United States Senate elections, 1994

United States Senate elections, 1994
United States
November 8, 1994

Class 1 (33 of the 100 seats) and two mid-term vacancies from Class 2
51 seats needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party
Leader Bob Dole Tom Daschle
Party Republican Democratic
Leader's seat Kansas South Dakota
Last election 43 seats 57 seats
Seats before 44 56
Seats won 52 48
Seat change Increase 8 Decrease 8
Popular vote 28,613,349 25,234,942
Percentage 49.9% 44.0%
Swing Increase 5.5% Decrease 5.2%
Seats up 13 22

  Republican gain
  Republican hold
  Democratic hold

Majority Leader before election

George Mitchell

Elected Majority Leader

Bob Dole

The United States Senate elections, 1994 was an election held on November 8, 1994, in which the Republican Party was able to take control of the Senate from the Democrats. In a midterm election, the opposition Republicans held the traditional advantage. Congressional Republicans campaigned against the early presidency of Bill Clinton, including his unsuccessful health care plan.

The Republicans successfully defended all of its seats and captured eight seats from the Democrats, including the seats of sitting Senators Harris Wofford (PA) and Jim Sasser (TN), as well as six open seats in Arizona, Maine, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Notably, since Sasser's defeat coincided with a Republican victory in the special election to replace Al Gore, Tennessee's Senate delegation switched from entirely Democratic to entirely Republican in a single election.

This election marked the first time Republicans controlled the Senate since January 1987, and coincided with the first change of control in the House of Representatives since January 1955 and a Republican net gain of twelve governorships. Collectively, these Republican gains are known as the Republican Revolution. Minority leader Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) became Majority Leader, while on the Democratic side, Thomas A. Daschle (S.D.) became Minority Leader after the retirement of the previous Democratic leader, George J. Mitchell (D-Maine).

Initially, the balance was 52–48 in favor of the Republicans, but after the power change, Democrats Richard Shelby of Alabama and Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado switched parties, bringing the balance to 54–46. Democrat Ron Wyden won a 1996 special election to replace Republican Bob Packwood of Oregon, leaving the balance at 53–47 before the next election cycle.

Results summary

52 48
Republican Democrat
Parties Total Seats Popular Vote
1992 1994 +/- Vote %
Republican Party 43 52 +9 28,613,349 49.93%
Democratic Party 57 48 -9 25,234,942 44.04%
Libertarian Party - - - 666,183 1.16%
Others - - - 2,791,007 4.87%
Total 100 100 - 57,305,481 100.0%
Source: Election Statistics - Office of the Clerk

Change in Senate composition

Senate composition before 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 D50
Majority→ D51
R41 R42 R43 R44 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

Senate composition 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 R52 + R51 +
R41 R42 O R43 O R44 O R45 + R46 + R47 + R48 + R49 + R50 +
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
D# Democratic
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

Complete list of races

This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.


Three-term Democratic incumbent Dennis DeConcini retired after being a member of the Keating Five Scandal. Republican Congressman Jon Kyl defeated his Democratic opponent, fellow Congressman Sam Coppersmith by a comfortable margin.


Dianne Feinstein won a special election in 1992 to fill the seat of Governor Pete Wilson. She faced wealthy Republican Congressman Michael Huffington in her race for a full term. Feinstein emerged victorious by less than two points.


One of the Republicans' biggest prizes was the seat of retiring Majority Leader George Mitchell. Longtime Congresswoman Olympia Snowe gained the seat in a landslide victory over Democratic Congressman Thomas Andrews.


Ted Kennedy usually coasted to re-election, but in this election he faced an unusually tough challenge from Republican businessman Mitt Romney. Though the final result was a 17-point Kennedy victory, it marked the first time since his initial election in 1962 that Kennedy received less than 60% of the vote.


Democratic Senator Donald W. Riegle, Jr. retired after three terms. Former Michigan Republican Party Chairman Spencer Abraham defeated Democratic Congressman Milton Robert Carr in the race to succeed Riegle.


Senator Howard Metzenbaum retired and his son-in-law Joel Hyatt received the Democratic nomination to succeed him. Hyatt would go on to be badly defeated by Lieutenant Governor Mike DeWine.

Oklahoma (Special)

The seat of Democrat David L. Boren opened up when he resigned to accept the Presidency of the University of Oklahoma. Republican Congressman Jim Inhofe defeated the Democratic nominee, Congressman Dave McCurdy.


Democrat Harris Wofford was appointed to the Senate when three-term Republican Senator H. John Heinz III died in a 1991 plane crash. He won a special election to hold that seat later that year. In his tough re-election against Republican Congressman Rick Santorum, the pro-choice Wofford lost the endorsement of pro-life Democratic Governor Robert Casey. This contributed to his loss to Santorum by two percentage points.

Tennessee (General)

One of the biggest upsets of the night was the defeat of three-term incumbent Senator Jim Sasser. Sasser had been the influential Chairman of the Budget Committee and was among the leading candidates to replace Mitchell as Democratic Floor Leader. Sasser, however, would be defeated by prominent Nashville heart surgeon Bill Frist by a margin of 14 points.

Tennessee (Special)

Less surprising was the Republican victory in the other Tennessee Senate contest. Harlan Matthews had held the seat since Al Gore's resignation to assume the Vice Presidency in 1993, but chose not to seek the Democratic nomination in the special election. The Republican nominee, actor and attorney Fred Thompson, defeated six-term Democratic Congressman Jim Cooper in an overwhelming landslide.


Democrat Chuck Robb received over 70% of the vote when first elected in 1988, but struggled to win re-election. Furor over Robb's alleged affair with model Tai Collins provided plenty of momentum for the Republicans nominee, Iran-Contra figure Oliver North. A factor to Robb's advantage was the independent candidacy of attorney J. Marshall Coleman. North likely lost votes to Coleman especially when Virginia's other Senator, Republican John Warner, endorsed Coleman over North. Robb received 46% of the vote to North's 43% with Coleman garnering 11%.

Complete list of races

All races are for the Class 1 seat, unless otherwise indicated.

(linked to election article)
Incumbent Party Result Candidates
Arizona Dennis DeConcini Democratic Retired
Republican gain
Jon Kyl (Republican) 53.7%
Sam Coppersmith (Democratic) 39.5%
Scott Grainger (Libertarian) 6.8%
California Dianne Feinstein Democratic Re-elected Dianne Feinstein (Democratic) 46.7%
Michael Huffington (Republican) 44.8%
Elizabeth Barron (Peace and Freedom) 3%
Richard Boddie (Libertarian) 2.1%
Paul Meeuwenberg (AIP) 1.7%
Barbara Blong (Green) 1.7%
Connecticut Joe Lieberman Democratic Re-elected Joe Lieberman (Democratic) 67%
Jerry Labriola (Republican) 31%
Gary R. Garneau (Constitution) 1.9%
Delaware William Roth Republican Re-elected William Roth (Republican) 55.8%
Charles Oberly (Democratic) 42.5%
John C. Dierick (Libertarian) 1.7%
Florida Connie Mack III Republican Re-elected Connie Mack III (Republican) 70.5%
Hugh Rodham (Democratic) 30.5%
Hawaii Daniel Akaka Democratic Re-elected Daniel Akaka (Democratic) 71.8%
Maria Hustace (Republican) 24.2%
Richard Rowland (Libertarian) 4%
Indiana Richard Lugar Republican Re-elected Richard Lugar (Republican) 67.4%
Jim Jontz (Democratic) 30.5%
Barbara Bourland (Libertarian) 1.1%
Mary Catherine Barton (NAP) 1%
Maine George Mitchell Democratic Retired
Republican gain
Olympia Snowe (Republican) 60.2%
Thomas Andrews (Democratic) 36.4%
Plato Truman (Independent) 3.4%
Maryland Paul Sarbanes Democratic Re-elected Paul Sarbanes (Democratic) 59.1%
Bill Brock (Republican) 40.9%
Massachusetts Ted Kennedy Democratic Re-elected Edward M. Kennedy (Democratic) 58.1%
Mitt Romney (Republican) 41%
Lauraleigh Dozier (Libertarian) 0.7%
William A. Ferguson, Jr. (LaRouche Was Right) 0.2%
Michigan Donald W. Riegle, Jr. Democratic Retired
Republican gain
Spencer Abraham (Republican) 51.9%
Bob Carr (Democratic) 42.7%
Jon Coon (Libertarian) 4.2%
William Roundtree (Workers World Party) 0.7%
Chris Wege (Natural Law) 0.5%
Minnesota David Durenberger Republican Retired
Republican hold
Rod Grams (Republican) 49.1%
Ann Wynia (DFL) 44.1%
Dean Barkley (Reform) 5.4%
Candice E. Sjostrom (Grassroots) 0.9%
Stephen Johnson (Natural Law) 0.3%
Chris Wege (Socialist Workers) 0.1%
Mississippi Trent Lott Republican Re-elected Trent Lott (Republican) 68.8%
Ken Harper (Democratic) 31.2%
Missouri John Danforth Republican Retired
Republican hold
John Ashcroft (Republican) 59.8%
Alan Wheat (Democratic) 35.7%
Bill Johnson (Libertarian) 4.6%
Montana Conrad Burns Republican Re-elected Conrad Burns (Republican) 62.4%
Jack Mudd (Democratic) 37.6%
Nebraska Bob Kerrey Democratic Re-elected Bob Kerrey (Democratic) 55%
Jan Stoney (Republican) 45%
Nevada Richard H. Bryan Democratic Re-elected Richard H. Bryan (Democratic) 50.9%
Hal Furman (Republican) 41%
Anna Nevenich (Independent) 1.8%
Bob Days (Libertarian) 1.6%
Neal A. Grasteit (Independent American) 1.4%
New Jersey Frank Lautenberg Democratic Re-elected Frank Lautenberg (Democratic) 50.4%
Chuck Haytaian (Republican) 47%
Michael P. Kelly (Keep America First) 0.7%
Ben Grindlinger (Libertarian) 0.7%
Richard J. Pezzullo (Conservative) 0.4%
Andrea Lippi (Jobs, Property Rights) 0.3%
George Patrick Predham (Damn Drug Dealers) 0.2%
Joanne Kuniansky (Socialist Workers Party) 0.2%
Arlene Gold (Natural Law Party) 0.2%
New Mexico Jeff Bingaman Democratic Re-elected Jeff Bingaman (Democratic) 54%
Colin McMillan (Republican) 46%
New York Daniel Patrick Moynihan Democratic Re-elected Daniel Patrick Moynihan (Democratic) 55%
Bernadette Castro (Republican) 42.3%
Henry F. Hewes (Right-to-Life) 1.8%
Ismael Betancourt, Jr. (Independence Party of New York) 0.5%
Norma Segal (Libertarian) 0.3%
Naomi L. Craine (Socialist Workers) 0.3%
North Dakota Kent Conrad Democratic Re-elected Kent Conrad (Democratic) 58%
Ben Clayburgh (Republican) 42%
Ohio Howard Metzenbaum Democratic Retired
Republican gain
Mike DeWine (Republican) 53.4%
Joel Hyatt (Democratic) 39.2%
Joseph Slovenec (Independent) 7.3%
Special: Class 2
David L. Boren Democratic Resigned, effective with the election
Winner elected to finish the term ending January 3, 1997
Republican gain
James Inhofe (Republican) 55.2%
Dave McCurdy (Democratic) 40%
Danny Corn (Independent) 4.8%
Pennsylvania Harris Wofford Democratic Lost re-election
Republican gain
Rick Santorum (Republican) 49.4%
Harris Wofford (Democratic) 46.9%
Diane Blough (Patriot) 2%
Donald C. Ernsberger (Libertarian) 1.7%
Rhode Island John Chafee Republican Re-elected John Chafee (Republican) 64%
Linda Kushner (Democratic) 36%
Tennessee Jim Sasser Democratic Lost re-election
Republican gain
Bill Frist (Republican) 56.4%
Jim Sasser (D) 42.1%
Special: Class 2
Harlan Matthews Democratic Appointee retired
Winner elected to finish the term ending January 3, 1997
Republican gain
Fred Thompson (Republican) 61%
Jim Cooper (Democratic) 39%
Texas Kay Bailey Hutchison Republican Re-elected Kay Bailey Hutchison (Republican) 60.8%
Richard W. Fisher (Democratic) 38.3%
Pierre Blondeau (Libertarian) 0.8%
Utah Orrin Hatch Republican Re-elected Orrin Hatch (Republican) 68.8%
Patrick Shea (Democratic) 28.3%
Craig Oliver (Independent) 1.8%
Gary R. Van Horn (American) 0.5%
Nelson Gonzalez (Socialist Workers) 0.3%
Lawrence Rey Topham (Independent American) 0.3%
Vermont Jim Jeffords Republican Re-elected Jim Jeffords (Republican) 50.3%
Jan Backus (Democratic) 40.6%
Gavin T. Mills (Independent) 5.9%
Matthew S. Mulligan (Independent) 1.4%
Bob Melamede (Grassroots) 0.7%
Jerry Levy (Liberty Union) 0.6%
Joseph Victor Pardo (Natural Law Party) 0.3%
Virginia Chuck Robb Democratic Re-elected Chuck Robb (Democratic) 45.6%
Oliver North (Republican) 42.9%
J. Marshall Coleman (Independent) 11.4%
Washington Slade Gorton Republican Re-elected Slade Gorton (Republican) 55.75%
Ron Sims (Democratic) 44.25%
West Virginia Robert Byrd Democratic Re-elected Robert Byrd (Democratic) 69%
Stanley L. Klos (Republican) 31%
Wisconsin Herb Kohl Democratic Re-elected Herb Kohl (Democratic) 58%
Robert Welch (Republican) 40.7%
James Dean (Libertarian) 1%
Wyoming Malcolm Wallop Republican Retired
Republican hold
Craig Thomas (Republican) 58.9%
Mike Sullivan (Democratic) 39.3%
Craig McCune (Libertarian) 1.8%

See also

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