U.S. Senate election, 1986

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The U.S. Senate election, 1986 was an election for the United States Senate in the middle of Ronald Reagan's second presidential term. As a midterm election, and one which occurred six years after major Republican gains from Reagan's coattails in 1980, the Democrats had a better chance to gain seats.

In the election, the Democrats gained a net eight seats, and recaptured control of the Senate from the Republicans with a 55-45 majority. Robert Dole (R-KS) and Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) exchanged positions as majority and minority leader.

The only Republican gain was one open seat in Missouri. On the other hand, the Democrats gained open seats in Maryland and Nevada and defeated seven incumbent Republican senators, six of them first-term senators elected in 1980. The incumbents were: Jeremiah Denton (R-AL), Paula Hawkins (R-FL), Mack Mattingly (R-GA), James Broyhill (R-NC), Mark Andrews (R-ND), James Abdnor (R-SD), and Slade Gorton (R-WA).

Notable new Senators in 1986 include John McCain (R-AZ), elected to the seat left by Barry Goldwater's retirement, Tom Daschle (D-SD), who retook George McGovern's old seat from Abdnor, and current Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

In 1987, Edward Zorinsky (D-NE) died and was replaced by David K. Karnes (R-NE). This is not included in the party balance totals.

Senate contests in 1986

State Incumbent Party Status Opposing Candidates
Alabama Jeremiah Denton Republican Defeated, 50.9 - 49.1 Richard C. Shelby (Democrat)
Alaska Frank H. Murkowski Republican Re-elected, 54.9 - 45.1 Glenn Olds (Democrat)
Arizona Barry Goldwater Republican Retired: Republican victory, 60.6 - 39.4 John McCain (Republican)
Richard Kimball (Democrat)
Arkansas Dale Bumpers Democrat Re-elected, 62.9 - 37.1 Asa Hutchinson (Republican)
California Alan Cranston Democrat Re-elected, 50.8 - 49.2 Ed Zschau (Republican)
Colorado Gary Warren Hart Democrat Retired: Democratic victory, 50.8 - 49.2 Timothy E. Wirth (Democrat)
Ken Kramer (Republican)
Connecticut Christopher J. Dodd Democrat Re-elected, 64.8 - 35.2 Roger W. Eddy (Republican)
Florida Paula Hawkins Republican Defeated, 55.0 - 45.0 Bob Graham (Democrat)
Georgia Mack Mattingly Republican Defeated, 50.9 - 49.1 Wyche Fowler, Jr. (Democrat)
Hawaii Daniel K. Inouye Democrat Re-elected, 73.6 - 26.4 Frank Hutchinson (Republican)
Idaho Steven D. Symms Republican Re-elected, 51.4 - 48.6 John V. Evans (Democrat)
Illinois Alan J. Dixon Democrat Re-elected, 65.4 - 34.1 Judy Koehler (Republican)
Indiana Dan Quayle Republican Re-elected, 61.1 - 38.9 Jill L. Long (Democrat)
Iowa Charles E. Grassley Republican Re-elected, 66.0 - 34.0 John P. Roehrick (Democrat)
Kansas Bob Dole Republican Re-elected, 70.1 - 29.9 Guy MacDonald (Democrat)
Kentucky Wendell H. Ford Democrat Re-elected, 74.3 - 25.7 Jackson M. Andrews (Republican)
Louisiana Russell B. Long Democrat Retired: Democratic victory, 52.8 - 47.2 John Breaux (Democrat)
W. Henson Moore (Republican)
Maryland Charles Mathias, Jr. Republican Retired: Democratic victory, 60.8 - 39.2 Barbara A. Mikulski (Democrat)
Linda Chavez (Republican)
Missouri Thomas F. Eagleton Democrat Retired: Republican victory, 52.6 - 47.4 Christopher S. Bond (Republican)
Harriett Woods (Democrat)
Nevada Paul Laxalt Republican Retired: Democrat victory, 52.9 - 47.1 Harry Reid (Democrat)
Jim Santini (Republican)
New Hampshire Warren B. Rudman Republican Re-elected, 66.0 - 34.0 Endicott Peabody (Democrat)
New York Alfonse D'Amato Republican Re-elected, 57.7 - 40.9 Mark J. Green (Democrat)
North Carolina James T. Broyhill1 Republican Defeated, 51.9 - 48.1 Terry Sanford (Democrat)
North Dakota Mark Andrews Republican Defeated, 49.8 - 49.0 Kent Conrad (Democrat)
Ohio John Glenn Democrat Re-elected, 62.4 - 37.6 Thomas N. Kindress (Republican)
Oklahoma Don Nickles Republican Re-elected, 54.5 - 45.5 James R. Jones (Democrat)
Oregon Bob Packwood Republican Re-elected, 63.5 - 36.5 Rick Bauman (Democrat)
Pennsylvania Arlen Specter Republican Re-elected, 56.9 - 43.1 Bob Edgar (Democrat)
South Carolina Ernest F. Hollings Democrat Re-elected, 63.9 - 36.1 Henry D. McMaster (Republican)
South Dakota James Abdnor Republican Defeated, 51.7 - 48.3 Tom Daschle (Democrat)
Utah Jake Garn Republican Re-elected, 73.0 - 27.0 Craig Oliver (Democrat)
Vermont Patrick J. Leahy Democrat Re-elected, 63.7 - 34.7 Richard A. Snelling (Republican)
Washington Slade Gorton Republican Defeated, 51.2 - 48.8 Brock Adams (Democrat)
Wisconsin Bob Kasten Republican Re-elected, 51.8 - 48.2 Ed Garvey (Democrat)

1Broyhill was appointed to the seat on July 3, 1986, following the death of John Porter East (R-NC).

See also

Senate composition before and after elections

99th Congress Senate Composition   100th Congress Senate Composition
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                     
Color Key: Democrats Republicans


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