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US Senate Elections 1996: Prognosis And Results

This table shows a prognosis/prediction for the 1996 US Senate elections.

It includes details of the results of the November 5, 1996 elections.

Approximately one-third of senators face the electorate every two years. Once elected, senators serve for six years. There are two senators for each of the 50 states.

The 1996 elections coincided with the presidential election which saw President Bill Clinton re-elected. Every member of the House of Representatives also faced the electorate.

US Senators Facing Election in November 1996
State Incumbent Party Elected Prognosis Winner
Alabama Heflin, Howell T.
Roger Bedford is the new Democratic candidate
Roger Bedford is a state senator facing Republican Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a state that leans to the Republicans but which the Democrats are eyeing hopefully. Bedford has been attacked for his age (39), and his involvement in a waterline project dubbed “waterline-gate”. Sessions is ahead in recent polling. Sessions (R)
Alaska Stevens, Ted Republican
Stevens will have no trouble in this solidly Republican outpost. His Democratic opponent is Theresa Obermeyer. Stevens (R)
Arkansas Pryor, David
new candidate is Winston Bryant
This open seat is a worry for the Democrats, given the Republican trend in the South in recent years. Recent polling has suggested that Republican Tim Hutchinson, currently a House member, stands a good chance of defeating Democrat Winston Bryant, the state Attorney-General. One to watch. Hutchinson (R)
Colorado Brown, Henry (Hank)
Wayne Allard is the new Republican candidate
Wayne Allard is the current House member for Colorado’s 4th district, facing Tom Strickland, a lawyer from Denver. Allard recently said he would support public hangings and then backed off. Current thinking is that Allard will hang onto this Republican seat. Allard (R)
Delaware Biden Jr., Joseph Democrat
Biden is a popular Democrat who is expected to easily defeat his Republican opponent, Ray Clatworthy, a former Marine Corps officer and businessman. Biden (D)
Georgia Nunn, Samuel
new candidate is Max Cleland
Another interesting race. Cleland, the former Georgia secretary of state, wheelchair-bound former head of the Veterans Administration, is facing Guy Millner, the GOP’s 1994 nominee for Governor. A tight race, but latest polling suggests Cleland is marginally ahead. Cleland (D)
Idaho Craig, Larry E. Republican
Craig’s Democratic opponent is Walt Minnick, a millionaire businessman and former aide to Richard Nixon (yep, you read it right!). There was some speculation early in the campaign about Craig’s chances, but he should win easily. Craig (R)57-40
Illinois Simon, Paul
new candidate is Dick Durbin
An interesting race. Dick Durbin is fighting toe-to-toe with Al Salvi in what has become a nasty contest. Salvi seems to have a talent for nasty comments about his opponent. Durbin is expected to win. Durbin (D)
Iowa Harkin, Thomas Democrat
Harkin is attempting to become the first Democrat elected to 3 Senate terms in Iowa. His opponent is House Representative Jim Ross Lightfoot. The race has attracted some attention, but Harkin should win comfortably. Harkin (D)
Kansas Kassebaum, Nancy Landon
new candidate is Pat Roberts
The Republican candidate is Representative Pat Roberts (Kan-1), opposed by Democrat Sally Thompson. Roberts should win, but Kansas politics is in a state of flux with Dole and Kassebaum departing, plus reshuffling amongst the House members. Roberts (R)
special election
Frahm, Sheila Republican
Sheila Frahm, former Lt. Gov., was appointed to Bob Dole’s Senate vacancy earlier this year, but was subsequently defeated in the primary election. The new Republican candidate is Representative Sam Brownback (Kan-2), opposed by Democrat Jill Docking, a stockbroker. Brownback is an acolyte of Newt Gingrich, whilst Docking comes from a family with firm Kansan roots. Her husband is a former Lt.Gov. Brownback has outspent Docking, but is having trouble pulling ahead. This race is regarded as something of a toss-up, but it is hard to see Brownback losing in the end. Brownback (R)
Kentucky McConnell, Mitch Republican
McConnell’s Democratic opponent is the former Lieutenant Governor Steve Beshear. McConnell has distanced himself from charges that he is a conservative. McConnell’s races have all been close, although he is favoured to hang on this time. McConnell (R)
Louisiana Johnston, J. Bennett
Mary Landrieu is the new Democratic candidate
Mary Landrieu is the former state treasurer, facing state representative Woody Jenkins in a toss-up race. Landrieu has been amassing support from black voters and fighting off allegations about her performance as treasurer. Voter turnout will be crucial in this race. Landrieu (D)
Maine Cohen, William S.
Susan Collins is the new Republican candidate
Susan Collins was the GOP candidate for Governor in 1994. She faces former Governor Joe Brennan in a campaign that has turned negative. Latest polls indicate that the race could go either way. US Taxpayers Party candidate Bill Clarke is also running. Collins (R)
Massachusetts Kerry, John Democrat
Kerry is opposed by Gov. William Weld – a tight race. Both candidates agreed to cap campaign spending at $6.9m. There have been numerous debates between the two highly-regarded candidates. Late polls suggest Kerry has a narrow edge in a state Clinton will win handsomely, but the Senate result remains uncertain. Kerry (D)
Michigan Levin, Carl Democrat
Levin is one of the more liberal Democrats in the Senate, favouring abortion rights. His opponent is a talk show host, Republican Ronna Romney. Recent polling showed Levin well ahead. Levin (D)
Minnesota Wellstone, Paul Democrat
Wellstone is opposed by the former incumbent Rudy Boschwitz in a vigorous rematch. Wellstone is one of the more liberal senators, one of those who voted against the welfare reform bill. In a liberally-minded state, Wellstone should be in no real danger. Wellstone (D)
Mississippi Cochran, Thad Republican
There is no doubt that Cochran will win re-election. His Democratic opponent is James Hunt and pundits expect Cochran to nudge the 70+% mark on polling day. The 3rd ranking member in the Senate, Cochran was beaten by Trent Lott for Bob Dole’s position as Senate majority leader. Cochran (R)
Montana Baucus, Max Democrat
Baucus is expected to win re-election, as should Republican Governor Marc Racicot. Baucus is opposed by Republican Lieutenant Governor Dennis Rehberg. Rehberg lacks the money that Baucus has. Baucus (D)
Nebraska Exon, J. J.
Governor Ben Nelson is the new Democratic candidate
Governor Nelson faces Republican investment banker, Chuck Hagel, in a contest that Nelson should have little trouble winning. Hagel (R)


New Hampshire Smith, Robert C. Republican
Incumbent Senator Bob Smith faces Democrat Dick Swett in a close race in what is normally a Republican stronghold. Dole has been in New Hampshire in the last few weeks of the campaign, perhaps a sign of the Republicans’ worries about this seat. Smith (R)
New Jersey Bradley, William (retiring),
Robert Torricelli is the new Democratic candidate
Torricelli, a 7-term House member (NJ-9) faces Richard Zimmer (R), a 3-term House member (NJ-12), where the campaign focus is on Newt Gingrich. Polls show a dead heat. During October, the campaign has turned nasty and the NRA is backing Zimmer. Dole has all but given up New Jersey and this may hurt Zimmer. The 3 main newspapers last week refused to endorse either candidate in protest at the dirty campaign. Torricelli (D)
New Mexico Domenici, Pete Republican
Domenici will win easily. His Democratic opponent is Art Trujillo, the former mayor of Santa Fe. Recent polls suggested that nearly half of all Democrats will support Domenici. Trujillo is relatively unknown. Domenici (R)
North Carolina Helms, Jesse Republican
Helms is opposed for the second time by Harvey Gantt – arch conservative vs black liberal. The 1990 contest was famous for Helms’ use of the race issue against Gantt. Helms attacks Gantt on homosexuality, the death penalty and such issues. Gantt was supported recently by former President Jimmy Carter, the only time Carter has campaigned for a candidate since leaving office. Gantt has been helped by money from the AFL-CIO, and has been attacking Helms on issues such as Medicare. Expect Helms to win, but worth watching to see how close it gets. Helms (R)
Oklahoma Inhofe, Jim Republican
Inhofe should be safe in what is solid Republican territory. His opponent is James Boren, a Northeast State University professor and cousin of former Senator David Boren. Inhofe (R)
Oregon Hatfield, Mark
new candidate is Gordon Smith
Gordon Smith (R) vs Tom Bruggere (D) – Two millionaires! Smith was beaten earlier this year by Ron Wyden for Bob Packwood’s Senate seat. The Democrats have hopes of winning this one. Smith (R)
Rhode Island Pell, Claiborne
Jack Reed is new Democratic candidate
Reed currently hold the 2nd House district and is opposed by Nancy Mayer, state Treasurer. The Republicans have spent a lot of money in this race, but expect Reed to hold it for the Democrats. Reed (D)
South Carolina Thurmond, Strom Republican
Thurmond, 93, is opposed by Elliott Close. If Thurmond wins, he is in line to celebrate his 100th birthday as a senator. First elected as a county official in the 1920s, Thurmond has universal name recognition. Recent polls suggest the 1948 Independent presidential candidate will win again. Thurmond (R)
South Dakota Pressler, Larry Republican
Pressler is opposed by Democratic Representative Tim Johnson in a hard-fought race. Fighting for his fourth term, Pressler is up against the at-large House member, so both men are fighting on familiar ground. Recent polling suggests Johnson could win this one. Definitely one to watch on the night. Johnson (D)
Tennessee Thompson, Fred Republican Fred Thompson should have little trouble beating off his Democratic opponent, Houston Gordon, in Al Gore’s home state. Thompson (R)
Texas Gramm, Phil Republican
Should be safe for Gramm, although Victor Morales, a school teacher, has been campaigning hard with little money. Whilst Gramm was pre-occupied with his candidacy for president, Morales crept up on him, defeating two Democratic congressmen for the nomination. But the man who once said he had the best friend one could have in politics – money – looks set to be easily re-elected. Gramm (R)
Virginia Warner, John W. Republican
The battle of the two Warners! The incumbent senator faces Democrat Mark Warner, a telecommunications executive with a $100million bank balance. Senator Warner angered some local Republicans for not supporting Oliver North in 1994. He should win re-election, but this is a race worth watching. John Warner (R)
West Virginia Rockefeller, John D. Democrat
The Rockefeller fortune will barely notice the absence of the $1.6m the incumbent senator is allegedly spending. His opponent is a part-time nurse’s assistance, Betty Burks, who has raised a few thousand dollars for her campaign. Rockefeller won with 68% of the vote in 1990 and should easily repeat the performance this time. Rockefeller (D)
Wyoming Simpson, Alan K.
Mike Enzi is the new Republican candidate
Mike Enzi is a state senator facing Kathy Karpan, former Wyoming Secretary of State. Enzi is an abortion rights opponent who defeated the GOP’s favoured choice in the primary race. Polls show Enzi has a narrow lead, but Democrats are hopeful of picking up this seat. Enzi (R)


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Malcolm Farnsworth
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