1918 United States Senate election in South Carolina

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The 1918 South Carolina United States Senate election was held on November 5, 1918 simultaneously with the special senate election to select the U.S. Senator for a six-year term from the state of South Carolina. Nathaniel B. Dial won the Democratic primary and was unopposed in the general election to win the six-year term to the Senate.

Democratic primary[edit]

United States Senate Democratic primary election in South Carolina, 1918

← 1912 August 27, 1918 1924 →
  Nathaniel B. Dial.jpg Coleman L Blease (cropped).jpg
Nominee Nathaniel Dial Coleman Livingston Blease
Party Democratic Democratic
Popular vote 65,064 40,456
Percentage 58.7% 36.5%

U.S. Senator before election

Christie Benet

Elected U.S. Senator

Nathaniel B. Dial

The primary election in 1918 for Senate was shaping up to be a contentious affair between Ben Tillman and Cole Blease, two of the state's most notorious demagogues. Blease had performed surprisingly well in the 1916 gubernatorial election where he had almost knocked off incumbent Governor Richard Irvine Manning III; the death of Tillman in July ended all prospects of an epic battle and the race became a contest between Blease and Nathaniel B. Dial. The South Carolina Democratic Party held the primary on August 27 and Dial garnered over 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff election. Blease suffered the worst loss of his political career mainly because of his vitriolic opposition to World War I which made him appear as a traitor. There was no opposition to the Democratic candidate in the general election so Dial was elected to a six-year term in the Senate.

Democratic Primary
Candidate Votes %
Nathaniel B. Dial 65,064 58.7
Coleman Livingston Blease 40,456 36.5
James F. Rice 5,317 4.8

General election results[edit]

South Carolina U.S. Senate Election, 1918
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Nathaniel B. Dial 25,792 100.0 0.0
Majority 25,792 100.0 0.0
Turnout 25,792
Democratic hold

See also[edit]


  • Jordan, Frank E. The Primary State: A History of the Democratic Party in South Carolina, 1876-1962. pp. 64–67.
  • "Report of the Secretary of State to the General Assembly of South Carolina. Part II." Reports of State Officers Boards and Committees to the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina. Volume II. Columbia, SC: 1919, p. 43.