1954 United States Senate elections

← 1952 November 2, 1954[a] 1956 →

38 of the 96 seats in the United States Senate
49 seats needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party
  Senator Lyndon Johnson.jpg William F. Knowland headshot.jpg
Leader Lyndon Johnson Bill Knowland
Party Democratic Republican
Leader since January 3, 1953 August 4, 1953
Leader's seat Texas California
Seats before 46 49
Seats won 48 47
Seat change Increase 2 Decrease 2
Popular vote 11,402,106 8,839,779
Percentage 55.5% 43.0%
Swing Increase 10.8% Decrease 8.9%
Seats up 20 12
Races won 23 10

  Third party
 
Party Independent
Seats before 1
Seats won 1
Seat change Steady
Seats up 0
Races won 0

Us 1954 senate election map.svg
Results including special elections
     Democratic gain      Republican gain
     Democratic hold      Republican hold

Majority Leader before election

Bill Knowland
Republican

Elected Majority Leader

Lyndon Johnson
Democratic

The 1954 United States Senate elections was a midterm election in the first term of Dwight D. Eisenhower's presidency. Eisenhower's Republican party lost a net of two seats to the Democratic opposition. This small change was just enough to give Democrats control of the chamber with the support of an Independent (Wayne Morse of Oregon) who caucused with them.

The elections resulted in a divided government that continued to the end of Eisenhower's presidency and a Democratic majority that would last until 1981.

Incumbents defeated

Democrats defeated incumbents John S. Cooper (R-KY), Homer Ferguson (R-MI), Ernest S. Brown (R-NV), and Guy Cordon (R-OR).

Republicans took the seats of incumbents Guy M. Gillette (D-IA) and Thomas A. Burke (D-OH).

Open seat gains

Democrats took an open seat in Wyoming.

Republicans took an open seat in Colorado.

Change in Senate composition

Before the elections

= Going into the November elections.

  D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 D7 D8
D18 D17 D16 D15 D14 D13 D12 D11 D10 D9
D19 D20 D21 D22 D23 D24 D25 D26 D27
Ran
D28
Ran
D38
Ran
D37
Ran
D36
Ran
D35
Ran
D34
Ran
D33
Ran
D32
Ran
D31
Ran
D30
Ran
D29
Ran
D39
Ran
D40
Ran
D41
Ran
D42
Ran
D43
Ran
D44
Ran
D45
Retired
D46
Retired
I1 R49
Retired
Majority →
R39
Ran
R40
Ran
R41
Ran
R42
Ran
R43
Ran
R44
Ran
R45
Ran
R46
Ran
R47
Retired
R48
Retired
R38
Ran
R37 R36 R35 R34 R33 R32 R31 R30 R29
R19 R20 R21 R22 R23 R24 R25 R26 R27 R28
R18 R17 R16 R15 R14 R13 R12 R11 R10 R9
R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8

Results of the general elections

=

  D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 D7 D8
D18 D17 D16 D15 D14 D13 D12 D11 D10 D9
D19 D20 D21 D22 D23 D24 D25 D26 D27
Re-elected
D28
Re-elected
D38
Re-elected
D37
Hold
D36
Re-elected
D35
Re-elected
D34
Re-elected
D33
Re-elected
D32
Re-elected
D31
Re-elected
D30
Re-elected
D29
Re-elected
D39
Re-elected
D40
Re-elected
D41
Re-elected
D42
Re-elected
D43
Re-elected
D44
Hold
D45
Gain
D46
Gain
D47
Gain
D48
Gain
Plurality ↑
R39
Re-elected
R40
Re-elected
R41
Re-elected
R42
Re-elected
R43
Re-elected
R44
Hold
R45
Hold
R46
Gain
R47
Gain
I1
R38
Re-elected
R37 R36 R35 R34 R33 R32 R31 R30 R29
R19 R20 R21 R22 R23 R24 R25 R26 R27 R28
R18 R17 R16 R15 R14 R13 R12 R11 R10 R9
R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8

Results of the special elections

=

  D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 D7 D8
D18 D17 D16 D15 D14 D13 D12 D11 D10 D9
D19 D20 D21 D22 D23 D24 D25 D26 D27 D28
D38 D37 D36 D35 D34 D33 D32 D31 D30 D29
D39 D40 D41 D42 D43 D44 D45
Appointee elected
D46
Hold, same as general
D47
Gain, same as general
D48
Gain
Plurality ↑
R39 R40 R41 R42 R43
Appointee elected
R44
Hold, same as general
R45
Hold
R46
Hold
R47
Gain
I1
R38 R37 R36 R35 R34 R33 R32 R31 R30 R29
R20 R22 R23 R24 R44 R45 R25 R26 R27 R28
R18 R17 R16 R15 R14 R13 R12 R11 R10 R9
R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8
Key:
D# Democratic
I# Independent
R# Republican

Race summaries

Special elections during the 83rd Congress

= In these special elections, the winners were seated during 1954 or before January 3, 1955; ordered by election date, then state, then class.

State Incumbent Results Candidates
Senator Party Electoral history
California
(Class 3)
Thomas Kuchel Republican 1953 (Appointed) Interim appointee elected November 2, 1954.
Nebraska
(Class 1)
Samuel W. Reynolds Republican 1954 (Appointed) Interim appointee retired.
New senator elected November 2, 1954.
Republican hold.
Nebraska
(Class 2)
Eva Bowring Republican 1954 (Appointed) Interim appointee retired.
New senator elected November 2, 1954.
Republican hold.
Winner was not elected to the next term, see below.
Nevada
(Class 3)
Ernest S. Brown Republican 1954 (Appointed) Interim appointee lost election.
New senator elected November 2, 1954.
Democratic gain.
New Hampshire
(Class 3)
Robert W. Upton Republican 1953 (Appointed) Interim appointee lost nomination.
New senator elected November 2, 1954.
Republican hold.
North Carolina
(Class 2)
Alton Asa Lennon Democratic 1953 (Appointed) Interim appointee lost nomination.
New senator elected November 2, 1954.
Democratic hold.
Winner also elected to next term, see below.
North Carolina
(Class 3)
Sam Ervin Democratic 1954 (Appointed) Interim appointee elected November 2, 1954.
Ohio
(Class 3)
Thomas A. Burke Democratic 1953 (Appointed) Interim appointee lost election.
New senator elected November 2, 1954.
Republican gain.
Wyoming
(Class 2)
Edward D. Crippa Republican 1954 (Appointed) Interim appointee retired.
New senator elected November 2, 1954.
Democratic gain.
Winner also elected to the next term, see below.

Races leading to the 83rd Congress

= In these general elections, the winner was seated on January 3, 1953; ordered by state.

All of the elections involved the Class 2 seats.

State Incumbent Results Candidates
Senator Party Electoral
history
Alabama John Sparkman Democratic 1946 (Special)
1948
Incumbent re-elected.
Arkansas John L. McClellan Democratic 1942
1948
Incumbent re-elected.
Colorado Edwin C. Johnson Democratic 1936
1942
1948
Incumbent retired.
New senator elected.
Republican gain.
Delaware J. Allen Frear Jr. Democratic 1948 Incumbent re-elected.
Georgia Richard Russell Jr. Democratic 1933 (Special)
1936
1942
1948
Incumbent re-elected.
Idaho Henry C. Dworshak Republican 1946 (Special)
1948 (Lost)
1949 (Appointed)
1950 (Special)
Incumbent re-elected.
Illinois Paul Douglas Democratic 1948 Incumbent re-elected.
Iowa Guy M. Gillette Democratic 1936 (Special)
1938
1944 (Lost)
1948
Incumbent lost re-election.
New senator elected.
Republican gain.
Kansas Andrew F. Schoeppel Republican 1948 Incumbent re-elected.
Kentucky John S. Cooper Republican 1946 (Special)
1948 (Lost)
1952 (Special)
Incumbent lost re-election.
New senator elected.
Democratic gain.
Louisiana Allen J. Ellender Democratic 1936
1942
1948
Incumbent re-elected.
Maine Margaret C. Smith Republican 1948 Incumbent re-elected.
Massachusetts Leverett Saltonstall Republican 1944 (Special)
1948
Incumbent re-elected.
Michigan Homer Ferguson Republican 1942
1948
Incumbent lost re-election.
New senator elected.
Democratic gain.
Minnesota Hubert Humphrey Democratic 1948 Incumbent re-elected.
Mississippi James O. Eastland Democratic 1942
1948
Incumbent re-elected.
Montana James E. Murray Democratic 1934 (Special)
1936
1942
1948
Incumbent re-elected.
Nebraska Eva Bowring Republican 1954 (Special) Interim appointee retired.
New senator elected.
Republican hold.
Winner was not elected to finish the term, see above.
New Hampshire Styles Bridges Republican 1936
1942
1948
Incumbent re-elected.
New Jersey Robert C. Hendrickson Republican 1948 Incumbent retired.
New senator elected.
Republican hold.
New Mexico Clinton P. Anderson Democratic 1948 Incumbent re-elected.
North Carolina Alton Asa Lennon Democratic 1953 (Appointed) Interim appointee lost nomination.
New senator elected.
Democratic hold.
Winner also elected to finish the term, see above.
Oklahoma Robert S. Kerr Democratic 1948 Incumbent re-elected.
Oregon Guy Cordon Republican 1944 (Appointed)
1944 (Special)
1948
Incumbent lost re-election.
New senator elected.
Democratic gain.
Rhode Island Theodore F. Green Democratic 1936
1942
1948
Incumbent re-elected.
South Carolina Charles E. Daniel Democratic 1954 Interim appointee retired.
New senator elected.
Democratic hold.
Incumbent then resigned December 23, 1954 to give successor preferential seniority.
Winner appointed December 24, 1954 to finish the term.
South Dakota Karl E. Mundt Republican 1948
1948 (Appointed)
Incumbent re-elected.
Tennessee Estes Kefauver Democratic 1948 Incumbent re-elected.
Texas Lyndon B. Johnson Democratic 1948 Incumbent re-elected.
Virginia A. Willis Robertson Democratic 1946 (Special)
1948
Incumbent re-elected.
West Virginia Matthew M. Neely Democratic 1922
1928 (Lost)
1930
1936
1941 (Resigned)
1948
Incumbent re-elected.
Wyoming Edward D. Crippa Republican 1954 (Appointed) Interim appointee retired.
New senator elected.
Democratic gain.
Winner also elected to finish the term, see above.

Alabama

Alabama election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic John Sparkman (Incumbent) 259,348 82.47%
Republican J. Foy Guin Jr. 55,110 17.53%
Majority 204,438 64.96%
Turnout 314,458
Democratic hold

Arkansas

Arkansas election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic John L. McLellan (Incumbent) 291,058 100.00%
Democratic hold

Colorado

Colorado election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Gordon Allott 248,502 51.32%
Democratic John A. Carroll 235,686 48.68%
Majority 12,816 2.64%
Turnout 484,188
Republican gain from Democratic

Delaware

Delaware election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic J. Allen Frear (Incumbent) 82,511 56.94%
Republican Herbert B. Warburton 62,389 43.06%
Majority 20,122 13.88%
Turnout 144,900
Democratic hold

Georgia

Georgia election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Richard B. Russell (Incumbent) 333,917 99.99%
None Scattering 19 0.01%
Majority 333,898 99.98%
Turnout 333,936
Democratic hold

Idaho

Idaho election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Henry Dworshak (Incumbent) 142,269 62.84%
Democratic Glen H. Taylor 84,139 37.16%
Majority 58,130 25.68%
Turnout 226,408
Republican hold

Illinois

Illinois election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Paul H. Douglas (Incumbent) 1,804,338 53.57%
Republican Joseph T. Meek 1,563,683 46.43%
Majority 240,655 7.14%
Turnout 3,368,021
Democratic hold

Iowa

Iowa election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Thomas E. Martin 442,409 52.21%
Democratic Guy Gillette (Incumbent) 402,712 47.53%
Republicsons Ernest Seeman 2,234 0.26%
Majority 39,697 4.68%
Turnout 847,355
Republican gain from Democratic

Kansas

Kansas election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Andrew Schoeppel (Incumbent) 348,144 56.33%
Democratic George McGill 258,575 41.84%
Prohibition David C. White 11,344 1.84%
Majority 89,569 14.49%
Turnout 618,063
Republican hold

Kentucky

Kentucky election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Alben Barkley 434,109 54.46%
Republican John Sherman Cooper (Incumbent) 362,948 45.54%
Majority 71,161 8.92%
Turnout 797,057
Democratic gain from Republican

Louisiana

Louisiana election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Allen J. Ellender (Incumbent) 207,115 100.00%
Democratic hold

Maine

Maine election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Margaret Chase Smith (Incumbent) 144,530 58.61%
Democratic Paul A. Fullam 102,075 41.39%
Majority 42,455 17.22%
Turnout 246,605
Republican hold

Massachusetts

1954 United States Senate election in Massachusetts

← 1948
1960 →
  LeverettSaltonstall.jpg Foster Furcolo, 60th Governor of Massachusetts.jpg
Nominee Leverett Saltonstall Foster Furcolo
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 956,605 927,899
Percentage 50.54% 49.03%

Senator before election

Leverett Saltonstall
Republican

Elected Senator

Leverett Saltonstall
Republican

In Massachusetts, Republican Incumbent Leverett Saltonstall defeated his challengers.

Democrat Foster Furcolo (Treasurer and Receiver-General of Massachusetts since 1952 and member of the United States House of Representatives from Massachusetts's 2nd congressional district from 1949-1952) beat John I. Fitzgerald (former member of the Boston City Council and Democratic candidate for Senate in 1948) and Joseph L. Murphy (former member of the Massachusetts Senate).

Republican incumbent Leverett Saltonstall (United States senator since 1945 and Governor of Massachusetts from 1939-1945) was renominated. Other nominees included Socialist Workers Thelma Ingersoll (ran for Senate in 1952.[3]) and Prohibition Harold J. Ireland (candidate for Treasurer and Receiver-General in 1948 and 1952).

Democratic primary [4]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Foster Furcolo 207,232 59.13%
Democratic Joseph L. Murphy 79,463 22.68%
Democratic John I. Fitzgerald 63,752 18.19%
General election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Leverett Saltonstall 956,605 50.54% -2.41%
Democratic Foster Furcolo 927,899 49.03% +2.60%
Socialist Labor Thelma Ingersoll 5,353 0.28% -0.17%
Prohibition Harold J. Ireland 2,832 0.15% -0.03%
None Scattering 21 0.00%
Majority 28,706 1.52%
Turnout 1,892,710
Republican hold Swing

Michigan

Michigan election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Patrick V. McNamara 1,088,550 50.75%
Republican Homer S. Ferguson (Incumbent) 1,049,420 48.93%
Prohibition Leroy M. Lowell 4,841 0.23%
Socialist Labor James Sim 1,126 0.05%
Socialist Workers Rita Shaw 902 0.04%
None Scattering 1 0.00%
Majority 39,130 1.82%
Turnout 2,144,840
Democratic gain from Republican

Minnesota

Minnesota election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic–Farmer–Labor Hubert Humphrey (Incumbent) 642,193 56.38%
Republican Val Bjornson 479,619 42.11%
Liberal Independent Francis Patrick Ryan 12,457 1.09%
Socialist Workers Vincent R. Dunne 4,683 0.41%
Majority 162,574 14.27%
Turnout 1,138,952
Democratic–Farmer–Labor hold

Mississippi

1954 United States Senate Election in Mississippi

← 1948
1960 →
  James O Eastland.jpg
Nominee James Eastland
Party Democratic
Popular vote 100,848
Percentage 95.6%

Mississippi Senate Election Results by County, 1954.svg
County results
Eastland:      80-90%      90-100%

U.S. senator before election

James Eastland
Democratic

Elected U.S. senator

James Eastland
Democratic

Mississippi election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic James Eastland (Incumbent) 100,848 95.57%
Republican James A. White 4,678 4.43%
Majority 96,070 91.14%
Turnout 105,526
Democratic hold

Montana

In Montana incumbent senator James E. Murray, who was first elected to the Senate in a special election in 1934 and was re-elected in 1936, 1942, and 1948, ran for re-election.

Murray won the Democratic primary against trivial opponents (farmer Ray E. Gulick and Sam G. Feezell).

Democratic Party primary results[5]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic James E. Murray (inc.) 65,896 86.94%
Democratic Ray E. Gulick 4,961 6.55%
Democratic Sam G. Feezell 4,941 6.52%
Total votes 75,798 100.00%

Republican Wesley A. D'Ewart United States Congressman from Montana's 2nd congressional district beat Robert Yellowtail, former Superintendent of the Crow Indian Reservation, for the GOP nomination.

Republican Primary results[5]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Wesley A. D'Ewart 49,964 82.36%
Republican Robert Yellowtail 10,705 17.64%
Total votes 60,669 100.00%

A contentious and close election ensued, but ultimately, Murray was able to narrowly win re-election over D'Ewart to a final term in the Senate.

Montana election[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic James E. Murray (inc.) 114,591 50.38% -6.27%
Republican Wesley A. D'Ewart 112,863 49.62% +6.88%
Majority 1,728 0.76% -13.15%
Turnout 227,454
Democratic hold Swing

Nebraska

Nebraska had three Senate elections on the ballot. Both Senators had died in the span of three months, leading to appointments and special elections.

  1. Dwight P. Griswold (R) died April 12, 1954, and Eva Bowring (R) was appointed April 16 to continue the term. In November, Hazel Abel (R) was elected to finish the term.
  2. Although elected to finish the term, Abel did not run for the next term, and Carl Curtis (R) was elected in November to the next term. On December 31, 1954 Abel resigned and Curtis was appointed January 1, 1955, two days ahead of his elected term.
  3. Hugh A. Butler (R) died July 1, 1954 and Samuel W. Reynolds (R) was appointed July 3, 1954 to continue the term. Reynolds was did not run to finish the term, and Roman Hruska (R) won the seat in November to finish the term ending in 1959.

Regular

=

Nebraska election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Carl T. Curtis 255,695 61.07%
Democratic Keith Neville 162,990 38.93%
None Scattering 6 0.00%
Majority 92,705 22.14%
Turnout 418,691
Republican hold

Special, Class 1

=

Nebraska class 1 special election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Roman Hruska 250,341 60.88%
Democratic James F. Green 160,881 39.12%
None Scattering 3 0.00%
Majority 89,460 21.76%
Turnout 411,225
Republican hold

Special, Class 2

=

Nebraska class 2 special election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Mrs. George P. Abel 233,589 57.76%
Democratic William H. Meier 170,828 42.24%
None Scattering 5 0.00%
Majority 62,761 15.52%
Turnout 404,422
Republican hold

Nevada (Special)

Nevada election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Alan Bible 45,043 58.11%
Republican Ernest S. Brown (Incumbent) 32,470 41.89%
Majority 12,573 16.22%
Turnout 77,513
Democratic gain from Republican

New Hampshire

New Hampshire election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Styles Bridges (Incumbent) 117,150 60.22%
Democratic Gerard L. Morin 77,386 39.78%
Majority 39,764 20.44%
Turnout 194,536
Republican hold

New Hampshire (Special)

New Hampshire election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Norris Cotton 114,068 60.18%
Republican Stanley J. Betley (Incumbent) 75,490 39.82%
Majority 20.36%
Turnout 189,558
Democratic gain from Republican

New Jersey

New Jersey election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Clifford Case (Incumbent) 861,528 48.66%
Democratic Charles R. Howell 858,158 48.47%
American Third Henry Krajewski 35,421 2.00%
Write-In Fred A. Hartley 7,025 0.40%
Socialist Labor Albert Ronis 4,832 0.27%
Socialist Workers George Breitman 3,590 0.20%
Majority 3,370 0.19%
Turnout 1,770,554
Republican hold

New Mexico

New Mexico election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Clinton P. Anderson (Incumbent) 111,351 57.10%
Republican Edwin L. Mechem 83,671 42.90%
Majority 27,680 14.20%
Turnout 195,022
Democratic hold

North Carolina

Like Nebraska, North Carolina had three Senate elections on the ballot. Both Senators had died during the 83rd Congress, leading to appointments and special elections.

  1. Willis Smith (D) died June 26, 1953 and Alton A. Lennon (D) was appointed July 10, 1953 to continue the term. In November, Lennon lost the nomination to W. Kerr Scott (D) to finish the term. Scott took office November 29, 1954.
  2. W. Kerr Scott (D) was also elected to the next term, which would begin January 3, 1955.
  3. Clyde R. Hoey (D) died May 12, 1954 and Sam Ervin (D) was appointed June 5, 1954 to continue the term. In November, Ervin was elected to finish the term.

Regular

=

North Carolina election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic W. Kerr Scott (Incumbent) 408,312 65.90%
Republican Paul C. West 211,322 34.10%
Majority 196,990 31.80%
Turnout 619,634
Democratic hold

Special, Class 2

=

North Carolina class 2 special election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic W. Kerr Scott (Incumbent) 420,268 100.00%
Democratic hold

Special, Class 3

=

North Carolina class 3 special election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Samuel J. Ervin Jr. 410,574 100.00%
Democratic hold

Ohio (Special)

Ohio election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican George H. Bender 1,257,874 50.06%
Democratic Thomas A. Burke (Incumbent) 1,254,904 49.94%
Majority 2,970 0.12%
Turnout 2,512,778
Republican gain from Democratic

Oklahoma

Oklahoma election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Robert S. Kerr (Incumbent) 335,127 55.84%
Republican Fred M. Mock 262,013 43.66%
Independent George V. Fried 1,563 0.26%
Independent George H. Brasier 1,417 0.24%
Majority 73,114 12.18%
Turnout 600,120
Democratic hold

Oregon

Oregon election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Richard L. Neuberger 285,775 50.22%
Republican Guy Cordon 283,313 49.78%
Majority 2,462 0.44%
Turnout 569,088
Democratic gain from Republican

Rhode Island

Rhode Island election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Theodore Francis Green (Incumbent) 193,654 59.29%
Republican Walter I. Sundlun 132,970 40.71%
Majority 60,684 18.58%
Turnout 326,624
Democratic hold

South Carolina

In South Carolina, Senator Burnet R. Maybank did not face a primary challenge in the summer and was therefore renominated as the Democratic Party's nominee for the election in the fall. However, his death on September 1 left the Democratic Party without a nominee and the executive committee decided to nominate state Senator Edgar A. Brown as their candidate for the election. Many South Carolinians were outraged by the party's decision to forgo a primary election and former Governor Strom Thurmond entered the race as a write-in candidate. He easily won the election and became the first U.S. senator to be elected by a write-in vote (William Knowland of California in 1946 was technically the first, but the ballots in that election were blank with no candidates listed, so essentially every candidate was running a write-in campaign).[6]

Sitting Senator Burnet R. Maybank entered the 1954 contest without a challenge in the Democratic primary nor in the general election. His unexpected death on September 1 caused panic and confusion within the hierarchy of the state Democratic party because the state law required that a party's nominee be certified by September 3. Hours after Maybank's funeral, the state Democratic executive committee met in secret and chose state Senator Edgar A. Brown of Barnwell County as the party's nominee for the general election. Not only was Brown a part of the "Barnwell Ring", but he was also a member of the executive committee.

The state Democratic Party's decision to choose a candidate without holding a special primary election drew widespread criticism across the state. On September 3, The Greenville News ran an editorial advocating that a primary election be called and several newspapers across the state followed suit. At least six county Democratic committees repudiated the action by the state committee and called for a primary election. Despite repeated calls for a primary, the state executive committee voted against holding a primary because they did not think that there was enough time before the general election to hold a primary election.

Immediately after the executive committee voted against holding a primary election, former Governor Strom Thurmond and lumberman Marcus Stone announced their intention to run as Democratic write-in candidates. Thurmond and his supporters stated that the executive committee had several legal alternatives as opposed to the outright appointment of state Senator Brown. In addition, Thurmond promised that if he were elected he would resign in 1956 so that the voters could choose a candidate in the regular primary for the remaining four years of the term.

Thurmond received support from Governor James F. Byrnes and from those who backed his Presidential bid as a Dixiecrat in the 1948 Presidential election. Thurmond framed the race as a "moral issue: democracy versus committee rule"[7] and his write-in campaign was repeatedly assisted by every newspaper in the state, except for those in Anderson. For instance, The News and Courier devoted its front page on November 2 to show voters a sample ballot and it also provided detailed instructions on how to cast a write-in vote. Not only that, but the newspaper also printed an editorial on the front page giving precise reasons why voters should vote for Thurmond instead of Brown.

On the other hand, Brown was supported by the Democratic party regulars and he also gained the endorsement of Senator Olin D. Johnston. Brown based his campaign entirely on the issue of party loyalty, stressing that Thurmond was a Republican ally because he had voted for President Eisenhower in 1952.

Marcus A. Stone, a lumberman in Florence and Dillon, was a candidate in previous Democratic primaries for governor and senator. He did very little campaigning for the general election.

South Carolina U.S. Senate Election, 1954
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Strom Thurmond (Write-In) 143,444 63.13 +63.13
Democratic Edgar A. Brown 83,525 36.76 -59.64
Democratic Marcus Stone (Write-In) 240 0.11 +0.11
No party Write-Ins 23 0.00 0.00
Majority 59,919 26.37 -66.43
Turnout 227,232
Democratic hold

South Dakota

South Dakota election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Karl Mundt (Incumbent) 135,071 57.30%
Democratic Kenneth Holum 100,674 42.70%
Majority 34,397 14.60%
Turnout 235,745
Republican hold

Tennessee

Tennessee election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Estes Kefauver (Incumbent) 249,121 69.96%
Republican Thomas P. Wall Jr. 106,971
None Write-Ins 21.76% 0.00%
Majority 142,150 39.92%
Turnout 356,094
Democratic hold

Texas

Texas election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Lyndon Johnson (Incumbent) 538,417 84.59%
Republican Carlos Watson 95,033 14.93%
Communist Fred T. Spangler 3,025 0.48%
Majority 443,384 69.66%
Turnout 636,475
Democratic hold

Virginia

1954 United States Senate election in Virginia

← 1948
1960 →
  Absalom Willis Robertson.jpg No image.svg No image.svg
Nominee Absalom Willis Robertson Charles W. Lewis Jr. Clarke T. Robb
Party Democratic Independent Democratic Social Democratic
Popular vote 244,844 32,681 28,922
Percentage 79.9% 10.7% 9.4%

U.S. senator before election

Absalom Willis Robertson
Democratic

Elected U.S. senator

Absalom Willis Robertson
Democratic

In Virginia, Democratic incumbent Senator Absalom Willis Robertson defeated Independent Democrat Charles Lewis and Social Democrat Clarke Robb and was re-elected to a second term in office.

Virginia election[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Absalom Willis Robertson (Incumbent) 244,844 79.88% +14.14%
Independent Democratic Charles W. Lewis Jr. 32,681 10.66% +10.66%
Social Democratic Clarke T. Robb 28,922 9.44% +9.02%
Write-ins 63 0.02% +0.02%
Majority 212,163 69.22% +34.18%
Turnout 306,510
Democratic hold

West Virginia

West Virginia election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Matthew M. Neely (Incumbent) 325,263 54.82%
Republican Tom Sweeney 268,066 45.18%
Majority 57,197 9.64%
Turnout 593,329
Democratic hold

Wyoming

Wyoming election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Joseph C. O'Mahoney 57,845 51.53%
Republican William H. Harrison (Incumbent) 54,407 48.47%
Majority 3,438 3.06%
Turnout 112,252
Democratic gain from Republican

Wyoming (Special)

Wyoming election[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Joseph C. O'Mahoney 57,163 51.56%
Republican William H. Harrison (Incumbent) 53,705 48.44%
Majority 3,458 3.12%
Turnout 110,868
Democratic gain from Republican

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The Maine election was on September 13, 1954, and there were 9 special elections all held on November 2, 1954.
  1. ^ a b http://www.ourcampaigns.com/ContainerHistory.html?ContainerID=299
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 1954" (PDF). Clerk.house.gov. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  3. ^ Thelma Ingersoll at ourcampaigns.com
  4. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=29251
  5. ^ a b "Report of the Official Canvass of the Vote Cast at the Primary Election Held in the State of Montana, July 20, 1954" (PDF). Montana Secretary of State. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 28, 2013. Retrieved July 2, 2014.
  6. ^ Washington Post, "Murkowski appears to make history in Alaska", Debbi Wilgoren, November 3, 2010 (accessed November 3, 2010)
  7. ^ Lander, Ernest: A History of South Carolina 1865-1960, page 183. University of South Carolina Press, 1970.

References

  • "A New Test For S.C. Voters". The News and Courier. November 2, 1954. p. 1A.
  • "Brown Faces Thurmond In Write-In Race". The News and Courier. November 2, 1954. p. 1A.
  • Lander Jr., Ernest McPherson (1970). A History of South Carolina, 1865-1960. University of South Carolina Press. pp. 182–184. ISBN 0-87249-169-2.
  • "Supplemental Report of the Secretary of State to the General Assembly of South Carolina." Reports and Resolutions of South Carolina to the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina. Volume I. Columbia, SC: 1955, pp. 4–5.
  • U.S. Senate Biography of Strom Thurmond