All 332 seats to the United States House of Representatives
167 seats needed for a majority
Map of U.S. House elections results from 1890 elections for 52nd Congress
A stagnant economy which became worse after the Panic of 1890, combined with a lack of support for then Representative William McKinley's (defeated in the election) steep tariff act, which favored large industries at the expense of consumers, led to a sharp defeat for Harrison's Republican Party, giving a large majority to the Democratic Party and presaging Harrison's defeat in 1892. The Republican-controlled Congress was highly criticized for its lavish spending, and it earned the unflattering nickname of The Billion Dollar Congress. Democrats promised to cut the outlandish budget.
Furthermore, aggressive Republican promotion of controversial English-only education laws enacted by Wisconsin and Illinois in 1889, accompanied by a surge in nativist and anti-Catholic sentiment within the state parties, had greatly hollowed out the party's support base in these former strongholds. A rare multi-confessional alliance of mainly German clergy rallied their flocks in defense of language and faith to the Democratic Party, which tore through incumbent Republican majorities in both states, capturing a total of 11 formerly Republican seats between them alone. Bitterly divisive struggles over temperance laws had also been alienating immigrants from the increasingly prohibitionist Republican Party across the Midwest more broadly. Dramatic losses in the previous year's gubernatorial elections in Iowa and Ohio (which would lose another 14 Republican congressional seats between them during this election) were due in no small part to wet immigrant communities, especially Germans, expressing their resentment toward Republican efforts to ban or otherwise curtail alcohol consumption by throwing their support behind the Democratic candidates.
This election also saw the Populist Party, a coalition of farmers and laborers who wanted to overhaul the nation's financial system, make a small mark on Congress.
The previous election of 1888 saw the election of one Labor Party representative in Arkansas.
Early election dates
In 1890, five states, with 9 seats among them, held elections early:
- December 9, 1890: Thomas J. Geary (D) elected to finish the term of John J. De Haven (R), who had resigned October 1, 1890.
|California 1||Vacant||Democratic gain.||√ Thomas J. Geary (Democratic) 49.3%|
John A. Barham (Republican) 48.8%
L. B. Scranton (Prohibition) 1.9%
|California 2||Marion Biggs||Democratic||1886||Incumbent retired.
|√ Anthony Caminetti (Democratic) 49%|
George I. Blanchard (Republican) 48.6%
J. S. Witherell (Prohibition) 2.4%
|California 3||Joseph McKenna||Republican||1884||Incumbent re-elected.||√ Joseph McKenna (Republican) 55.4%|
John P. Irish (Democratic) 42.5%
O. O. Felkner (Prohibition) 2.1%
|California 4||William W. Morrow||Republican||1884||Incumbent retired.
|√ John T. Cutting (Republican) 49.2%|
Robert Ferral (Democratic) 45.1%
Thomas V. Cator (Socialist) 5.6%
Joseph Rowell (Prohibition) 0.2%
|California 5||Thomas J. Clunie||Democratic||1888||Incumbent lost re-election.
|√ Eugene F. Loud (Republican) 52.8%|
Thomas J. Clunie (Democratic) 45.9%
E. F. Howe (Prohibition) 1.3%
|California 6||William Vandever||Republican||1886||Incumbent retired.
|√ William W. Bowers (Republican) 51.1%|
W. J. Curtis (Democratic) 44.1%
O. R. Dougherty (Prohibition) 4.8%
|Florida 1||Robert H. M. Davidson||Democratic||1876||Incumbent lost renomination.
|√ Stephen R. Mallory, Jr. (Democratic) 78.5%|
Harrison Reed (Republican) 21.5%
|Florida 2||Robert Bullock||Democratic||1888||Incumbent re-elected.||√ Robert Bullock (Democratic) 58.8%|
Joseph Stripling (Republican) 41.2%
|Ohio 1||Benjamin Butterworth||Republican||1884||Incumbent retired.
|Ohio 2||John A. Caldwell||Republican||1888||Incumbent re-elected.|
|Ohio 3||Elihu S. Williams||Republican||1886||Incumbent retired.
|Henry Lee Morey
Redistricted from the 7th district
|Republican||1888||Incumbent lost re-election.|
|Ohio 4||Samuel S. Yoder||Democratic||1886||Incumbent retired.
|Ohio 5||George E. Seney||Democratic||1886||Incumbent retired.
|Ohio 6||Melvin M. Boothman||Republican||1886||Incumbent retired.
|Ohio 7||William E. Haynes
Redistricted from the 10th district
|Ohio 8||Robert P. Kennedy||Republican||1886||Incumbent retired.
|Ohio 9||William C. Cooper||Republican||1884||Incumbent retired.
|Joseph H. Outhwaite
Redistricted from the 13th district
|Ohio 10||Open seat||New seat
|Ohio 11||Albert C. Thompson||Republican||1886||Lost renomination
|Ohio 12||Jacob J. Pugsley||Republican||1886||Incumbent retired.
|Ohio 13||Open seat||New seat
|Ohio 14||Charles Preston Wickham||Republican||1886||Incumbent retired.
|James W. Owens
Redistricted from the 16th district
|Ohio 15||Charles H. Grosvenor||Republican||1886||Lost renomination
|Ohio 16||William McKinley
Redistricted from the 18th district
|Republican||1886||Incumbent lost re-election.
|Ohio 17||Open seat||New seat
|Ohio 18||Joseph D. Taylor
Redistricted from the 17th district
|Ohio 19||Ezra B. Taylor||Republican||1880||Incumbent re-elected.|
|Ohio 20||Martin L. Smyser||Republican||1888||Lost renomination
|Ohio 21||Theodore E. Burton||Republican||1888||Incumbent lost re-election.
|South Carolina 1||Samuel Dibble||Democratic||1882||Incumbent retired.
|√ William H. Brawley (Democratic) 84.2%|
William D. Crum (Republican) 15.7%
|South Carolina 2||George D. Tillman||Democratic||1878||Incumbent re-elected.||√ George D. Tillman (Democratic) 85.5%|
Seymour E. Smith (Republican) 14.3%
|South Carolina 3||James S. Cothran||Democratic||1886||Incumbent retired.
|√ George Johnstone (Democratic) 91.4%|
John R. Tolbert (Republican) 8.2%
|South Carolina 4||William H. Perry||Democratic||1884||Incumbent retired.
|√ George W. Shell (Democratic) 81.9%|
J. F. Ensor (Republican) 17.8%
|South Carolina 5||John J. Hemphill||Democratic||1882||Incumbent re-elected.||√ John J. Hemphill (Democratic) 87.1%|
G. G. Alexander (Republican) 12.2%
|South Carolina 6||George W. Dargan||Democratic||1882||Incumbent retired.
|√ Eli T. Stackhouse (Democratic) 78.8%|
Edmund H. Deas (Republican) 20.5%
|South Carolina 7||Thomas E. Miller||Republican||1888[Note 5]||Incumbent lost re-election.
|√ William Elliott (Democratic) 44.4%|
Thomas E. Miller (Republican) 38.8%
E. M. Brayton (Independent Republican) 16.5%
- United States elections, 1890
- 51st United States Congress
- 52nd United States Congress
- Martis, pp. 144–145.
- Jensen, Richard J. The Winning of the Midwest: Social and Political Conflict, 1888-1896, ch. 5: Education, the Tariff, and the Melting Pot. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1971. pp. 122-153.
- Jensen, ch. 4: Iowa, Wet or Dry?. pp. 89-121.
- Smith, Joseph P, ed. (1898). History of the Republican Party in Ohio. I. Chicago: the Lewis Publishing Company. pp. 592, 593.
- Dubin, Michael J. (March 1, 1998). United States Congressional Elections, 1788-1997: The Official Results of the Elections of the 1st Through 105th Congresses. McFarland and Company. ISBN 978-0786402830.
- Martis, Kenneth C. (January 1, 1989). The Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress, 1789-1989. Macmillan Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0029201701.
- Moore, John L., ed. (1994). Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections (Third ed.). Congressional Quarterly Inc. ISBN 978-0871879967.
- "Party Divisions of the House of Representatives* 1789–Present". Office of the Historian, House of United States House of Representatives. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
- Office of the Historian (Office of Art & Archives, Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives)