Special elections to the 111th United States Congress

This is a list of special elections for the 111th United States Congress.


There were five special elections to the United States Senate; however, all but one will take place on the same date as the 2010 general election.

State Election date
(links to special
election article)
Reason for vacancy Appointee Winner Term ends
Massachusetts January 19, 2010 Ted Kennedy Died August 25, 2009 Paul G. Kirk Scott Brown January 3, 2013
Illinois November 2, 2010 Barack Obama Resigned November 16, 2008, to become President of the United States Roland Burris Mark Kirk January 3, 2011
Delaware November 2, 2010 Joe Biden Resigned January 15, 2009, to become Vice President of the United States Ted Kaufman Chris Coons January 3, 2015
New York November 2, 2010 Hillary Clinton Resigned January 21, 2009, to become Secretary of State Kirsten Gillibrand Kirsten Gillibrand January 3, 2013
West Virginia November 2, 2010 Robert Byrd Died June 28, 2010 Carte Goodwin Joe Manchin January 3, 2013


Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy died August 25, 2009. A special election was held to choose someone to serve the remainder of the term through January 2013.[1] On September 24, 2009, Paul G. Kirk, former Democratic National Committee chairman and aide to Ted Kennedy, was appointed to occupy Kennedy's Senate seat on an interim basis until the special election process is completed.[2][3] Kirk was sworn in on September 25, 2009,[4] to serve as a "caretaker" until the January 2010 special election, in which he was a candidate.[2]

A party primary was held December 8, 2009.[1][5][6] Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley[7] beat three other Democrats for her party's nomination. She lost the January 19, 2010 general election to Republican Scott Brown.

House of Representatives

There were five special elections in 2009 to fill vacant seats in the United States House of Representatives, and there will be at least four in 2010. As of February 9, 2010, one seat has switched parties, from Republican to Democratic, as the result of a special election.

District Election date
(links to special
election article)
Prior incumbent Reason for vacancy Winner
New York 20th March 31, 2009 Kirsten Gillibrand (D) Resigned January 26, 2009, to accept appointment as United States Senator to replace Hillary Clinton Scott Murphy (D)
Illinois 5th April 7, 2009 Rahm Emanuel (D) Resigned before the 111th Congress to become Barack Obama's White House Chief of Staff Michael Quigley (D)
California 32nd July 14, 2009 Hilda Solis (D) Resigned February 24, 2009, to become Secretary of Labor Judy Chu (D)
California 10th November 3, 2009 Ellen Tauscher (D) Resigned June 26, 2009, to become Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs John Garamendi (D)
New York 23rd November 3, 2009 John M. McHugh (R) Resigned September 21, 2009, to become Secretary of the Army Bill Owens (D)
Florida 19th April 13, 2010 Robert Wexler (D) Resigned on January 3, 2010, to become president of the Center for Middle East Peace & Economic Cooperation Ted Deutch (D)
Pennsylvania 12th May 18, 2010 John Murtha (D) Died February 8, 2010 Mark Critz (D)
Hawaii 1st May 22, 2010 Neil Abercrombie (D) Resigned effective February 26, 2010, to campaign for Governor of Hawaii Charles Djou (R)
Georgia 9th June 8, 2010
Nathan Deal (R) Resigned effective March 21, 2010 to campaign for Governor of Georgia. Tom Graves (R)
New York 29th November 2, 2010 Eric Massa (D) Resigned effective March 8, 2010 Tom Reed (R)
Indiana 3rd November 2, 2010 Mark Souder (R) Resigned effective May 21, 2010 Marlin Stutzman (R)

California's 10th congressional district

On June 26, 2009, Democrat Ellen Tauscher resigned to become Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. Democrat John Garamendi held the seat for the Democrats on November 3, 2009, defeating Republican David Harmer.

California's 32nd congressional district

On February 24, 2009, Democrat Hilda Solis resigned to become United States Secretary of Labor. Judy Chu, also a Democrat, won the election, defeating Republican Betty Chu by a wide margin.[8]

Florida's 19th congressional district

On January 3, 2010, Democrat Robert Wexler resigned to become president of the Center for Middle East Peace & Economic Cooperation. Ted Deutch, a Democrat, defeated Republican Ed Lynch in the April 13, 2010 special election.

Georgia's 9th congressional district

Republican Nathan Deal resigned March 31, 2010 to concentrate on the 2010 election for Governor of Georgia. Initially, he stated he would resign effective March 8, 2010, but he then announced he would wait until after a vote was held on health care reform legislation.[9] Deal resigned minutes after the vote, and a special election was held to replace him on May 11, 2010, but since no candidate won a majority, a runoff was held on June 8.[10]

Hawaii's 1st congressional district

On February 28, 2010, Democrat Neil Abercrombie resigned to concentrate on the 2010 election for Governor of Hawaii. The special election was held May 22, 2010; the winner was Charles Djou.

Illinois's 5th congressional district

On January 2, 2009, Democrat Rahm Emanuel resigned one day before the end of the previous Congress after being named White House Chief of Staff. Democrat Michael Quigley won the election April 7, 2009 election to replace him, handily defeating Republican Rosanna Pulido with better than a two-to-one share of the vote.

New York's 20th congressional district

On January 26, 2009, Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand resigned when appointed to fill Hillary Clinton's U.S. Senate seat. Scott Murphy, a fellow Democrat, won the election held March 31, 2009, defeating Republican Jim Tedisco by fewer than 700 votes. Because of the slim margin, Tedisco did not concede the race until more than three weeks later, when overseas ballots had been counted.

New York's 23rd congressional district

On September 21, 2009, Republican John M. McHugh resigned to become United States Secretary of the Army.[11] On November 3, 2009, Democrat Bill Owens defeated Conservative Doug Hoffman and Republican Dede Scozzafava in a race that garnered considerable press attention. Days before the election, Scozzafava dropped out of the race, then endorsed the Owens, the Democrat.[12]

New York's 29th congressional district

Democrat Eric Massa announced his resignation effective March 8, 2010, citing a recurrence of cancer and a pending investigation before the House Ethics Committee. The special election will be held on the same date as the general election, November 2, 2010.

Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district

On February 8, 2010, Democrat John Murtha died from complications during laparoscopic surgery. The special election was held on May 18, 2010, and Democrat Mark Critz was the winner.

Indiana's 3rd congressional distrist

On May 21, 2010, Republican Mark Souder resigned after revealing an extra-marital affair. The special election will be held on November 2, 2010, concurrent with the general election for the same seat with the same candidates.


  1. 1 2 Phillips, Frank; Matt Viser; Andrew Ryan (August 31, 2009). "Governor sets date for special Senate election, presses for interim appointment". The Boston Globe.
  2. 1 2 Viser, Matt; Phillips, Frank (September 24, 2009). "Kirk named interim senator". The Boston Globe. Retrieved September 24, 2009.
  3. Cillizza, Chris (September 9, 2009). "Kerry Pledges Support For Mass.-Senate Appointee". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 10, 2009.
  4. Johnson, Glen (September 24, 2009). "Former DNC head Kirk tapped to replace Kennedy". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved September 24, 2009.
  5. "Special State Election, Senator in Congress for Massachusetts: Calendar". Elections Division, Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. (no date). Retrieved September 7, 2009. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  6. Elections Division, Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (n.d.). "Special State Election, Senator in Congress for Massachusetts (to fill vacancy caused by the death of Senator Edward M. Kennedy)" (PDF). Boston Globe. Retrieved September 7, 2009.
  7. "?" (Press release). Archived from the original on July 14, 2011.
  8. "Democrat claims US House seat in Calif". The Washington Post. July 14, 2009.
  9. "Deal pnot done yet=Hot Line On Call". March 4, 2010.
  10. "Ga. special election moved to May". Poltico. March 24, 2010. Retrieved March 24, 2010.
  11. Weiner, Mark (September 16, 2009). "Rep. John McHugh is confirmed as Secretary of the Army". Syracuse Post-Standard. syracuse.com.
  12. "Scozzafava Backs Ownes, Stuns GOP: Lifelong Republican throws support to former Democratic rival". Watertown Daily Times. November 1, 2009. Archived from the original on November 3, 2009. Retrieved November 3, 2009.

See also

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