United States Senate elections, 2008

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United States Senate elections, 2008
United States
← 2006 November 4, 2008 2010 →

Class 2 (33 of the 100) seats of the U.S. Senate
(and 2 special elections)

51 seats needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party
  Harry Reid official portrait 2009.jpg Sen Mitch McConnell official.jpg
Leader Harry Reid Mitch McConnell
Party Democratic Republican
Leader's seat Nevada Kentucky
Seats before 49 49
Seats after 57 41
Seat change Increase 8 Decrease 8
Popular vote 33,650,061 28,863,067
Percentage 51.9% 44.5%
Swing Decrease 1.3% Increase 2.7%
Seats up 12 23
Races won 20 15

  Third party
 
Party Independent
Seats before 2[Note 1]
Seats after 2
Seat change Steady
Popular vote 176,752
Percentage 0%
Seats up 0
Races won 0

2008 Senate election results map.svg
Results of the November elections
     Democratic gain      Republican gain      Independent gain
     Democratic hold      Republican hold      Independent hold
  1. ^ Although Lieberman won as "Connecticut for Lieberman," most sources, him, refer to him as an "Independent Democrat," and he is included here as an "Independent."

Majority Leader before election

Harry Reid
Democratic

Elected Majority Leader

Harry Reid
Democratic

Elections to the United States Senate were held November 4, 2008 with 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate being contested. Thirty-three seats were up for regular elections; the winners were eligible to serve six-year terms from January 3, 2009 to January 3, 2015, as members of Class 2. There were also two special elections, the winners of those seats would finish the terms that ended January 3, 2013.

The presidential election which was won by Democrat Barack Obama, elections for all House of Representatives seats, and several gubernatorial elections, as well as many state and local elections, occurred on the same date.

Going into these elections, the Senate consisted of 49 Democrats, 49 Republicans, and two Independents who caucused with the Democrats, giving the Democratic caucus the slightest 51-49 majority.[1] Of the seats up for election in 2008, 23 were held by Republicans and 12 by Democrats. The Republicans, who openly conceded early on that they wouldn't be able to regain the majority in 2008,[2][3] lost eight seats. This election was the second cycle in a row in which no seats switched from Democratic to Republican. In addition, this was the largest Democratic Senate gain since 1986, when they also won eight seats. These elections marked the first time since 1964 in which a Democratic presidential candidate won the White House with Senate coattails. Finally, 2008 was the first presidential election year since 1948 in which Senate Class 2 saw net gains for the winning presidential candidate's party.

When the new senators were first sworn in, the balance was 58–41 in favor of the Democrats, because of the unresolved Senate election in Minnesota. The April 2009 defection of a Republican to the Democratic party and the July 2009 resolution of the Minnesota election in favor of the Democrat increased the Democratic majority to 60–40. Republicans gained a seat in a January 2010 special election in Massachusetts, making the balance 59-41 before the start of the next election cycle.

Gains and losses[edit]

Democrats defeated five Republican incumbents:

Democrats also picked up three open seats: Colorado, New Mexico, and Virginia.

Results summary[edit]

57 2 41
Democratic Independent Republican


Summary of the November 4, 2008, United States Senate election results[edit]

Parties Total
Democratic Republican Independent Libertarian Independence Green Others
Before these elections 49 49 2 100
Not
up
Class 1 (2006→2012) 22 8 2 31
Class 3 (2004→2010) 15 19 34
Total 37 26 2 65
Up Class 1 2 2
Class 2 12 21 33
Total 12 23 35
Incumbent
retired
Begin 5 5
Held by same party 2 2
Replaced by other party Decrease 3 Republicans
replaced by
Increase 3 Democrats
IncreaseDecrease 3
Result 3 2 5
Incumbent
ran
Begin 12 18 30
Won election 12 13 25
Lost election Decrease 5 Republicans
replaced by
Increase 5 Democrats
IncreaseDecrease 5
Result 17 13 30
Total held 12 15 27
Total gained/lost Increase 8 Decrease 8 IncreaseDecrease 8
Total elected 20 15 35
Nation-wide vote Votes 33,650,061 28,863,067 176,752 798,154 450,702 427,427 496,124 64,862,287
Share 51.88% 44.50% 0.27% 1.23% 0.69% 0.66% 0.76% 100%
Result 57 41 2 100

Sources:

Change in Senate composition[edit]

Before the elections[edit]

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
Ran
D39
Ran
D38
Ran
D37 D36 D35 D34 D33 D32 D31
D41
Ran
D42
Ran
D43
Ran
D44
Ran
D45
Ran
D46
Ran
D47
Ran
D48
Ran
D49
Ran
I2
Majority (with Independents) ↑ I1
R41
Ran
R42
Ran
R43
Ran
R44
Ran
R45
Retired
R46
Retired
R47
Retired
R48
Retired
R49
Retired
R40
Ran
R39
Ran
R38
Ran
R37
Ran
R36
Ran
R35
Ran
R34
Ran
R33
Ran
R32
Ran
R31
Ran
R21 R22 R23 R24 R25 R26 R27 R28 R29
Ran
R30
Ran
R20 R19 R18 R17 R16 R15 R14 R13 R12 R11
R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10

After the general elections[edit]

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
Re-elected
D39
Re-elected
D38
Re-elected
D37 D36 D35 D34 D33 D32 D31
D41
Re-elected
D42
Re-elected
D43
Re-elected
D44
Re-elected
D45
Re-elected
D46
Re-elected
D47
Re-elected
D48
Re-elected
D49
Re-elected
D50
Gain
Majority → D51
Gain
R41
Hold
I2 I1 D57
Gain
D56
Gain
D55
Gain
D54
Gain
D53
Gain
D52
Gain
R40
Hold
R39
Re-elected
R38
Re-elected
R37
Re-elected
R36
Re-elected
R35
Re-elected
R34
Re-elected
R33
Re-elected
R32
Re-elected
R31
Re-elected
R21 R22 R23 R24 R25 R26 R27 R28 R29
Re-elected
R30
Re-elected
R20 R19 R18 R17 R16 R15 R14 R13 R12 R11
R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10

After the special elections[edit]

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 I2 I1 D57 D56 D55 D54 D53 D52
R40 R39 R38 R37 R36 R35 R34 R33 R32 R31
R21 R22 R23 R24 R25 R26 R27
Appointee elected
R28
Appointee elected
R29 R30
R20 R19 R18 R17 R16 R15 R14 R13 R12 R11
R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10
Key:
D# Democratic
I# Independent
R# Republican

Race summary[edit]

Special elections during the 110th Congress[edit]

In these special elections, the winner was seated during 2008 or before January 3, 2009, sorted by election date, then state, then class.

State
(linked to
summaries below)
Incumbent Results Candidates
Senator Party Electoral history
Mississippi
(Class 1)
Wicker, RogerRoger Wicker Republican 2007 (Appointed) Interim appointee elected November 4, 2008. Wicker, RogerRoger Wicker (Republican) 55.0%
Ronnie Musgrove (Democratic) 45.0%
Wyoming
(Class 1)
Barrasso, John John Barrasso Republican 2007 (Appointed) Interim appointee elected November 4, 2008. Barrasso, John John Barrasso (Republican) 73.4%
Nick Carter (Democratic) 26.5%

Elections leading to the next Congress[edit]

In these general elections, the winners were elected for the term beginning January 3, 2009; ordered by state.

All of the elections involved the Class 2 seats.

State
(linked to
summaries below)
Incumbent Results Candidates
Senator Party Electoral history
Alabama Sessions, JeffJeff Sessions Republican 1996
2002
Incumbent re-elected. Jeff Sessions (Republican) 63.4%
Vivian Davis Figures (Democratic) 36.5%
Alaska Stevens, TedTed Stevens Republican 1968 (Appointed)
1970 (Special)
1972
1978
1984
1990
1996
2002
Incumbent lost re-election.
New member elected.
Democratic gain.
Mark Begich (Democratic) 47.8%
Ted Stevens (Republican) 46.6%
Bob Bird (Alaskan Independence) 4.2%
David Haase (Libertarian) 0.8%
Ted Gianoutsos (Independent) 0.4%
Arkansas Pryor, MarkMark Pryor Democratic 2002 Incumbent re-elected. Mark Pryor (Democratic) 79.5%
Rebekah Kennedy (Green) 20.5%
Colorado Allard, WayneWayne Allard Republican 1996
2002
Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Democratic gain.
Mark Udall (Democratic) 52.8%
Bob Schaffer (Republican) 42.5%
Doug Campbell (Constitution) 2.6%
Bob Kinsey (Green) 2.1%
Delaware Biden, JoeJoe Biden Democratic 1972
1978
1984
1990
1996
2002
Incumbent re-elected. Joe Biden (Democratic) 64.7%
Christine O'Donnell (Republican) 35.3%
Georgia Chambliss, SaxbySaxby Chambliss Republican 2002 Incumbent re-elected. Saxby Chambliss (Republican) 49.8%
Jim Martin (Democratic) 46.8%
Allen Buckley (Libertarian) 3.4%
Runoff: Chambliss 57.5% Martin 42.5%
Idaho Craig, LarryLarry Craig Republican 1990
1996
2002
Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Republican hold.
Jim Risch (Republican) 57.7%
Larry LaRocco (Democratic) 34.1%
Rex Rammell (Independent) 5.4%
Kent Marmon (Libertarian) 1.5%
Pro-Life (Independent) 1.3%
Illinois Durbin, DickDick Durbin Democratic 1996
2002
Incumbent re-elected. Dick Durbin (Democratic) 67.8%
Steve Sauerberg (Republican) 28.5%
Kathy Cummings (Green) 2.2%
Larry Stafford (Libertarian) 0.9%
Chad Koppie (Constitution) 0.5%
Iowa Harkin, TomTom Harkin Democratic 1984
1990
1996
2002
Incumbent re-elected. Tom Harkin (Democratic) 62.7%
Christopher Reed (Republican) 37.3%
Kansas Roberts, PatPat Roberts Republican 1996
2002
Incumbent re-elected. Pat Roberts (Republican) 60.0%
Jim Slattery (Democratic) 36.4%
Randall Hodgkinson (Libertarian) 2.1%
Joseph Martin (Reform) 1.3%
Kentucky McConnell, MitchMitch McConnell Republican 1984
1990
1996
2002
Incumbent re-elected. Mitch McConnell (Republican) 53.0%
Bruce Lunsford (Democratic) 47.0%
Louisiana Landrieu, MaryMary Landrieu Democratic 1996
2002
Incumbent re-elected. Mary Landrieu (Democratic) 52.1%
John Neely Kennedy (Republican) 45.7%
Richard Fontanesi (Libertarian) 1.0%
Jay Patel (Independent) 0.7%
Robert Stewart (Independent) 0.5%
Maine Collins, SusanSusan Collins Republican 1996
2002
Incumbent re-elected. Susan Collins (Republican) 61.3%
Tom Allen (Democratic) 38.6%
Massachusetts Kerry, JohnJohn Kerry Democratic 1984
1990
1996
2002
Incumbent re-elected. John Kerry (Democratic) 65.8%
Jeff Beatty (Republican) 31.0%
Robert Underwood (Libertarian) 3.2%
Michigan Levin, CarlCarl Levin Democratic 1978
1984
1990
1996
2002
Incumbent re-elected. Carl Levin (Democratic) 62.7%
Jack Hoogendyk (Republican) 33.8%
Scott Boman (Libertarian) 1.6%
Harley Mikkelson (Green) 0.9%
Michael Nikitin (Constitution) 0.6%
Doug Dern (Natural Law) 0.4%
Minnesota Coleman, NormNorm Coleman Republican 2002 Incumbent lost re-election.
New member elected.
Democratic gain.
Al Franken (DFL) 41.99%
Norm Coleman (Republican) 41.98%
Dean Barkley (MIP) 15.15%
Charles Aldrich (Libertarian) 0.48%
James Niemackl (Constitution) 0.31
Write-ins 0.08%
Mississippi Cochran, ThadThad Cochran Republican 1978
1984
1990
1996
2002
Incumbent re-elected. Thad Cochran (Republican) 61.4%
Erik Fleming (Democratic) 38.6%
Montana Baucus, MaxMax Baucus Democratic 1978
1984
1990
1996
2002
Incumbent re-elected. Max Baucus (Democratic) 72.9%
Bob Kelleher (Republican) 27.1%
Nebraska Hagel, ChuckChuck Hagel Republican 1996
2002
Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Republican hold.
Mike Johanns (Republican) 57.5%
Scott Kleeb (Democratic) 40.1%
Kelly Rosberg (Nebraska) 1.4%
Steve Larrick (Green) 1.0%
New Hampshire Sununu, John E.John E. Sununu Republican 2002 Incumbent lost re-election.
New member elected.
Democratic gain.
Jeanne Shaheen (Democratic) 51.7%
John E. Sununu (Republican) 45.2%
Ken Blevens (Libertarian) 3.1%
New Jersey Lautenberg, FrankFrank Lautenberg Democratic 1982
1982 (Appointed)
1988
1994
2000 (Retired)
2002
Incumbent re-elected. Frank Lautenberg (Democratic) 56.0%
Dick Zimmer (Republican) 42.0%
Jason Scheurer (Libertarian) 0.5%
J. M. Carter (Independent) 0.5%
Daryl Mikell Brooks (Independent) 0.5%
Jeffrey Boss (Independent) 0.3%
Sara Lobman (Socialist Workers) 0.3%
New Mexico Domenici, PetePete Domenici Republican 1972
1978
1984
1990
1996
2002
Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Democratic gain.
Tom Udall (Democratic) 61.3%
Steve Pearce (Republican) 38.7%
North Carolina Dole, ElizabethElizabeth Dole Republican 2002 Incumbent lost re-election.
New member elected.
Democratic gain.
Kay Hagan (Democratic) 52.7%
Elizabeth Dole (Republican) 44.2%
Chris Cole (Libertarian) 3.1%
Oklahoma Inhofe, JimJim Inhofe Republican 1994 (Special)
1996
2002
Incumbent re-elected. Jim Inhofe (Republican) 56.7%
Andrew Rice (Democratic) 39.2%
Stephen Wallace (Independent) 4.1%
Oregon Smith, GordonGordon Smith Republican 1996
2002
Incumbent lost re-election.
New member elected.
Democratic gain.
Jeff Merkley (Democratic) 48.9%
Gordon Smith (Republican) 45.6%
Dave Brownlow (Constitution) 5.2%
Rhode Island Reed, JackJack Reed Democratic 1996
2002
Incumbent re-elected. Jack Reed (Democratic) 73.4%
Robert Tingle (Republican) 26.6%
South Carolina Graham, LindseyLindsey Graham Republican 2002 Incumbent re-elected. Lindsey Graham (Republican) 57.5%
Bob Conley (Democratic) 42.3%
South Dakota Johnson, TimTim Johnson Democratic 1996
2002
Incumbent re-elected. Tim Johnson (Democratic) 62.5%
Joel Dykstra (Republican) 37.5%
Tennessee Alexander, LamarLamar Alexander Republican 2002 Incumbent re-elected. Lamar Alexander (Republican) 65.1%
Bob Tuke (Democratic) 31.6%
Edward Buck (Independent) 1.3%
Christopher Fenner (Independent) 0.5%
Daniel Lewis (Libertarian) 0.4%
Chris Lugo (Green) 0.4%
Ed Lawhorn (Independent) 0.4%
David Gatchell 0.3% (Independent)
Texas Cornyn, JohnJohn Cornyn Republican 2002 Incumbent re-elected. John Cornyn (Republican) 54.8%
Rick Noriega (Democratic) 42.8%
Yvonne Adams Schick (Libertarian) 2.3%
Virginia Warner, JohnJohn Warner Republican 1978
1984
1990
1996
2002
Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Democratic gain.
Mark Warner (Democratic) 65.0%
Jim Gilmore (Republican) 33.7%
Bill Redpath (Libertarian) 0.6%
Gail Parker (Independent Green) 0.6%
West Virginia Rockefeller, JayJay Rockefeller Democratic 1984
1990
1996
2002
Incumbent re-elected. Jay Rockefeller (Democratic) 63.7%
Jay Wolfe (Republican) 36.3%
Wyoming Enzi, MikeMike Enzi Republican 1996
2002
Incumbent re-elected. Mike Enzi (Republican) 75.6%
Chris Rothfuss (Democratic) 24.3%

Special elections during the next Congress[edit]

There were no special elections in 2009.

Freshmen[edit]

Results of the Senate election by county

There were 18 freshman Senators in the 111th United States Congress. Ten were elected on November 4, 2008. In addition, two freshmen were appointed to fill vacancies created by Barack Obama's and Joe Biden's resignations to become president and vice president. Two more freshmen were appointed to the Senate as a consequence of the appointment of Hillary Clinton to be Secretary of State and Ken Salazar to be Secretary of the Interior. George LeMieux was appointed to replace Mel Martinez upon his resignation. A temporary interim senator, Paul G. Kirk, was appointed to the seat of Edward M. Kennedy upon his death. He was replaced by Scott Brown in the United States Senate special election in Massachusetts, 2010.

  1. Mark Begich (D-AK)
  2. Al Franken (D-MN)
  3. Kay Hagan (D-NC)
  4. Mike Johanns (R-NE)
  5. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
  6. Jim Risch (R-ID)
  7. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
  8. Mark Udall (D-CO)
  9. Tom Udall (D-NM)
  10. Mark Warner (D-VA)
  11. Roland Burris (D-IL, Obama's successor), appointed in 2008
  12. Ted Kaufman (D-DE, Biden's successor), appointed in 2009
  13. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY, Clinton's successor), appointed in 2009
  14. Michael Bennet (D-CO, Salazar's successor), appointed in 2009
  15. George LeMieux (R-FL, Martinez's successor), appointed in 2009
  16. Paul G. Kirk (D-MA, Kennedy's successor), appointed in 2009
  17. Scott Brown (R-MA, Paul Kirk's successor)
  18. Chris Coons (D-DE, Kaufman's successor), elected in 2010
  19. Mark Kirk (R-IL, Burris's successor), elected in 2010

Hill committees' role[edit]

Each major party has Hill committees that work to support its candidates for the House and Senate, chiefly by providing funds. On the Senate side, the committees are the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).

In this cycle the DSCC was more successful at fundraising. As of June 30, 2008, data from the Federal Election Commission showed the NRSC with $24.6 million on hand, as compared with the DSCC's $43 million.[4] The NRSC chair, Senator John Ensign, took the unusual step of chastising the Republican Senators who, like him, were not facing re-election, and who he thought should have done more to help raise money for their colleagues.[4]

Alabama[edit]

United States Senate election in Alabama, 2008
Alabama
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  Jeff Sessions official portrait.jpg Vivian Figures.jpg
Nominee Jeff Sessions Vivian Davis Figures
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 1,305,383 752,391
Percentage 63.36% 36.52%

Alabama Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County Results

U.S. Senator before election

Jeff Sessions
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Jeff Sessions
Republican

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions sought re-election to a third term. Johnny Swanson announced his candidacy in March 2006 for the Democratic nomination.[5]

Despite voting heavily for Bush in 2004, Alabama still had a strong Democratic presence; Democrats controlled majorities of both chambers in the state legislature. Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Ron Sparks appeared to be preparing for a run, but on June 12, 2007, Sparks announced that he would not seek the Senate seat, in order to avoid a primary battle with state Senator Vivian Davis Figures.[6] Figures has won elections in the Republican-leaning Mobile area. In the Democratic primary, Figures won the nomination and face Sessions in November.

Not on the ballot, but running a write-in campaign, was Darryl W. Perry, the 2004 Libertarian Party nominee for Pennsylvania State Treasurer and 2007 candidate for Mayor of Birmingham, Alabama.[7][8] Perry was endorsed by Alabama Statesmen,[9] Boston Tea Party,[10] Christians for Life and Liberty[11] and PaulCongress.com[12]

Session defeated Figures, taking 63% of the vote to Figures's 37%

Republican primary results[13]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jeff Sessions 199,690 92.27%
Republican Earl Mack Gavin 16,718 7.73%
Total votes 216,408 100.00%
Democratic primary results[14]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Vivian Davis Figures 112,074 63.72%
Democratic Johnny Swanson 38,757 22.03%
Democratic Mark Townsend 25,058 14.25%
Total votes 175,889 100.00%
United States Senate election in Alabama, 2008[15]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jeff Sessions (Incumbent) 1,305,383 63.36%
Democratic Vivian Figures 752,391 36.52%
Write-in Write-ins 2,417 0.12%
Invalid or blank votes
Total votes 2,060,191 100.00%
Turnout {{{votes}}} N/A
Republican hold

Alaska[edit]

United States Senate election in Alaska, 2008
Alaska
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  Mark Begich, official portrait, 112th Congress.jpg Ted Stevens.jpg
Nominee Mark Begich Ted Stevens
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 151,767 147,814
Percentage 47.8% 46.5%

U.S. Senator before election

Ted Stevens
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Mark Begich
Democratic

Alaska ADL senatorial primary, 2008[16]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Mark Begich 63,747 84.12%
Democratic Ray Metcalfe 5,480 7.23%
Alaskan Independence Bob Bird 4,216 5.56%
Libertarian Fredrick Haase 1,375 1.81%
Democratic Frank Vondersaar 965 1.27%
Total votes 75,783 100.00%
Republican primary results[16]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ted Stevens 66,900 63.52%
Republican David Cuddy 28,364 26.93%
Republican Vic Vickers 6,102 5.79%
Republican Michael Corey 1,496 1.42%
Republican Roderic Sikma 1,133 1.08%
Republican Rich Wanda 732 0.69%
Republican Gerald Heikes 599 0.57%
Total votes 105,326 100.00%
United States Senate election in Alaska, 2008[17]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Mark Begich 151,767 47.77% +37.26%
Republican Ted Stevens (Incumbent) 147,814 46.52% -31.65%
Alaskan Independence Bob Bird 13,197 4.15% +1.22%
Libertarian Fredrick Haase 2,483 0.78% -0.25%
Independent Ted Gianoutsos 1,385 0.44%
Write-ins 1,077 0.34%
Majority 3,953 1.24% -66.42%
Turnout 317,723
Democratic gain from Republican Swing

Dispelling rumors that he would retire due to advanced age (he was 84 years old on election day) and ongoing federal investigations into his conduct, Senator Ted Stevens filed papers for re-election for an eighth term.[18]

An ex-oil company executive, Bill Allen, paid for part of the renovation costs on Stevens's personal residence. The FBI investigated the remodeling of Stevens home by Veco Corp., which is part of a broader corruption investigation involving Stevens's son, former State Senate President Ben Stevens.[19] Two former Veco executives have plead guilty to paying the younger Stevens $242,000 in bribes.[20] On July 30, 2007, the IRS and FBI raided Stevens's home in Alaska. On September 14, 2007, former Veco CEO Bill Allen testified at the trial of former State House Speaker Pete Kott that Veco paid people working to double the size of Stevens's home.[21]

On July 29, 2008, a federal grand jury indicted Stevens on seven felony counts for making false statements,[22] and on October 26, a jury found Stevens guilty on all charges.[23]

The Democratic candidate was Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, the son of popular former Democratic Representative Nick Begich. Begich announced his candidacy for the Senate seat on April 22, 2008.[24]

On October 19, 2007, the AP reported that despite the allegations and FBI probe, several veteran GOP Senators—including Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), and Kit Bond (R-MO)—donated enough money to Stevens's re-election campaign to make it one of Stevens's most successful fund raising quarters ever.[25]

Stevens's conviction on seven felony counts of corruption put his re-election bid in serious jeopardy, coming just over a week before the election, though Stevens appealed the conviction. Nevertheless, Stevens was narrowly ahead in the vote count after election day, with only about two-thirds of all votes counted. It only became clear Begich had prevailed when early votes, absentee ballots, and questioned ballots were counted.

On November 18, the race was called for Begich, who won with 47.8% to Stevens's 46.5%.

On April 1, 2009 U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, citing serious prosecutorial misconduct during the trial, decided to drop all charges against Stevens—an action that vacated his conviction.[citation needed]

Arkansas[edit]

United States Senate election in Arkansas, 2008
Arkansas
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  Mark Pryor, head and shoulders photo portrait with flag, 2006.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Mark Pryor Rebekah Kennedy
Party Democratic Green
Popular vote 804,678 207,076
Percentage 79.5% 20.5%

Arkansas Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Mark Pryor
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Mark Pryor
Democratic

United States Senate election in Arkansas, 2008[26]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Mark Pryor (Incumbent) 804,678 79.53%
Green Rebekah Kennedy 207,076 20.47%
Total votes 1,011,754 100.00%
Invalid or blank votes 75,586 n/a
Democratic hold

Despite being a first-term senator in a state George W. Bush won twice, Democrat Mark Pryor faced no opposition from Republicans in his re-election bid. Although Bush carried the state twice, Arkansas Democrats swept the seven state races held in the 2006 general election. Pryor is the son of longtime U.S. Senator and former Arkansas Governor David Pryor. It was rumored that Lt. Governor Bill Halter would challenge Pryor in the primary, but Halter declined to file as a candidate.[27] Rebekah Kennedy of the Green Party was Pryor's only opposition. Pryor won on election day, with 79.53% of the vote. Kennedy took 20.47%.

Colorado[edit]

United States Senate election in Colorado, 2008
Colorado
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  MarkUdall-Senate Portrait.jpg Bob Schaffer Head Shot.jpg
Nominee Mark Udall Bob Schaffer
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 1,230,994 990,755
Percentage 52.8% 42.5%

Colorado Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Wayne Allard
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Mark Udall
Democratic

Democratic primary results[28]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Mark Udall 194,227 100.00%
Total votes 194,227 100.00%
Republican primary results[28]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Bob Schaffer 239,212 100.00%
Total votes 239,212 100.00%
General election results[29]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Mark Udall 1,230,994 52.80% +7.03%
Republican Bob Schaffer 990,755 42.49% -8.20%
Constitution Douglas Campbell 59,733 2.56% +1.04%
Green Bob Kinsey 50,004 2.14%
Write-ins 135 0.01%
Majority 240,239 10.30% +5.38%
Turnout 2,331,621
Democratic gain from Republican Swing

On January 15, 2007, incumbent Senator Wayne Allard (R) announced he would not seek re-election, honoring his pledge to serve no more than two terms.[30]

Former Representative Bob Schaffer of Fort Collins was the Republican nominee. Former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway was rumored to be considering a run, but declined to do so.[31] Other possible Republican candidates included former Congressman Scott McInnis and Colorado Attorney General John Suthers.

The Democratic nominee was 2nd district Congressman Mark Udall of Boulder who announced on January 15, 2007, that he would seek the seat and did not draw significant primary opposition.[32]

Other candidates included Bob Kinsey of Denver as the Green Party nominee,[33] Douglas "Dayhorse" Campbell as the American Constitution Party's nominee,[34] and Independent candidate Buddy Moore, unaffiliated any party.[35]

On Election Day, Udall defeated Schaffer 52% to 43%.

Delaware[edit]

United States Senate election in Delaware, 2008
Delaware
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2010 →
  Joe Biden, official photo portrait 2-cropped.jpg Christine O'Donnell by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Nominee Joe Biden Christine O'Donnell
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 257,539 140,595
Percentage 64.7% 35.3%

Delaware Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Joe Biden
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Joe Biden
Democratic

United States Senate election in Delaware, 2008[36]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Joe Biden (Incumbent) 257,539 64.69% +6.47%
Republican Christine O'Donnell 140,595 35.31% -5.49%
Majority 116,944 29.37% +11.96%
Turnout 398,134
Democratic hold Swing

On August 23, 2008, the Democratic nominee for President, Barack Obama, announced that Biden would be joining him on the ticket as the Vice Presidential nominee.[37] Delaware law allowed Biden to run for Vice President and Senator at the same time, so he would have kept the seat if the ticket had lost. In 2000, the Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee Joe Lieberman ran similarly. On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama won the presidential election, making Biden the next VP. Biden vacated his senate seat shortly after the election, allowing for the Governor of Delaware to appoint a successor. There was speculation as to whether the outgoing Governor, Ruth Ann Minner, or the incoming Governor-elect Jack Markell would make the appointment, and if Biden's son, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden would receive the appointment. On November 24, 2008, Governor Minner appointed Biden's longtime Chief of Staff Ted Kaufman to fill the seat. Kaufman subsequently announced that he would not seek election to a full term in 2010, effectively making him a caretaker. Biden's Republican opponent in the Senate race, conservative political commentator Christine O'Donnell, tried to make an issue of Biden's dual campaigns, claiming that serving his constituents is not important to him. Kaufman has since stated that he will not run for the unexpired term in 2010.

Biden was re-elected with 65% of the vote, or 257,484 votes. O'Donnell received 140,584 votes (35% of the vote).

Georgia[edit]

United States Senate election in Georgia, 2008
Georgia (U.S. state)
← 2002 November 4 and December 2, 2008 2014 →
  Saxby Chambliss.jpg Jim Martin october 2008.png
Nominee Saxby Chambliss Jim Martin
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 1,867,097 general
1,228,033 runoff
1,757,393 general
909,923 runoff
Percentage 49.8% general
57.4% runoff
46.8% general
42.6% runoff

Georgia Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County Results (Run off)

U.S. Senator before election

Saxby Chambliss
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Saxby Chambliss
Republican

2008 Georgia U.S. Senate Republican primary election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Saxby Chambliss 392,902 100.0%
Turnout 392,928 100.0%
2008 Georgia U.S. Senate Democratic primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Vernon Jones 199,026 40.4%
Democratic Jim Martin 169,635 34.4%
Democratic Dale Cardwell 79,181 16.1%
Democratic Rand Knight 25,667 5.2%
Democratic Josh Lanier 19,717 4.0%
Total votes 493,226 100.0%
2008 Georgia U.S. Senate Democratic primary election runoff
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Jim Martin 191,061 59.9% +25.5%
Democratic Vernon Jones 127,993 40.1% -0.3%
Total votes 319,054 100.0%
Results by county
2008 Georgia U.S. Senator general election[38][39]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Saxby Chambliss (Incumbent) 1,867,097 49.8% -3.0%
Democratic Jim Martin 1,757,393 46.8% +0.9%
Libertarian Allen Buckley 127,923 3.4% +2.1%
Socialist Workers Eleanor Garcia (write-in) 43 0.0% n/a
Independent William Salomone, Jr. (write-in) 29 0.0% n/a
Majority 109,704 2.92%
Turnout 3,752,577
Results by county
Runoff results[40]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Saxby Chambliss (Incumbent) 1,228,033 57.4% +7.6%
Democratic Jim Martin 909,923 42.6% -4.2%
Majority 318,110 14.8%
Turnout 2,137,956
Republican hold Swing

In the 2008 election, first-term incumbent Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss was opposed primarily by Democrat Jim Martin, as well as third party candidates, including Libertarian Allen Buckley and Eleanor Garcia of the Socialist Workers Party.

Martin, current Georgia Commissioner of Human Resources, former member of the Georgia General Assembly, Vietnam War veteran, and 2006 candidate for Lieutenant Governor, secured the Democratic nomination after defeating Dekalb County CEO Vernon Jones by a 59% to 41% margin in the August 5 run-off election.

In December 2007, Chambliss had an approval rating of 53% and a disapproval rating of 34% according to Strategic Vision, a Republican polling firm.[41] For most of the campaign, Chambliss maintained a comfortable lead in most polls. However, in the weeks leading up to the 2008 general election, polls showed the race tightening, reflecting a general nationwide trend.

On November 4, 2008, Chambliss received 49.7% of the vote,[42] with Martin about 3% behind and Buckley receiving 3% of the vote.[43] However, Georgia law states that if no candidate receives a simple majority of the popular vote, then the election will be decided in a run-off. On December 2, 2008, Chambliss won the run-off with 57% of vote to Martin's 43%.[44]

Idaho[edit]

United States Senate election in Idaho, 2008
Idaho
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  James E. Risch, official Senate photo portrait, 2009.jpg Larry LaRocco 2.jpg
Nominee Jim Risch Larry LaRocco
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 371,744 219,903
Percentage 57.7% 34.1%

 
Nominee Rex Rammell
Party Independent
Popular vote 34,510
Percentage 5.4%

Idaho Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Larry Craig
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Jim Risch
Republican

Democratic Primary results[45]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Larry LaRocco 29,023 72.35%
Democratic David J. Archuleta 11,074 27.60%
Democratic Write-ins 20 0.05%
Total votes 40,117 100.00%
Republican primary results[45]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jim Risch 80,743 65.34%
Republican Scott Syme 16,660 13.48%
Republican Richard Phenneger 6,532 5.29%
Republican Neal Thompson 5,375 4.35%
Republican Fred M. Adams 4,987 4.04%
Republican Bill Hunter 4,280 3.46%
Republican Brian E. Hefner 2,915 2.36%
Republican Hal James Styles, Jr. 2,082 1.68%
Total votes 123,574 100.00%
General election results[46]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Jim Risch 371,744 57.65% -7.51%
Democratic Larry LaRocco 219,903 34.11% +1.56%
Independent Rex Rammell 34,510 5.35%
Libertarian Kent Marmon 9,958 1.54% -0.75%
Independent Pro-Life 8,662 1.35%
Write-ins 3 0.00%
Majority 151,841 23.55% -9.06%
Turnout 644,780
Republican hold Swing

On September 1, 2007, Senator Larry Craig announced his intent to resign from the Senate effective September 30, 2007.[47] The announcement followed by just six days the disclosure that he had pleaded guilty on August 1, 2007 to a reduced misdemeanor charge arising out of his arrest on June 11 at the Minneapolis airport for soliciting sex with a man in the restroom. Craig found almost no support among Republicans in his home state or Washington. On October 4, 2007, Senator Craig announced he will not seek re-election, but would remain in office until the end of his term.[48]

Lieutenant Governor Jim Risch was the Republican candidate; U.S. Army veteran and former congressman Larry LaRocco was the Democratic candidate.[49] Risch and LaRocco ran against each other in the 2006 Lieutenant Governor race, which Risch won by a wide margin. Libertarian Kent Marmon also ran.[50] The last Democratic Senator from Idaho was Frank Church, who was defeated in the Republican landslide of 1980 after serving four terms.

Risch won the election with approximately 58% of the vote.[51]

Illinois[edit]

United States Senate election in Illinois, 2008
Illinois
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  Richard Durbin official photo.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Dick Durbin Steve Sauerberg
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 3,615,844 1,520,621
Percentage 67.84% 28.53%

Illinois Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County Results

U.S. Senator before election

Dick Durbin
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Dick Durbin
Democratic

Democratic primary results[52]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Dick Durbin (Incumbent) 1,653,833 100.00%
Total votes 1,653,833 100.00%
Republican primary results[52]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Steve Sauerberg 395,199 55.62%
Republican Andy Martin 240,548 33.85%
Republican Mike Psak 74,829 10.53%
Total votes 710,576 100.00%
United States Senate election in Illinois, 2008[53]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Dick Durbin (Incumbent) 3,615,844 67.84% +7.51%
Republican Steve Sauerberg 1,520,621 28.53% -9.49%
Green Kathy Cummings 119,135 2.24% 0.00%
Libertarian Larry A. Stafford 50,224 0.94% -0.70%
Constitution Chad N. Koppie 24,059 0.45% 0.00%
Majority 2,095,223 39.31% +17.00%
Turnout 5,329,884
Democratic hold Swing

Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin remained favored in Illinois. He sought to be re-elected in a state that has steadily become more Democratic since 1992. CQpolitics.com rated the contest as "safe Democrat."

Physician Steve Sauerberg of La Grange won the February 5 Republican primary.[54] Kathy Cummings, a retired special education teacher was nominated via convention by the Green Party.[55] Chad Koppie, a retired airline pilot and vice-chairman of the Illinois Center Right Coalition, was the nominee of the Constitution Party.

Durbin won with 63% of the vote. Sauerberg had 33%.

Iowa[edit]

United States Senate election in Iowa, 2008
Iowa
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  Tom Harkin official portrait.jpg Creed22.jpg
Nominee Tom Harkin Christopher Reed
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 941,665 560,006
Percentage 62.66% 37.26%

Iowa Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Tom Harkin
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Tom Harkin
Democratic

Democratic primary results[56]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Tom Harkin (Incumbent) 90,785 98.83%
Democratic Write-ins 1,074 1.17%
Total votes 91,859 100.00%
Republican primary results[56]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Christopher Reed 24,964 35.32%
Republican George Eichhorn 24,390 34.52%
Republican Steve Rathje 21,062 29.80%
Republican Write-ins 256 0.36%
Total votes 70,672 100.00%
United States Senate election in Iowa, 2008[17]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Tom Harkin (Incumbent) 941,665 62.66% +8.48%
Republican Christopher Reed 560,006 37.26% -6.52%
Write-ins 1,247 0.08%
Majority 381,659 25.39% +15.00%
Turnout 1,502,918
Democratic hold Swing

In a state that has been trending to the Democratic party recently, Senator Tom Harkin faced the Republican nominee, small business owner Christopher Reed, whom he defeated with 63% of the vote to Reed's 37%.

Kansas[edit]

United States Senate election in Kansas, 2008
Kansas
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  Pat Roberts official photo 2.jpg Jim Slattery.jpg
Nominee Pat Roberts Jim Slattery
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 712,396 429,691
Percentage 60.1% 36.5%

Kansas Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Pat Roberts
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Pat Roberts
Republican

Republican Party primary results[57]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Pat Roberts (Incumbent) 214,911 100.00%
Total votes 214,911 100.00%
Democratic primary results[57]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Jim Slattery 68,106 68.93%
Democratic Lee Jones 30,699 31.07%
Total votes 98,805 100.00%
General election results[58]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Pat Roberts (Incumbent) 727,121 60.06% -22.46%
Democratic Jim Slattery 441,399 36.46%
Libertarian Randall Hodgkinson 25,727 2.12% -6.98%
Reform Joseph L. Martin 16,443 1.36% -7.02%
Majority 285,722 23.60% -49.82%
Turnout 1,210,690
Republican hold Swing

Senator Pat Roberts sought re-election to a third term. Although Kansas has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1932, former Democratic Congressman and army veteran Jim Slattery was nominated to run against Roberts. Pat Roberts currently has an approval rating of 56%.[59]

Roberts was re-elected with 60% to Slattery's 36%.

Kentucky[edit]

United States Senate election in Kentucky, 2008
Kentucky
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  Sen Mitch McConnell official cropped.jpg Bruce Lunsford.jpg
Nominee Mitch McConnell Bruce Lunsford
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 953,816 847,005
Percentage 53.0% 47.0%

Kentucky Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Mitch McConnell
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Mitch McConnell
Republican

Republican primary results[60]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Mitch McConnell 168,127 86.09%
Republican Daniel Essek 27,170 13.91%
Total votes 195,297 100.00%
Democratic primary results[60]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Bruce Lunsford 316,992 51.15%
Democratic Greg Fischer 209,827 33.85%
Democratic David L. Williams 34,363 5.54%
Democratic Michael Cassaro 17,340 2.80%
Democratic Kenneth Stepp 13,451 2.17%
Democratic David Wylie 7,528 1.21%
Democratic James E. Rice 2,365 3.28%
Total votes 619,904 100.00%
General election results[61]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Mitch McConnell 953,816 52.97% -11.7%
Democratic Bruce Lunsford 847,005 47.03% +11.7%
Turnout 1,800,821 62.00% +19.2%
Republican hold Swing
Election results by county. Red indicates McConnell led in a county, while blue indicates that Lunsford received more votes. Counties are shaded to indicate the margin of victory.

Democrats made Senate Minority Leader, four-term Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky a target due to his leadership of Senate Republicans and his ties to President Bush, as well as his mediocre approval rating in the state, which is below 50%.[62]

Businessman and U.S. Army veteran Bruce Lunsford, who lost the 2007 Democratic gubernatorial primary to current Governor Steve Beshear, was the Democratic nominee.

Once thought to be secure in his re-election, McConnell's lead had shrunk dramatically thanks to the financial crisis and polling showed the race tightening between him and Lunsford.[63] Nevertheless, McConnell was re-elected by a margin of 53% to 47%.

Louisiana[edit]

United States Senate election in Louisiana, 2008
Louisiana
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  Mary Landrieu Senate portrait.jpg John Neely Kennedy official portrait.jpg
Nominee Mary Landrieu John Neely Kennedy
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 988,298 867,177
Percentage 52.1% 45.7%

Louisiana Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
Parish results

U.S. Senator before election

Mary Landrieu
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Mary Landrieu
Democratic

General election results
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Mary Landrieu (Incumbent) 988,298 52.11% +0.41%
Republican John Neely Kennedy 867,177 45.72% -2.58%
Libertarian Richard Fontanesi 18,590 0.98% n/a
Independent Jay Patel 13,729 0.72% n/a
Independent Robert Stewart 8,780 0.46% n/a
Majority 121,121 6.39% +2.99
Turnout 1,896,574 100.0%
Democratic hold Swing

Incumbent Mary Landrieu was elected in 1996 following a recount and was narrowly re-elected in 2002 in a runoff election. Since those elections, Democrats have had to endure the loss of some reliable voters because Hurricane Katrina dispersed many African-Americans from New Orleans, although the vast majority still live within Louisiana. The state has become more Republican over the past 12 years. Louisiana elected David Vitter in 2004, the state's first Republican senator since Reconstruction. And Louisianans elected Republican Bobby Jindal as the first Indian-American Governor in the country's history in 2007. Louisiana's electoral votes easily went to George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.

On August 27, 2007, state Treasurer John Neely Kennedy announced he was switching parties from Democrat to Republican. On November 29, after being personally recruited by Vitter and former Bush administration official Karl Rove, Kennedy announced plans to challenge Landrieu in 2008.[64][65]

In the end, Landrieu was re-elected with 52% of the vote, Kennedy having 46%.

Maine[edit]

United States Senate election in Maine, 2008
Maine
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  2008 Susan Collins 2 by 3 crop.jpg Tom Allen crop.jpg
Nominee Susan Collins Tom Allen
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 444,300 279,510
Percentage 61.3% 38.6%

Maine Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Susan Collins
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Susan Collins
Republican

2008 Maine U.S. Senate Democratic primary election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Tom Allen 69,932 85.6%
Democratic Tom Ledue 11,795 14.4%
Turnout 81,727
General election results
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Susan Collins 444,300 61.33% +2.9%
Democratic Tom Allen 279,510 38.58% -3.0%
write-ins 620 0.09% n/a
Majority 164,790
Turnout 724,430
Republican hold Swing

In Maine, Susan Collins sought a third term in the Senate. She has maintained a high approval rating, and also in her favor is the landslide re-election of Maine's senior Senator, Olympia Snowe, who had the largest margin of victory of any GOP Senate candidate - besides the largely unopposed Richard Lugar (R-IN) - in the 2006 election cycle. Collins was re-elected with 58% of the vote in 2002 over State Sen. Chellie Pingree. Fellow Senator Joe Lieberman, citing his status as an independent, endorsed Collins in her 2008 re-election bid.

On May 8, 2007, Rep. Tom Allen (ME-1) announced his candidacy on his website. He had already expressed interest in running and had been building the apparatus necessary to wage a Senate campaign.[66]

Collins won on election day with 61% of the vote, compared to 39% for Allen.

Massachusetts[edit]

United States Senate election in Massachusetts, 2008
Massachusetts
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2013 (special) →
  John Kerry headshot with US flag.jpg Jeffbeatty.jpg
Nominee John Kerry Jeff Beatty
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 1,959,843 922,727
Percentage 65.8% 31.0%

Massachusetts Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

John Kerry
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

John Kerry
Democratic

2008 United States Senate Democratic primary in Massachusetts
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic John Kerry 335,923 68.92%
Democratic Edward O'Reilly 151,473 31.08%
Turnout 487,396

Massachusetts Senatorial Election Results by County, 2014.svg

Results by city and town
General election results
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic John Kerry (Incumbent) 1,959,843 65.82% -14.2%
Republican Jeff Beatty 922,727 30.99% +30.99%
Libertarian Robert J. Underwood 94,727 3.18% -15.1%
Majority 1,037,116
Turnout 2,977,631
Democratic hold Swing

Incumbent John Kerry sought another Senate term in Massachusetts.[67] Republican author and conservative activist Jerome Corsi, known for his public criticism of Kerry, had stated that he would run for the seat in 2008 but later changed his mind. Jim Ogonowski, a retired Air Force pilot who was closely defeated by now-Representative Niki Tsongas in a 2007 special election, was running against Kerry.[68] but failed to obtain the required candidacy signatures. The Republican challenger turned out to be Jeff Beatty, an ex-Army Delta Force officer who garnered 30% of the vote in a challenge to Democratic Congressman Bill Delahunt in 2006. Kerry was challenged by defense attorney Edward O'Reilly for the Democratic nomination, winning 69% of the vote to O'Reilly's 31%.

As expected[by whom?], Kerry won with 66% of the vote to Beatty's 31%. Libertarian Robert J. Underwood had 3%.

Michigan[edit]

United States Senate election in Michigan, 2008
Michigan
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  Carl Levin official portrait.jpg Jackhoogendyk.jpg
Nominee Carl Levin Jack Hoogendyk
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 3,038,386 1,641,070
Percentage 62.7% 33.8%

Michigan Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Carl Levin
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Carl Levin
Democratic

General election results[69]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Carl Levin (Incumbent) 3,038,386 62.7% +2.1%
Republican Jack Hoogendyk 1,641,070 33.8% -4.1%
Libertarian Scotty Boman 76,347 1.6% n/a
Green Harley Mikkelson 43,440 0.9% +0.1%
U.S. Taxpayers Michael Nikitin 30,827 0.6% n/a
Natural Law Doug Dern 18,550 0.4% +0.1%
Majority 1,397,316
Turnout 4,848,620
Democratic hold Swing

With the Democratic Party takeover of Capitol Hill in the 2006 midterm elections, Senator Carl Levin has become one of the most powerful people in Washington as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He was expected[by whom?] to easily win re-election.

Challenging Levin were Republican State Representative Jack Hoogendyk, Green candidate Harley G. Mikkelson, US Taxpayers' candidate Mike Nikitin, Libertarian professor Scotty Boman, and Natural Law's candidate Doug Dern.[70]

As expected[by whom?], Levin won re-election with 63% of the vote, to Hoogendyk's 34%.

Minnesota[edit]

Minnesota results by county
Red: Republican, Blue: Democratic
United States Senate election in Minnesota, 2008
Minnesota
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  Al Franken Official Senate Portrait.jpg NormColemanCrop2.jpg Dean Barkley.jpg
Nominee Al Franken Norm Coleman Dean Barkley
Party DFL Republican Independence
Popular vote 1,212,629 1,212,317 437,505
Percentage 41.99% 41.98% 15.15%

2008MinnesotaSenateElection.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Norm Coleman
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Al Franken
DFL

2008 Minnesota U.S. Senate Primary Election (Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party)[71]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
DFL Al Franken 164,136 65.34%
DFL Priscilla Lord Faris 74,655 29.72%
DFL Dick Franson 3,923 1.56%
DFL Bob Larson 3,152 1.25%
DFL Rob Fitzgerald 3,095 1.23%
DFL Ole Savior 1,227 0.49%
DFL Alve Erickson 1,017 0.40%
Turnout 251,205
2008 Minnesota U.S. Senate Primary Election (Independence Party)[71]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Independence Dean Barkley 6,678 58.88%
Independence Jack Uldrich 1,405 12.39%
Independence Stephen Williams 800 7.05%
Independence Kurt Michael Anderson 761 6.71%
Independence Doug Williams 639 5.63%
Independence Darryl Stanton 618 5.45%
Independence Bill Dahn 440 3.88%
Turnout 11,341
2008 Minnesota U.S. Senate Primary Election (Republican Party)[71]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Norm Coleman (Incumbent) 130,973 91.32%
Republican Jack Shepard 12,456 8.68%
Turnout 143,429

2007 year-end reports filed with the Federal Election Commission showed that Al Franken had raised $7.04 million through December 31, 2007 while Norm Coleman had raised $6.24 million. Year-end cash on hand was $6.04 million for Coleman and $3.10 million for Franken.[72]

Opinion polls show Franken narrowing Coleman's lead after the primaries.

2008 Minnesota U.S. Senate Election: Results certified November 18[73][74][75]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Norm Coleman (Incumbent) 1,211,590 41.988% −7.541%
DFL Al Franken 1,211,375 41.981% −5.355%
Independence Dean Barkley 437,404 15.19% +13.16%
Libertarian Charles Aldrich 13,916 0.48% n/a
Constitution James Niemackl 8,905 0.31% +0.21%
Write-ins 2,365 0.08%
Plurality 215 0.007%
Turnout 2,885,555

Note: The ±% column reflects the change in total number of votes won by each party from the previous election. Additionally, votes cast for Paul Wellstone in the 2002 election are not factored into the DFL's total from that year.

Recounting ballots by hand in Olmsted County.
Hennepin County ballot paper.
2008 Minnesota U.S. Senate Election: Results certified January 5, 2009[76][77][78]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
DFL Al Franken 1,212,431 41.991% −5.35%
Republican Norm Coleman (Incumbent) 1,212,206 41.984% −7.55%
Independence Dean Barkley 437,505 15.15% +13.15%
Libertarian Charles Aldrich 13,923 0.48% n/a
Constitution James Niemackl 8,907 0.31% +0.21%
Write-ins 2,365 0.08%
Plurality 225 0.007%
Turnout 2,887,337 †
2008 Minnesota U.S. Senate Election: Certified Results after election contest[79][76][77][78]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
DFL Al Franken 1,212,629 41.994% −5.35%
Republican Norm Coleman (Incumbent) 1,212,317 41.983% −7.55%
Independence Dean Barkley 437,505 15.151% +13.15%
Libertarian Charles Aldrich 13,923 0.48% n/a
Constitution James Niemackl 8,907 0.31% +0.21%
Write-ins 2,365 0.08%
Plurality 312 0.011%
Turnout 2,887,646
DFL gain from Republican Swing

The 2008 U.S. Senate election in Minnesota featured first-term Republican incumbent Senator Norm Coleman, Democrat Al Franken, a comedian and radio personality, and former U.S. Senator Dean Barkley, a member of the Independence Party of Minnesota.

A December 2007 poll showed Coleman's approval rating among Minnesota voters at 53%.[80] The seat was heavily targeted by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee because of Minnesota's Democratic leanings and recent Democratic gains in national and statewide elections. These factors, coupled with a national political climate favorable to Democrats, made the Minnesota Senate race one of the most competitive and closely watched of the cycle.

Franken announced his candidacy on February 14, 2007, more than 20 months before the election.[81] Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, a professor at the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, Minnesota), joined the race in October 2007.[82] Attorney Mike Ciresi, an unsuccessful candidate in the 2000 Democratic U.S. Senate primary, was considered a serious candidate, but withdrew from the race on March 10, 2008, clearing the path for Franken to secure the party's nomination.

Barkley ran under the banner of the Independence Party, the largest third party in Minnesota.[83][84] He was included in most of the debates and ultimately received 15% of the vote in the general election, a strong showing for an independent candidate. It is not clear whether Barkley detracted more votes from Coleman or Franken.

Polls over the course of the campaign indicated that the race was very competitive, with many polls showing Franken and Coleman virtually tied or within the margin of error, as well as several polls showing each candidate with a significant lead at one point or another. The presence of a serious third party candidate further complicated matters.

On November 4, 2008, Coleman received 1,211,590 votes to Franken's 1,211,375 votes, a margin of 215 votes, far less than 0.1%, thereby triggering an automatic recount. Barkley received 437,404 votes, about 15% of total votes cast.[85]

On January 3, 2009, with the recount apparently completed, Franken had an unofficial lead of 225 votes, but former Senator Coleman's attorneys contested the official results in the courts.[86] In the meantime, Minnesota was represented by only one senator, Amy Klobuchar.

On April 13, 2009, a three-judge panel ruled that Al Franken received the most votes in Minnesota's 2008 Senate race and ruled against Coleman's claims on all counts.[87] Coleman appealed this decision.[88] On June 30, 2009, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Al Franken received the most votes, and Norm Coleman conceded defeat after the ruling, allowing Al Franken to be Senator-elect of Minnesota.[citation needed] Franken was sworn in as Minnesota's junior Senator on July 7.

Mississippi[edit]

United States Senate election in Mississippi, 2008
Mississippi
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  CochranThad(R-MS).jpg Erik Fleming cropped.jpg
Nominee Thad Cochran Erik Fleming
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 766,111 480,915
Percentage 61.4% 38.6%

Mississippi Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Thad Cochran
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Thad Cochran
Republican

Incumbent Senator Thad Cochran announced that he would seek re-election for a sixth term.[89] Cochran, who has not faced serious opposition since he was re-elected in 1984, faced Democratic state Representative Erik R. Fleming, whom he defeated with 62% of the vote.

General election results[90]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Thad Cochran 766,111 61.44% -23.2
Democratic Erik Fleming 480,915 38.56% n/a
Majority 285,196
Turnout 1,247,026
Republican hold Swing

Mississippi (special)[edit]

United States Senate special election in Mississippi, 2008
Mississippi
← 2006 November 4, 2008 2012 →
  SenatorRogerWicker(R-MS).jpg David Ronald Musgrove.jpg
Nominee Roger Wicker Ronnie Musgrove
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 683,409 560,064
Percentage 55.0% 45.0%

Mississippi Special Special Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Roger Wicker
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Roger Wicker
Republican

Roger Wicker, formerly the representative of Mississippi's 1st congressional district, was appointed by Governor Haley Barbour on December 31, 2007, to fill the vacancy caused by the December 18 resignation of Trent Lott.[91][92] It had been speculated that Lott wished to resign before a new lobbying reform law, effective the first day of 2008, took effect; having resigned before the end of 2007, Lott may become a lobbyist in 2009 instead of 2010.[92] Controversy arose when Barbour called for the special election to be held on the same day as the general election. As a result, Mississippi's Attorney General Jim Hood challenged Barbour in court, claiming that the special election needed to be held within 100 days of Lott's resignation, as per state law.[93] Initially, a Mississippi Circuit Court judge sided with Hood, ruling that the election take place on or before March 19, 2008.[94] However, Barbour filed an appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court, which overturned the earlier ruling and set the special election for November 4, 2008.[95][96]

Democratic former Governor Ronnie Musgrove challenged Wicker. Another Democrat, former Congressman Ronnie Shows, also filed to run, but he withdrew in February 2008 and endorsed Musgrove.[97][98] Wicker beat Musgrove 55% to 45%.

2008 Mississippi U.S. Senator special election[99]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Roger Wicker 683,409 54.96% -8.6
Democratic Ronnie Musgrove 560,064 45.04% +9.9
Majority 123,345
Turnout 1,243,473
Republican hold Swing

Montana[edit]

United States Senate election in Montana, 2008
Montana
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  Max S Baucus.jpg No image.png
Nominee Max Baucus Robert Kelleher
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 345,937 128,762
Percentage 72.9% 27.1%

Montana Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Max Baucus
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Max Baucus
Democratic

Senator Max Baucus is a popular Democrat in Montana, representing a state that has long been fairly Republican but also is receptive to Democrats in state and local elections. President Bush won Montana by more than 20 points in both 2000 and 2004, but Montana also has a popular Democratic governor, Brian Schweitzer, and a newly elected Democratic junior senator, Jon Tester. Baucus was not expected to face a significant challenge from the 85-year-old Republican nominee, Bob Kelleher, who surprised observers by winning the June 3 Republican primary despite supporting a number of positions that put him to the political left of Baucus, such as nationalization of the American oil and gas industry.[100]

Baucus easily won re-election, taking 73% of the vote, with Kelleher taking 27%.

Democratic Party primary results[101]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Max Baucus (Incumbent) 165,050 100.00%
Total votes 165,050 100.00%
Republican Party primary results[101]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Bob Kelleher 26,936 36.32%
Republican Michael Lange 17,044 22.98%
Republican Kirk Bushman 15,507 20.91%
Republican Patty Lovaas 7,632 10.29%
Republican Anton Pearson 4,257 5.74%
Republican Shay Joshua Garnett 2,788 3.76%
Total votes 74,164 100.00%
General election results[102]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Max Baucus 348,289 72.92% +10.18%
Republican Bob Kelleher 129,369 27.08% -4.65%
Majority 218,920 45.84% +14.84%
Turnout 477,658
Democratic hold Swing

Nebraska[edit]

United States Senate election in Nebraska, 2008
Nebraska
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  Mike Johanns official Senate photo.jpg Scott Kleeb portrait.JPG
Nominee Mike Johanns Scott Kleeb
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 455,854 317,456
Percentage 57.5% 40.1%

Nebraska Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Chuck Hagel
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Mike Johanns
Republican

In Nebraska, incumbent Republican Senator Chuck Hagel chose to retire rather than run for a third term.

Former Governor Mike Johanns, who recently resigned as Agriculture Secretary, was the Republican nominee, having defeated opponent Pat Flynn 87-13 in the primary. Scott Kleeb, 2006 candidate for Nebraska's 3rd congressional district, defeated businessman Tony Raimondo, a former Republican, by a wide margin in the Democratic primary.

Nebraska state Green Party Co-Chairman Steve Larrick was also a candidate,[103] as was Kelly Rosberg of the Nebraska Party.

Johanns won, taking 58% of the vote, with Kleeb taking 40%

Republican primary results[104]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Mike Johanns 112,191 78.61%
Republican Pat Flynn 31,560 21.12%
Total votes 143,751 100.00%
Democratic primary results[104]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Scott Kleeb 65,582 68.37%
Democratic Tony Raimondo 24,141 25.17%
Democratic James Bryan Wilson 3,224 3.36%
Democratic Larry Marvin 2,672 2.80%
Total votes 95,919 100.00%
Green Party primary results[104]
Party Candidate Votes %
Green Steve Larrick 123 100.00%
Total votes 123 100.00%
Nebraska Party primary results[104]
Party Candidate Votes %
Nebraska Barry Richards 209 100.00%
Total votes 209 100.00%
2008 Nebraska U.S. Senate general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Mike Johanns 455,854 57.5% -25.2%
Democratic Scott Kleeb 317,456 40.1% +25.5%
Nebraska Kelly Renee Rosberg 11,438 1.4% n/a
Green Steve Larrick 7,763 1.0% n/a
Majority 138,398
Turnout 792,511
Republican hold Swing

New Hampshire[edit]

United States Senate election in New Hampshire, 2008
New Hampshire
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  Jeanne Shaheen, official Senate portrait cropped.jpg John E. Sununu.jpg
Nominee Jeanne Shaheen John E. Sununu
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 358,438 314,403
Percentage 51.6% 45.3%

New Hampshire Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

John E. Sununu
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Jeanne Shaheen
Democratic

Senator John Sununu represented the swing state of New Hampshire. The state traditionally leaned Republican, but John Kerry from neighboring Massachusetts narrowly won the state in the 2004 Presidential election. New Hampshire also saw major Democratic gains in the 2006 elections, when Democrats took both of the previously Republican-held House seats, the gubernatorial race with a record vote share of 74%, and majorities in the State House and Senate, giving them concurrent control of both bodies for the first time since 1874. However, New Hampshire had not elected a Democratic United States Senator since 1975.

Sununu's 2002 opponent, former Governor Jeanne Shaheen, decided to run and was generally considered to be a very formidable challenger.[105] Three consecutive monthly Rasmussen Reports poll showed Shaheen defeating Sununu by 49% to 41%.[106] Prior to Shaheen's entry, Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand,[107] Katrina Swett, wife of former Democratic congressman Richard Swett,[108] and former astronaut Jay Buckey[109] had announced that they were running for the Democratic nomination. After Shaheen's entry, however, all three withdrew and endorsed the former governor.

On election day, Shaheen defeated Sununu, 52% to 45%.

Shaheen, the Democratic choice, at a rally in the lead-up to the election.
2008 New Hampshire U.S. Senator Democratic primary election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Jeanne Shaheen 43,968 88.5%
Democratic Raymond Stebbins 5,281 10.6%
write-ins 407 0.8%
Turnout 49,656
2008 New Hampshire U.S. Senator Republican primary election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican John Sununu 60,852 88.7%
Republican Tom Alciere 7,084 10.3%
write-ins 685 1.0%
Turnout 68,621
Results by municipality.
2008 New Hampshire U.S. Senator general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Jeanne Shaheen 358,438 51.6% +5.2%
Republican John Sununu (Incumbent) 314,403 45.3% -5.5%
Libertarian Ken Blevens 21,516 3.1% +0.9%
Majority 44,035
Turnout 694,357
Democratic gain from Republican Swing

New Jersey[edit]

United States Senate election in New Jersey, 2008
New Jersey
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2013 →
  Frank Lautenberg, official portrait, 112th portrait crop.jpg Richard Alan Zimmer portrait.gif
Nominee Frank Lautenberg Dick Zimmer
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 1,951,218 1,461,025
Percentage 56.0% 42.0%

New Jersey Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Frank Lautenberg
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Frank Lautenberg
Democratic

Senator Frank Lautenberg sought re-election in 2008, though he was 84. In the Primary, Lautenberg soundly defeated Representative Rob Andrews (NJ-1) by a margin of 62% to 32%. In November 2006, the senator had the lowest approval rating of any Democrat running for re-election in 2008 (with 39% approving and 45% disapproving),[110] with his approval standing only at 42% as of September 2007 with voters saying he does not deserve re-election 46%-36%.[111] The Republican nominee was former Congressman and 1996 senatorial candidate Dick Zimmer.

Sara Lobman of the Socialist Workers Party and Independent Anthony Fisher were also declared candidates.[112][113] Furthermore, in the wake of the financial crisis, Carl Peter Klapper entered the race as a write-in candidate.[114]

Lautenberg won re-election, winning 56%-42%.

2008 New Jersey U.S. Senate Democratic primary election[115]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Frank Lautenberg 203,012 58.9%
Democratic Rob Andrews 121,777 35.3%
Democratic Donald Cresitello 19,743 5.7%
Turnout 344,532
2008 New Jersey U.S. Senate Republican primary election[115]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Dick Zimmer 84,663 45.8%
Republican Joseph Pennacchio 74,546 40.3%
Republican Murray Sabrin 25,576 13.8%
Turnout 184,785
2008 New Jersey U.S. Senate general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Frank Lautenberg 1,951,218 56.0% +2.1%
Republican Dick Zimmer 1,461,025 42.0% -2.0%
Independent Daryl Mikell Brooks 20,920 1.0% n/a
Libertarian Jason Scheurer 18,810 0.5% n/a
Independent J.M. Carter 15,935 0.5% n/a
Independent Jeff Boss 10,345 0.3% n/a
Socialist Workers Sara Lobman 9,187 0.3% n/a
Majority 490,193
Turnout 3,482,445
Democratic hold Swing

New Mexico[edit]

United States Senate election in New Mexico, 2008
New Mexico
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  Tom Udall official Senate portrait.jpg Steve Pearce, Official Portrait, 112th Congress.jpg
Nominee Tom Udall Steve Pearce
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 505,128 318,522
Percentage 61.3% 38.7%

New Mexico Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Pete Domenici
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Tom Udall
Democratic

While Senator Pete Domenici had declared that he would seek re-election in New Mexico, he changed his mind and announced on October 4, 2007 that he was retiring at the end of his current term due to a degenerative brain disorder.[116] Domenici normally would have been expected to win re-election easily, having won his current term with the support of two out of three New Mexico voters; however, he is to be investigated by the Senate Ethics Committee for his role in firing U.S. Attorney David Iglesias. Domenici's role in the developing scandal had reduced the probability he would have been re-elected, and a SurveyUSA poll showed his approval ratings at 41%, with 54% disapproving.[117] The potential scandal may have also contributed to his decision to leave the Senate.

Tom Udall, the popular Representative from New Mexico's 3rd District, was the Democratic nominee. The Republican nominee was Rep. Steve Pearce, who represented the more conservative southern part of the state.

When asked whether the Republicans were abandoning their hopes of holding onto Domenici's seat, Senator John Ensign, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, responded that "You don’t waste money on races that don’t need it or you can’t win."[118]

Udall won the election with 61% of the vote, with Pearce taking 39%.

Democratic Party primary results[119]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Tom Udall 141,629 100.00%
Total votes 141,629 100.00%
Republican primary results[119]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Steve Pearce 57,953 51.29%
Republican Heather Wilson 55,039 48.71%
Total votes 112,992 100.00%
General election results[120]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Tom Udall 505,128 61.33% +26.37%
Republican Steve Pearce 318,522 38.67% -26.37%
Majority 186,606 22.66% -7.43%
Turnout 823,650
Democratic gain from Republican Swing

North Carolina[edit]

United States Senate election in North Carolina, 2008
North Carolina
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  Kay Hagan official photo.jpg Elizabeth Dole official photo.jpg
Nominee Kay Hagan Elizabeth Dole
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 2,249,311 1,887,510
Percentage 52.7% 44.2%

North Carolina Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Elizabeth Dole
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Kay Hagan
Democratic

In North Carolina, there had been rumors that Senator Elizabeth Dole would retire from the Senate and run for governor, but she said in 2006 that she intended to run for re-election.[121] There was early speculation that North Carolina Governor Mike Easley might be pressured into running against her but this did not come to pass.[122] The Democratic nominee was state Senator Kay Hagan,[123] who defeated Jim Neal and Dustin Lassiter in the Democratic primary. A Rasmussen poll released May 11, 2008 showed Hagan leading Dole by a statistically insignificant margin, 48% - 47%,[124] suggesting a competitive race. Hagan's poll numbers continued to best Dole's, however, and Hagan defeated Dole by a wider than expected[125] margin of 53% to 44%.

2008 North Carolina U.S. Senator Democratic primary election[126]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Kay Hagan 801,920 60.1%
Democratic Jim Neal 239,623 18.0%
Democratic Marcus W. Williams 170,970 12.8%
Democratic Duskin Lassiter 62,136 4.6%
Democratic Howard Staley 60,403 4.5%
Turnout 1,335,052
2008 North Carolina U.S. Senator Republican primary election[126]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Elizabeth Dole (Incumbent) 460,665 90.0%
Republican Pete DiLauro 51,406 10.0%
Turnout 512,071
Dole's attack ad, "Godless".
2008 North Carolina U.S. Senator general election[127]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Kay Hagan 2,249,311 52.65% +7.7%
Republican Elizabeth Dole (Incumbent) 1,887,510 44.18% -9.4%
Libertarian Chris Cole 133,430 3.17% +2.1%
Other Write-Ins 1,719 0.0% 0.0%
Majority 361,801
Turnout 4,271,970
Democratic gain from Republican Swing

Oklahoma[edit]

United States Senate election in Oklahoma, 2008
Oklahoma
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  Jim Inhofe, 2007 official photo.jpg ARiceWaving.jpg
Nominee Jim Inhofe Andrew Rice
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 763,375 527,736
Percentage 56.7% 39.2%

Oklahoma Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Jim Inhofe
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Jim Inhofe
Republican

In Oklahoma, Senator Jim Inhofe announced that he would seek a third full term. A September 2007 poll put Inhofe's approval rating at 47%, with 41% disapproving of his performance.[128] Inhofe's opponent was State Senator Andrew Rice. Inhofe was re-elected, 57% to 39%.

Democratic primary results[129]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Andrew Rice 113,795 59.65%
Democratic Jim Rogers 76,981 40.35%
Total votes 190,776 100.00%
Republican primary results[129]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jim Inhofe (Incumbent) 116,371 84.18%
Republican Evelyn R. Rogers 10,770 7.79%
Republican Ted Ryals 7,306 5.28%
Republican Dennis Lopez 3,800 2.75%
Total votes 138,247 100.00%
United States Senate election in Oklahoma, 2008[130]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Jim Inhofe (Incumbent) 763,375 56.68% -0.62%
Democratic Andrew Rice 527,736 39.18% +2.87%
Independent Stephen Wallace 55,708 4.14%
Majority 235,639 17.50% -3.50%
Turnout 1,346,819
Republican hold Swing

Oregon[edit]

United States Senate election in Oregon, 2008
Oregon
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  Jeff Merkley.jpg Gordon Smith official portrait.jpg
Nominee Jeff Merkley Gordon Smith
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 864,392 805,159
Percentage 48.9% 45.6%

  No image.png
Nominee David Brownlow
Party Constitution
Popular vote 92,565
Percentage 5.2%

Oregon Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Gordon H. Smith
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Jeff Merkley
Democratic

Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon ran for a third term. He defeated ophthalmologist Gordon Leitch[131] in the May 20 Republican primary. Smith faced Democratic Oregon House of Representatives Speaker Jeff Merkley in the November general election. Merkley beat longtime Democratic activist Steve Novick and three other candidates in a hotly contested primary.[132]

In a July 16, 2008 poll, Merkley overtook Smith for the first time 43% to 41%.[133]

On November 6, 2008, Jeff Merkley was projected the winner of the contest, with 48.9% to Smith's 45.6%. Gordon Smith formally conceded soon afterward.[134]

Democratic primary results[135]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Jeff Merkley 246,482 44.82%
Democratic Steve Novick 230,889 41.98%
Democratic Candy Neville 38,367 6.98%
Democratic Roger S. Obrist 12,647 2.30%
Democratic Pavel Goberman 12,056 2.19%
Democratic David Loera 6,127 1.11%
Democratic Write-ins 3,398 0.62%
Total votes 549,966 100.00%
Republican primary results[135]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Gordon Smith (Incumbent) 296,330 85.41%
Republican Gordon Leitch 48,560 14.00%
Republican Write-ins 2,068 0.69%
Total votes 309,943 100.00%
United States Senate election in Oregon, 2008[17]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Jeff Merkley 864,392 48.90% +9.30%
Republican Gordon H. Smith (Incumbent) 805,159 45.55% -10.66%
Constitution David Brownlow 92,565 5.24% +3.52
Write-ins 5,388 0.30%
Majority 59,233 3.35% -13.25%
Turnout 1,767,504
Democratic gain from Republican Swing

Rhode Island[edit]

United States Senate election in Rhode Island, 2008
Rhode Island
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  Jack Reed 113th Congress.jpg
Nominee Jack Reed Robert Tingle
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 320,644 116,174
Percentage 73.4% 26.6%

United States Senate election in Rhode Island, 2008 results by municipality.svg

U.S. Senator before election

Jack Reed
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Jack Reed
Democratic

In Rhode Island, Democratic Senator Jack Reed had an approval rating of 66% in November 2006.[136] National Journal has declared that "Reed is probably the safest incumbent of the 2008 cycle". Reed's opponent was Robert Tingle, a pit manager at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, whom Reed defeated in his re-election campaign in 2002.[137]

Reed won the election as expected[by whom?], with 73% of the vote.

2008 Rhode Island U.S. Senator Democratic primary election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Jack Reed 48,038 86.8%
Democratic Christopher Young 7,277 13.2%
Turnout 55,315
2008 Rhode Island U.S. Senator general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Jack Reed 320,644 73.4% -5.0%
Republican Bob Tingle 116,174 26.6% +5.0%
Majority 204,470
Turnout 436,818
Democratic hold Swing

South Carolina[edit]

United States Senate election in South Carolina, 2008
South Carolina
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  Lindsey Graham, Official Portrait 2006.jpg No image.png
Nominee Lindsey Graham Bob Conley
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 1,076,150 790,216
Percentage 57.5% 42.3%

South Carolina Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Lindsey Graham
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Lindsey Graham
Republican

Senator Lindsey Graham, as a popular Republican incumbent in strongly conservative South Carolina, has been considered unlikely to be vulnerable to a Democratic challenge. Graham's support for a compromise immigration bill, however, drew an angry response from many South Carolina conservatives, who recruited Buddy Witherspoon, a former South Carolina Republican Party leader, to challenge Graham for the nomination. Graham easily bested Witherspoon in the June 10 primary.[138]

First-time candidate Bob Conley, an airline pilot, was the Democratic nominee.[139] Conley, whose victory in the Democratic primary over Michael Cone was a surprise, is a former Republican who supported Ron Paul this year and has campaigned as the more conservative candidate on some issues, notably illegal immigration and the bailout of Wall Street.

The South Carolina Working Families Party had also nominated Michael Cone. South Carolina's election law allows for electoral fusion. This was the first time the party had nominated a candidate for statewide office.[140] However, Cone was not listed on the ballot because as a loser of the Democratic primary, Cone was disqualified under the state's sore loser law.[141]

Graham easily won re-election with 58% of the vote to Conley's 42%.

2008 South Carolina U.S. Senate Democratic primary election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Bob Conley 74,125 50.3%
Democratic Michael Cone 73,127 49.7%
Turnout 147,252
2008 South Carolina U.S. Senate Republican primary election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Lindsey Graham 187,736 66.8%
Republican Buddy Witherspoon 93,125 33.2%
Turnout 280,861
General election results[142]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Lindsey Graham 1,076,534 57.52% +3.1%
Democratic Bob Conley 790,621 42.25% -1.9%
Write-ins 4,276 0.23% +0.1%
Majority 285,913
Turnout 1,871,431
Republican hold Swing

South Dakota[edit]

United States Senate election in South Dakota, 2008
South Dakota
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  Tim Johnson official portrait, 2009.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Tim Johnson Joel Dykstra
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 237,835 142,766
Percentage 62.5% 37.5%

South Dakota Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Tim Johnson
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Tim Johnson
Democratic

In South Dakota, Senator Tim Johnson's seat was considered a top GOP target in 2008, considering Johnson's narrow 524-vote victory in 2002 over then-Representative and current U.S. Senator John Thune, as well as his recent health problems. Johnson underwent surgery in December 2006 for a cerebral arteriovenous malformation and was discharged from the hospital on April 30, 2007. On October 19, 2007, Johnson formally announced that he is seeking re-election.[143] According to a November 2006 SurveyUSA poll, Johnson has an approval rating of 70%, with just 26% disapproving of his performance,[144] making him an early favorite despite the state's Republican leaning.

Republicans were unsuccessful in persuading Governor Mike Rounds and former Lieutenant Governor Steve Kirby to run. State Representative Joel Dykstra announced his candidacy on July 5, 2007. Other Republicans included Charles Lyonel Gonyo and Sam Kephart. Dykstra won the Republican primary on June 3.

Johnson was re-elected, with 62% to Dykstra's 38%.

Republican primary results[145]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Joel Dykstra 34,598 65.74%
Republican Sam Kephart 13,047 24.79%
Republican Charles Gonyo 4,983 9.47%
Total votes 52,628 100.00%
General election results[146]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Tim Johnson (Incumbent) 237,889 62.49% +12.87%
Republican Joel Dykstra 142,784 37.51% -11.96%
Majority 95,105 24.98% +24.83%
Turnout 380,673
Democratic hold Swing

Tennessee[edit]

United States Senate election in Tennessee, 2008
Tennessee
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  LamarAlexander (cropped).jpg No image.svg
Nominee Lamar Alexander Bob Tuke
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 1,571,637 762,779
Percentage 65.14% 32.64%

Tennessee Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Lamar Alexander
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Lamar Alexander
Republican

Former Governor and U.S. Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander was elected in 2002 to succeed retiring Senator Fred Thompson. He has announced he will seek a second term in 2008.[147] He was unopposed in the Republican primary.

Former Chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party Bob Tuke was the Democratic nominee, defeating Businessman Gary Davis 30% to 23%. Knox County Clerk Mike Padgett received 20% of the vote.

2006 Green Party Senate nominee Chris Lugo originally announced as a Democrat but dropped out of the Democratic race before the filing deadline. He filed as an independent and was subsequently named as the Green Party nominee[148] Edward Buck was also in the race.

Daniel Lewis is running as a Libertarian candidate for the United States Senate. He was certified March 3, 2008 by the Tennessee Division of Elections as having achieved ballot access for the November 4, 2008 election as a candidate for United States Senate. The Libertarian Party of Tennessee officially selected Daniel Lewis as their candidate for United States Senate on Saturday March 8, 2008 the at their annual convention held in Nashville, Tennessee. Mr. Lewis is currently serving as the chairman of the Libertarian Party of Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County. He ran for the Tennessee House in 2004.[149]

Also reported to be in the race are David "None of the Above" Gatchell a ballot activist & frequent candidate and Emory "Bo" Heyward, a software company employee, conservative activist & 2006 candidate.

Alexander won the election with 65% of the vote.

Democratic Party primary results[150]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Bob Tuke 59,050 32.21%
Democratic Gary G. Davis 39,119 21.34%
Democratic Mike Padgett 33,471 18.26%
Democratic Mark E. Clayton 32,309 17.62%
Democratic Kenneth Eaton 14,702 8.02%
Democratic Leonard D. Ladner 4,697 2.55%
Total votes 183,348 100.00%
Republican Party primary results[151]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Lamar Alexander (Incumbent) 244,222 100.00%
Total votes 244,222 100.00%
United States Senate election in Tennessee, 2008[152]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Lamar Alexander (Incumbent) 1,579,477 65.14% +10.87%
Democratic Bob Tuke 767,236 31.64% -12.69%
Independent Edward L. Buck 31,631 1.30%
Independent Christopher G. Fenner 11,073 0.46%
Independent Daniel Towers Lewis 9,367 0.39%
Independent Chris Lugo 9,170 0.38%
Independent Ed Lawhorn 8,986 0.37%
Independent David Gatchell 7,645 0.32%
Majority 812,241 33.50% +23.56%
Turnout 2,424,585
Republican hold Swing

Texas[edit]

United States Senate election in Texas, 2008
Texas
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  John Cornyn official portrait, 2009 crop.jpg NORIEGA.jpg
Nominee John Cornyn Rick Noriega
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 4,337,469 3,389,365
Percentage 54.8% 42.8%

Texas Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

John Cornyn
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

John Cornyn
Republican

Texas has not elected a Democrat in a statewide election since 1994, but according to pre-election Rasmussen polling, Senator John Cornyn had an approval rating of 50%.[153] Texas House of Representatives member and Afghanistan War veteran Rick Noriega secured his place as Cornyn's Democratic challenger in the March 4 primary, beating out opponents Gene Kelly, Ray McMurrey, and Rhett Smith. The same Rasmussen poll showed Cornyn leading Noriega by a narrow four percentage points - 47% to 43%.

Christian activist Larry Kilgore of Mansfield, Texas, was a Republican challenger for the March 2008 primary election, but Cornyn easily won the Republican primary.[154]

There were three Libertarians, including 2006 LP senate nominee Scott Jameson, running for their party's nomination.[155] In addition, the Green Party of Texas sought ballot access for its candidate David B. Collins.[156]

In the end, John Cornyn won re-election, 55%-43%

Democratic primary[157]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Rick Noriega 1,110,579 51.01%
Democratic Gene Kelly 584,966 26.87%
Democratic Ray McMurrey 269,402 12.37%
Democratic Rhett Smith 213,305 9.75%
Republican Primary[158]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican John Cornyn 997,216 81.48% +4.17%
Republican Larry Kilgore 226,649 18.52% +0.00%
2008 Texas U.S. Senate general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican John Cornyn 4,337,469 54.82% -0.48%
Democratic Rick Noriega 3,389,365 42.83% -0.50%
Libertarian Yvonne Adams Schick 185,241 2.34% +1.55%
Majority 948,104
Turnout 7,912,075 58.28%
Republican hold Swing

Virginia[edit]

United States Senate election in Virginia, 2008
Virginia
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
Turnout 67.0% (voting eligible)[159]
  Mark Warner, official 111th Congress photo portrait.jpg Jim Gilmore by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Nominee Mark Warner Jim Gilmore
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 2,369,327 1,228,830
Percentage 65.0% 33.7%

Virginia Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
U.S. Senate election results map. Blue denotes counties/districts won by Warner. Red denotes those won by Gilmore.

U.S. Senator before election

John Warner
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Mark Warner
Democratic

John Warner announced on August 31, 2007 that he would not seek re-election for another term.[160] Former Governor Jim Gilmore, who dropped out of the 2008 presidential election, was the Republican nominee for the seat.[161] Popular Democratic former Governor Mark Warner (no relation) was the Democratic nominee for the race.[162] Polling showed him as a strong favorite to win the seat.[163]

When asked whether the Republicans were abandoning their hopes of holding onto Warner's seat, Senator John Ensign, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, responded that "You don’t waste money on races that don’t need it or you can’t win."[118]

In one of the first senate races called on election day, Warner won, taking 65% of the vote, with Gilmore winning 34%. Since Democrat Jim Webb had defeated incumbent Republican George Allen for Virginia's other Senate seat in 2006, Virginia's senate delegation flipped from entirely Republican to entirely Democratic in just two years.

Former Gov. Mark Warner (D) campaigns at the Dixie Theatre in Staunton, Virginia
Republican Senator John Warner chose to retire after five terms.
Former Gov. Jim Gilmore (R)
United States Senate election in Virginia, 2008[164]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Mark Warner 2,369,327 65.03% +65.03%
Republican Jim Gilmore 1,228,830 33.72% -48.85%
Independent Greens Glenda Parker 21,690 0.60% +0.60%
Libertarian Bill Redpath 20,269 0.56% +0.56%
Write-ins 3,178 0.09% -0.47%
Majority 1,140,497 31.30% -41.53%
Turnout 3,643,294
Democratic gain from Republican Swing

West Virginia[edit]

United States Senate election in West Virginia, 2008
West Virginia
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  Jay Rockefeller official photo.jpg Jay Wolfe cropped.jpg
Nominee Jay Rockefeller Jay Wolfe
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 444,107 252,764
Percentage 63.7% 36.3%

West Virginia Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Jay Rockefeller
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Jay Rockefeller
Democratic

Senator Jay Rockefeller, great-grandson of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, sought a fifth term representing West Virginia. Even though West Virginia is a historically Democratic state, in which the party had a 50-32% edge in party affiliation over the Republicans in the 2004 elections, the state party is more conservative than the national party, giving its votes to President George W. Bush in that election and in 2000.[165] Democrats Sheirl Fletcher and Billy Hendricks challenged Rockefeller in the primary but were defeated. The Republican nominee was Jay Wolfe of Salem, a former State Senator.

As expected[by whom?], Rockefeller handily won on election day, being re-elected with 64% of the vote. Wolfe had 36%.

2008 West Virginia U.S. Senator Democratic primary election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Jay Rockefeller 271,370 77.1%
Democratic Sheirl Fletcher 51,073 14.5%
Democratic Billy Hendricks 29,707 8.4%
Turnout 352,150
2008 West Virginia U.S. Senator Republican primary election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Jay Wolfe N/A 100.00%
Turnout 100.00%
General election results[166]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Jay Rockefeller 447,560 63.7% +0.6%
Republican Jay Wolfe 254,629 36.3% -0.6%
Majority 192,931
Turnout 702,189
Democratic hold Swing

Wyoming[edit]

United States Senate election in Wyoming, 2008
Wyoming
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  Mike Enzi, official portrait, 111th Congress.jpg Rothfuss for Senate.jpg
Nominee Mike Enzi Chris Rothfuss
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 189,046 60,631
Percentage 75.6% 24.3%

Wyoming Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Mike Enzi
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Mike Enzi
Republican

Senator Mike Enzi was considered likely to be re-elected without significant opposition for a third term in strongly Republican Wyoming. His Democratic opponent was Chris Rothfuss, a professor at the University of Wyoming and a chemical engineer, nanotechnologist, and diplomat. Pre-election polling indicated that Enzi led Rothfuss by 24%.

As expected[by whom?], Enzi won another term, 76%-24%.

Democratic primary results[167]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Chris Rothfuss 14,221 62.38%
Democratic Al Hamburg 8,578 37.62%
Total votes 22,799 100.00%
Republican primary results[168]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Mike Enzi (Incumbent) 69,195 100.00%
Total votes 69,195 100.00%
General election results
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Mike Enzi 189,046 75.63% +2.68%
Democratic Chris Rothfuss 60,631 24.26% -2.79%
Write-ins 269 0.11%
Majority 128,415 51.38% +5.47%
Turnout 249,946
Republican hold Swing

Wyoming (special)[edit]

United States Senate special election in Wyoming, 2008
Wyoming
← 2006 November 4, 2008 2012 →
  Sen. John Barrasso Official Portrait 7.17.07.jpg No image.svg
Nominee John Barrasso Nick Carter
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 183,063 66,202
Percentage 73.4% 26.5%

Wyoming Special Special Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

John Barrasso
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

John Barrasso
Republican

John Barrasso was appointed by Governor Dave Freudenthal (D) on June 22, 2007 to fill the senate seat of Republican Craig L. Thomas, who died on June 4.[169] Wyoming law requires that the interim senator be affiliated with the same political party as the departed senator. Barrasso ran in the November 4, 2008 special election, held on the day of the 2008 presidential election, to serve out the remainder of Thomas's term, which expires in January 2013.[170]

On the Democratic side, Casper City Councilman Keith Goodenough announced his candidacy.[171] In the primary on August 19, Goodenough was defeated by a political newcomer, Gillette defense attorney Nick Carter, who became Barrasso's opponent in the general election.[172]

As expected[by whom?], Barrasso won on Election Day, taking 73% of the vote and winning every county in the state.

Democratic primary results[167]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Nick Carter 12,316 50.68
Democratic Keith Goodenough 11,984 49.32
Total votes 22,799 100.00
Republican primary results[168]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican John Barrasso (Incumbent) 68,194 100.00
Total votes 68,194 100.00
United States Senate special election in Wyoming, 2008[173]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican John Barrasso 183,063 73.35% +3.37%
Democratic Nick Carter 66,202 26.53% -3.33%
None Write-ins 293 0.12%
Majority 116,861 46.83% +6.70%
Turnout 249,558
Republican hold Swing

See also[edit]

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