candidate save twice since 1904—in 1956 and in 2008.

McCaskill has never had particularly high approval ratings. In March 2009, her net approval was +5.

Jon Tester of Montana

First-term Senator Jon Tester was elected with 49.2% of the vote in 2006, defeating incumbent Conrad Burns.

Republican Congressman Denny Rehberg has met with party officials about a possible run.[12]

Ben Nelson of Nebraska

Two-term Senator and former Governor Ben Nelson was re-elected with 64% of the vote in 2006. He will be 71 years old in 2012. Nelson has not decided whether to run for reelection or to retire.[13]

Pundits and analysts have suggested Nelson will be one of the most vulnerable incumbents in 2012 after he secured deals to exempt Nebraska from new Medicaid payments, ease excise taxes on home state health insurance companies, and broker abortion deals in the Senate healthcare bill.[13]

Nebraska Governor David Heineman, Congressmen Lee Terry, Jeff Fortenberry, and Adrian M. Smith, and a wide variety of state officials are mentioned as potential candidates. Heineman has expressed no interest in the seat but would not rule out deciding to run at a later date.[13] A Rasmussen Reports survey conducted on December 28, 2009 has Heineman leading Nelson 61-30, with 4% undecided. The survey also showed that if Nelson were to vote against the health care bill, Heineman leads by a smaller margin of 47-37, with 7% undecided.[14]

Bob Menendez of New Jersey

First-term Senator Bob Menendez became the first Hispanic Senator to represent New Jersey in January 2006 when Former Senator Jon Corzine appointed him to the office after having resigned to become Governor. In November 2006 Menendez survived a strong challenge from Republican Tom Kean, Jr., son of popular former Governor and 9/11 Commission Chairman Tom Kean and was elected to a full term.

Former CNN Anchor Lou Dobbs is seriously considering a challenge to Menendez as either a Republican or Independent.[15]

Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico

Five-term Senator Jeff Bingaman was re-elected with 71% of the vote in 2006. He will be 69 years old in 2012.

Kent Conrad of North Dakota

Four-term Senator Kent Conrad was re-elected with 69% of the vote in 2006.

Sherrod Brown of Ohio

First-term Senator Sherrod Brown was elected with 56% of the vote in 2006, defeating then-incumbent Mike DeWine, whose popularity suffered due to scandals involving former Republican Governor Bob Taft and ex-Congressman Bob Ney.

Bob Casey, Jr. of Pennsylvania

First-term Senator Bob Casey, Jr., the son of popular former Governor Bob Casey, was elected with 58.7% of the vote in 2006, defeating then-incumbent Rick Santorum.

Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island

First-term Senator Sheldon Whitehouse was elected with 53.5% of the vote in 2006, defeating then-incumbent Lincoln Chafee by 6 percentage points.

Jim Webb of Virginia

First-term Senator and former Secretary of the Navy Jim Webb was elected to the Senate in 2006 by a margin of .6 percent, defeating then-incumbent George Allen in the biggest upset of the 2006 election. Allen is considering a rematch.[16] Also Elizabeth Cheney may be eyeing the senate seat.[17]

Robert Byrd of West Virginia

Nine-term Senator Robert Byrd, the longest serving U.S. Senator in history, was re-elected with 64.4% of the vote in 2006. Byrd will be 95 in 2012. If Byrd decides to run for re-election again and wins, he will be 101 in 2018 when his next term will end, which would make him the oldest Senator ever in U.S. history.

He voluntarily stepped down from his chairmanship of the powerful Appropriations Committee, effective January 6, 2009. In a speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Byrd proclaimed that he would remain in the Senate "till this old body drops."[18][19]

Republicans are waiting to see what Representative Shelley Moore Capito does before announcing their candidacies because of her high name recognition, and perception that she could the strongest Republican candidate in the race. [20]

Maria Cantwell of Washington

Two-term Senator Maria Cantwell was re-elected with 57% of the vote in 2006 over Republican Mike McGavick.

Herb Kohl of Wisconsin

Four-term Senator Herb Kohl, owner of the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks, was re-elected with 67% of the vote in 2006. He will be 77 years old in 2012.

Congressman Paul Ryan will not run against Kohl if he seeks reelection but will take a look at running for the Senate if Kohl were to retire. [21]

Independent incumbent elections

Joe Lieberman of Connecticut

Four-term Senator Joe Lieberman sat as a Democrat until 2006, when he was defeated by Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary. He won re-election with 49.7% of the vote in 2006 as an independent under the Connecticut for Lieberman Party and has since caucused with the Democrats as an "Independent Democrat." He will be 70 years old in 2012.

Connecticut Democratic Congressman Chris Murphy is a potential candidate.[22]

Pundits have predicted that due to Lieberman's unwavering support of John McCain he will be experiencing a tougher race than he normally runs.[23]

Bernie Sanders of Vermont

First-term Senator Bernie Sanders is an independent Senator (and self-described democratic socialist) who caucuses with the Democrats and won election with 65.4% of the vote in 2006 after Jim Jeffords, also an independent, retired. He will be 71 years old in 2012.

Republican incumbent elections

Jon Kyl of Arizona

Three-term Senator Jon Kyl was re-elected with 53% of the vote in 2006. He has yet to announce if he will seek a fourth term in 2012, when he will be 70 years old.

Richard Lugar of Indiana

Six-term Senator Richard Lugar was re-elected with 87% of the vote in 2006, running unopposed by a Democrat.

Olympia Snowe of Maine

Three-term Senator Olympia Snowe was re-elected with 73% of the vote in 2006, the largest margin of any incumbent in 2006, barring Indiana Senator Richard Lugar (who ran without a Democratic opponent). She will be 65 years old in 2012.

Scott Brown of Massachusetts

Eight-term Senator Ted Kennedy was re-elected with 69% of the vote in 2006. He would have been 80 years old in 2012.

In May 2008, Kennedy was diagnosed with a malignant glioma, a form of brain cancer. Just before midnight on August 25, 2009, Senator Kennedy died at the age of 77.

Paul G. Kirk was appointed as the interim Senator by Gov. Patrick and was sworn in on September 25, 2009 to serve until a permanent Senator was elected in the Senate special election on January 19, 2010. Republican Scott P. Brown won the election and was sworn in on February 4, 2010. He will be up for election to a full term in 2012. He is the first Republican senator to be elected in Massachusetts since 1972. He won 52% of the vote in the special election.

Roger Wicker of Mississippi

First-term Senator Roger Wicker was appointed after former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott announced on November 26, 2007 that he was going to retire by the end of 2007.[2] Wicker defeated former Governor Ronnie Musgrove in the 2008 special election and will be up for re-election in 2012.

John Ensign of Nevada

Two-term Senator John Ensign was re-elected with 55% of the vote in 2006 against Jack Carter, son of former Democratic President Jimmy Carter.

In June 2009, Ensign admitted to an affair that he had with a campaign staffer. Sources also reported blackmail with the husband of the women involved apparently asking Ensign for a substantial amount of money. [24] On July 14, 2009, Ensign announced that he was running for reelection.[25] Republican Representative Dean Heller is rumored to be considering running after declining to run against Nevada's other senator Harry Reid in 2010.[26]

Nevada Democrats are encouraging Representative Shelley Berkley to run for the seat. [27]

Bob Corker of Tennessee

First-term Senator Bob Corker was elected with 50.7% of the vote in 2006. He narrowly defeated Harold Ford, Jr. and has been raising money for re-election since. Country music singer Hank Williams, Jr. has expressed an interest in challenging Corker for the GOP nomination in 2012.[28].

Orrin Hatch of Utah

Six-term Senator and former Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch was re-elected with 62% of the vote in 2006. He will be 78 years old in 2012.

John Barrasso of Wyoming

First-term Senator John Barrasso was appointed to the Senate seat with the passing of Craig L. Thomas and won a special election in 2008 to complete Thomas's term.

Unknown incumbent elections

New York (Currently Gillibrand)

Two-term Senator Hillary Clinton was re-elected with 67% of the vote in 2006. She narrowly lost the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination to Barack Obama. She resigned on January 21, 2009 when the Senate confirmed her as Secretary of State. On January 23, Governor David Paterson appointed Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand to the seat. There will be a special election in 2010; whoever wins it will then be up for election again in 2012.


Massie Ritsch, communications director for the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics said that fundraising is almost a full-time job. For example, Senator Bob Corker (R, TN) set up "the Bob Corker for Senate 2012 committee" on Nov. 8, 2006, or one day after winning a six-year term.[29]

Senate contests in 2012

State Incumbent Party Status Opposing candidates 2006 Election Results
Arizona Jon Kyl Republican Jon Kyl (R) 53%, Jim Pederson (D) 44%, Other 3%
California Dianne Feinstein Democratic Dianne Feinstein (D) 59%, Dick Mountjoy (R) 35%, Other 6%
Connecticut Joe Lieberman Independent Democrat Joe Lieberman (I) 50%, Ned Lamont (D) 40%, Alan Schlesinger (R) 10%
Delaware Tom Carper Democratic Tom Carper (D) 70%, Jan Ting (R) 29%, Other 1%
Florida Bill Nelson Democratic Bill Nelson (D) 60%, Katherine Harris (R) 38%, Other 2%
Hawaii Daniel Akaka Democratic Daniel Akaka (D) 61%, Cynthia Thielen (R) 37%, Other 2%
Indiana Richard Lugar Republican Richard Lugar (R) 87%, Steve Osborn (Libertarian) 13%
Maine Olympia Snowe Republican Olympia Snowe (R) 74%, Jean Hay Bright (D) 21%, Bill Slavick (I) 5%
Maryland Ben Cardin Democratic Ben Cardin (D) 54%, Michael Steele (R) 44%, Other 2%
Massachusetts Scott Brown Republican Ted Kennedy died on August 25, 2009 Ted Kennedy (D) 69%, Kenneth Chase (R) 31%
Michigan Debbie Stabenow Democratic Debbie Stabenow (D) 57%, Mike Bouchard (R) 41%, Other 2%
Minnesota Amy Klobuchar Democratic Amy Klobuchar (DFL) 58%, Mark Kennedy (R) 38%, Other 4%
Mississippi Roger Wicker Republican Trent Lott (R) 64%, Erik Fleming (D) 35%, Other 1%
Missouri Claire McCaskill Democratic Jim Talent (R) 47%, Claire McCaskill (D) 50%, Other 3%
Montana Jon Tester Democratic Conrad Burns (R) 48%, Jon Tester (D) 49%, Other 3%
Nebraska Ben Nelson Democratic Ben Nelson (D) 64%, Pete Ricketts (R) 36%
Nevada John Ensign Republican Running for reelection[25] John Ensign (R) 55%, Jack Carter (D) 41%, Other 4%
New Jersey Bob Menendez Democratic Bob Menendez (D) 53%, Thomas Kean Jr. (R) 45%, Other 2%
New Mexico Jeff Bingaman Democratic Jeff Bingaman (D) 71%, Allen McCulloch (R) 29%
New York Kirsten Gillibrand Democratic Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) 67%, John Spencer (R) 31%, Other 2%
North Dakota Kent Conrad Democratic Kent Conrad (D-NPL) 69%, Dwight Grotberg (R) 29%, Other 2%
Ohio Sherrod Brown Democratic Mike DeWine (R) 44%, Sherrod Brown (D) 56%
Pennsylvania Bob Casey, Jr. Democratic Rick Santorum (R) 41%, Bob Casey, Jr. (D) 59%
Rhode Island Sheldon Whitehouse Democratic Lincoln Chafee (R) 47%, Sheldon Whitehouse (D) 53%
Tennessee Bob Corker Republican Bob Corker (R) 51%, Harold Ford, Jr. (D) 48%, Other 1%
Texas Kay Bailey Hutchison Republican Bill White (D), John Sharp (D), Elizabeth Ames Jones (R), Roger Williams (R), Michael L. Williams (R) Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) 62%, Barbara Ann Radnofsky (D) 36%, Other 2%
Utah Orrin Hatch Republican Orrin Hatch (R) 62%, Pete Ashdown (D) 31%, Other 7%
Vermont Bernie Sanders Independent Bernie Sanders (I) 65%, Richard Tarrant (R) 32%, Other 3%
Virginia Jim Webb Democratic George Allen (R) 49%, Jim Webb (D) 50%, Other 1%
Washington Maria Cantwell Democratic Maria Cantwell (D) 57%, Mike McGavick (R) 40%, Other 3%
West Virginia Robert Byrd Democratic Robert Byrd (D) 64%, John Raese (R) 34%, Other 2%
Wisconsin Herb Kohl Democratic Herb Kohl (D) 67%, Robert Lorge (R) 30%, Other 3%
Wyoming John Barrasso Republican Craig Thomas (R) 70%, Dale Groutage (D) 30%


  1. ^
  2. ^ White announces Senate campaign via Web video
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Dan Walters: Feinstein is playing it coy on a 2010 run for governor
  7. ^ a b Ron Williams (2009-09-23). "Carper says he's fit and healthy, so is he running?". Delaware Online. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Agar, John (March 10, 2010). "Poll: Nerd ads lift Rick Snyder to second place, Democratic voters undecided, what John Engler could win in 2012". The Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved March 12, 2010. 
  11. ^ Beth Loechler (2009-02-20). [Profile: Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is in the driver's seat "Profile: Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is in the driver's seat"]. The Grand Rapids Press. Profile: Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is in the driver's seat. 
  12. ^ Jonathan Allan (2009-11-05). "Rehberg weighing 2012 Senate run". Politico. Retrieved 2009-11-21. 
  13. ^ a b c Manu Raju (2009-12-24). "Nebraska governor to Ben Nelson: Keep the money". Politico. 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Amy Gardner (2009-12-23). "George Allen: 'Perhaps' a rematch vs. Webb in 2012?". Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-12-24. 
  17. ^,-2012Jim-Webb-v.-Liz-Cheney
  18. ^ Robert Byrd Defends His Age (Part 1) Youtube.
  19. ^ Robert Byrd Defends His Age (Part 2) Youtube.
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Senators of the 110th Congress". U.S. Senate. 2006-01-03. .
  24. ^
  25. ^ a b Mascaro, Lisa (July 14, 2009). "Ensign to stay in Senate, seek reelection". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved July 14, 2009. 
  26. ^ J. Patrick Coolican (2009-08-13). "Heller acknowledges the John Ensign effect". Las Vegas Sun. 
  27. ^
  28. ^ [1]
  29. ^ Michael Davis "Corker sets up re-election panel 1 day after win. Action called necessary for 'full-time job' of fundraising." Chattanooga Times/Free Press, Tenn. Knight Ridder Tribune Business News. Washington: Dec 12, 2006. pg. 1. Source type: Wire Feed. ProQuest document ID: 1178614851 Text Word Count 261 Document URL: (subscription)


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