Welcome to my second and last installment of the 1988 Senate Races.
This diary will look at elections in the Midwest and West.
For part 1, which covers the East and the South. click here.
When we last left off, Democrats had made a net gain of one seat in the East but had a net loss of one seat in the South.
I decided to include links to maps for the senate elections in this diary. You can now see results by county for each race. I plan to go add similar links to my previous diary.
Anyways lets now look at the remaining senate seats and continue below the fold
Incumbent senators remained very popular in their home states. Voters had no trouble splitting tickets to support their senators. Democrats gained one seat by unseating a recently appointed Republican in Nebraska, but other than that voters in this region remained with the status quo.
Nebraska - Sen. David Karnes (R) vs. Bob Kerrey(D) DEM PICKUP
Democratic Senator Edward Zorinsky died suddenly of a heart attack in March 1987. Republican Governor Kay Orr appointed David Karnes to seat. The next year Karnes decided to run for the seat in his own right. Popular former Democratic governor Bob Kerrey entered the race to challenge Karnes, instantly shifting the race to Democrats. Despite serving a over a year in the senate, Karnes had very low name recognition and was the underdog at the start of the race. Much of the goodwill Kerrey had from his previous term as governor carried over to the election. To make matters worse, Karnes made a huge flub in the sole debate by declaring ""we need fewer farmers at this point in time." Nebraskans (many who were farmers) did not take highly of this comment. Despite Nebraska being a solidly red state at the presidential level and Bush winning the state by 60.15%-39.20%, Karnes would go on to lose the race in a landslide. Kerrey defeated Karnes by running up a strong margin in Nebraska's south eastern counties and won with 56.71%-41.66% victory.
Where are they now: Kerrey proved to be popular in his conservative red state. He was reelected easily in the red 1994 wave that wiped out the remaining Democratic congressman in his state. Unfazed from the conservative tide that swept his state, Kerrey continued take a liberal positions on hot button issues. He was one of only 14 senators to vote against DOMA and led the fight against flag burning amendment. In 2000 hes retired and Democratic Governor Ben Nelson narrowly won the seat. Nelson would go on to win reelection in landslide in 2006. Kerrey moved to New York become a university president. With senator Nelson retiring, Kerrey jumped back into the political realm wanting to win back his old seat. Though unlike his first run back in 1988, it is Kerrey who will be the underdog for the open senate race. Nebraska which remains decidedly Republican has only gotten less fond elected Democrats in the state. Kerrey who has mixed record on many economic, social issues has taken daring step by coming out in favor of gay marriage. He also admitted to a dark chapter in his Vietnam war experience in the Thanh Phong Raid. I expect Republican Deb Fisher to attack him on this and his few liberal stances.
Wisconsin - Herb Kohl(D) vs. Susan Engeleiter(R)
Longtime Democratic Senator William Proxmire decided to retire after serving 30 years in the senate. Republicans selected Susan Engeleiter a moderate state senator from the dark red Waukesha County. Wealthy businessman and former state party chair, Herb Kohl won the democratic nomination. With polls showing a near tie between the candidates, both parties heavily targeted the race. President Reagan came to Milawakee to headline a campaign rally and fundraiser for Engeleiter. Kohl said he was too rich to bought by special interest groups and spent a hefty 5 million dollars in his campaign. His campaign slogan was "Nobody's Senator but Yours" Republicans attacked Kohl by saying he had no experience since he had never served in elected office before. In the end Kohl triumphed winning 52.08% to 47.55%. Dukakis also carried the state but with a narrower margin (51.41%-47.80%)
Where are they now: Following her defeat, Engeleiter was nominated as Bush's Administrator of the Small Business Administration. Engeleiter has been President and Chief Operating Officer of Data Recognition Corporation since 1998 and the company's CEO since December 11, 2006
Kohl went on to win to easily win 3 more terms to the senate. His retirement this year opens up competitive seat for Democrats to defend. Democrats have nominated Tammy Baldwin, who could go on to be the first openly gay member of the senate.
Michigan - Sen Donald Riegle(D) vs. Jim Dunn(R)
Two term Democratic Senator Riegle faced little opposition for another term in the senate. The best Republicans could come up it was former congressman Jim Dunn. His claim to fame was being swept into the house during the Reagan 1980 wave, only to swept out in the following election in 1982. Dunn had tried to run for senate in 1984 but failed to win the Republican primary. He then tried to regain his seat in 1986 only to be defeated for a 3rd time. So by the time 1988 had rolled around Dunn appeared little more than a perennial candidate to Riegle. The Democratic senator had little worry about as his huge cash advantage and name recognition kept him on a safe route to reelection. Dunn all about gave up hope when the national party cash infusions dried up. Bush's 53.57%-45.67% victory in the state did little to help Republicans as Reigle coasted with 60.38% of the vote to Dunn's 38.46%.
Where are they now: Dunn attempted one final political comeback by running for Michigan's 10th disctrict, but he was defeated in the Republican primary by Dave Camp, who still holds the seat.
Reigle retired after the Keating 5 scandal in 1994 and the seat fell into Republican hands with the election of Spencer Abraham. But Abraham was in turn defeated by democratic congresswoman Debbie Stabenow in 2000. Stabenow still holds the seat and is favored to win reelection this November over former Republican congressman Pete Hoekstra.
Indiana - Sen. Richard Lugar(R) vs. Jack Wickes (D)
Popular two term Republican Senator Lugar faced little threat for a 3rd term from Democratic attorney Jack Wickes. Indiana was solidly Republican (not voting for a Democratic President since LBJ in 1964) and Bush would easily win here with 59.84%-39.69%. As such Lugar was the frontrunner throughout the race while Wickes struggled to improve his name recognition. Lugar easily triumphed winning all but one county while taking a 68.14%-31.86% win.
Where are they now: Lugar continued to win reelection easily for 3 more terms. In fact despite the 2006 Democratic wave, Lugar was left unchallenged by Democrats. But this year Lugar was defeated in the Republican primary because of his willingness to be bipartisan and work between the aisles. The fiery conservative Richard Mourdock will take the Republican helm against Democratic congressman Joe Donnelly.
Missouri - Sen. John Danforth(R) vs. Jay Nixon(D)
Despite only narrowly winning reelection in 1982, Republican Senator Danforth faced little competition for a 3rd term. Not one single big name Democrat stepped up to the plate, a major recruitment fail for Missouri Democrats. Instead a little known state senator, by the name of Jay Nixon, went to carry the Democratic banner. Nixon, having served only a year in the state senate, had little funding. Danforth on the other hand amassed over 2 million dollars for his campaign. In the end it would be an easy return to the senate, as Danforth won a commanding 67.70% of the vote to Nixon's 31.75%. It was at the time, the most lopsided defeat a Democrat had suffered in a statewide race in Missouri history. Bush would win the state too but, with a much narrower margin (51.83%-47.85%)
Where are they now: The moderate Danforth retired from the senate in 1994 He briefly served as United States Ambassador to the United Nations for the George W Bush administration. Danforth's seat remained in Republicans hands with John Ashcroft winning it in 1994. Ashcroft was ousted by Democratic Governor Mel Carnahan(who had passed away just before the election) in 2000. Carnahan's wife, Jeane, was appointed to the seat following the election. But she was defeated Republican Jim Talent in 2002. Talent then lost to Democratic State Auditor, Claire McCaskill, in 2006. McCaskill currently is in a very competitive election to hold this seat in the fall.
Nixon was undeterred by is landslide loss. He returned back the legislature to serve a total of 3 terms. In 1992 he was elected as Attorney General by beating state house minority leader, David Steelman (husband to current Republican senate candidate Sarah Steelman) 51%-45%. Nixon won reelection in a 20 point landslide and decided to run again for senate but lost to Kit Bond in 1998. Nixon ran for 2 more terms as Attorney General in 2000 and 2004, winning each respective race in landslides. In 2008 Nixon was successfully elected Governor and now faces an easy reelection this fall.
North Dakota - Sen. Quentin Burdick(D) vs. Earl Strinden(R)
Long time Democratic Senator Quentin Burdick faced questions about his age going into the campaign. The 80 year-old incumbent, Burdick, had served 28 years in the senate and was still well liked in the reliably Republican state of North Dakota. Burdick was best known as the first Democratic senator of North Dakota and for his efforts to convince the Nonpartisan League( a populist-progressive group which originally was allied to the Republican party) to switch allegiance to the Democratic party. Republicans nominated Earl Strinden, who was President of the University of North Dakota Alumni Association. In the end Burdick deflected questions about his age by countering with the great amount of clout he had in the senate due to his seniority. Burdick trounced Strinden in a landslide (59.45%-39.06%) while Bush easily carried the state (56.03%-42.97%)
Where are they now: In 1992, Burdick died of heart failure 4 years into his term. Democratic Governor George Sinner then appointed Quentin's wife, Jocelyn Burdick, as a placeholder till the special election. The vacancy proved to be the perfect escape hatch for incumbent Democratic Senator Kent Conrad. Conrad had pledged to not run for another term if the national debt did not decrease since his first election in 1986. By 1992 it was obvious that this would not be the case. Conrad felt bound to his pledge even though polls showed that the voters would have welcomed him going back on his pledge. But now with an opportunity to run for a different senate seat and still keep his pledge, Conrad promptly ran and won the special election. Since then, Conrad has faced little opposition from Republicans easily winning 3 more terms to the senate. Conrad is retiring at the end of this year, setting the stage for a competitive senate race between Republican congressman Rick Berg and former Democratic Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp. Counting both Burdick's and Conrad's service, this particular senate seat has been held by Democrats for nearly 52 years! Also the union of the Democratic Party and the Nonpartisan League (originally formed in 1956) still remains to this day.
Minnesota - Sen. David Durenberger(R) vs. Hubert "Skip" Humphrey, III(D)
Ten year incumbent Republican Senator Durenberger remained popular as ever in the blue state of Minnesota (which hadn't voted for a Republican President since 1972 and still has yet to in the present). Democrats nominated Attorney General Skip Humphrey, the son of popular Hubert Humphrey. Democrats hoped that Skip's well known name and the Democratic nature of the state would be enough to unseat Durenberger. But Durenberger's moderate stance kept him in good shape for Minnesota voters, who easily gave the senator another term. Durenberger won 56.18% of the vote to Humphrey's 40.92%. Dukakis won the state over Bush with a 52.91%-45.90% margin.
Where are they now: Durenberger retired in 1994, he then pleaded guilty to charges of misuse of public funds while in office, and was sentenced to one year of probation 1995. In 2005, he announced that he no longer supported the Republican party and considered himself to be an independent. In 2010 he endorsed his former chief of staff, Tom Horner for Governor. He also endorsed Democratic congressman Tim Waltz. His senate seat was won my Republican Rod Grams in 1994. Grams then lost reelection to former Democratic state auditor, Mark Dayton. Facing low approvals, Dayton retired and Democrat Amy Klobuchar held on to the seat in 2006. Klobuchar is heavily favored to win reelection, thanks to her sky high approval ratings.
Skip Humphrey remained in his position of Attorney General after his senate loss. He was reelected easily in 1990 and 1994. He then decided to run for governor in 1998 but fared poorly in the election and came in 3rd place.
Ohio - Sen. Howard Metzenbaum(D) vs. George Voinovich(R)
Democratic Senator Howard Metzenbaum was thought to have difficult reelection ahead of him. Riding the Jimmy Carter's Coattails in 1976, Metzenbaum unseated Republican senator Robert Taft Jr. Metzenbaum then faced an easy reelection the largely Democratic year of 1982. With Bush heavily expected to carry the state easily in 1988, Republicans relished the thought of finally defeating the powerful liberal senator of the state. They nominated Cleveland mayor, George Voinovich. Many Republicans hoped that running Republicans from the heavily Democratic city of Cleveland would be enough to bring down Metzenbaum. But Voinovich went too far in a political ad by attacking the senator as being soft on child porn. The attack backfired (much like 2006 CT congressional race between Nancy Johnson and Chris Murphy) and actually united the Democrats, as one time political rival Senator John Glenn came out to cut a political ad on behalf of Metzenbaum. Even the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police (which usually supports Republicans today) came out to endorse Metzenbaum. In the end Ohio voters split their tickets electing Bush (55.00%-44.15%) and Metzenbaum (56.97%-43.02%)
Where are they now: Metzenbaum retired in 1994 and served as the chairman of the Consumer Federation of America. He passed away in 2008. His senate seat was picked up by Republican Lt. Governor Mike Dewine. In 2006 Dewine was defeated by Democratic congressman Sherrod Brown, who should be reelected with little trouble this fall. Brown has even scored the rare endorsement of Ohio Fraternal Order of Police, which had not endorsed a Democratic senate candidate since Metzenbaum.
Voinovich went on to be elected governor in 1990 and was subsequently reelected in 1994. He then ran for Ohio's other senate seat in 1998 and went on to serve two terms before retiring in 2010.
Democrats and Republicans would each pick up a seat in this region (NV & MT), which resulted in no net gains for either party
California - Sen. Pete Wilson(R) vs. Leo McCarthy(D)
Freshman Republican Senator Pete Wilson not only faced a strong challenge from Democratic Lt Governor Leo McCarthy, but a political curse on his seat(no incumbent had won reelection to the seat since William F Knowland in 1952). Wilson still had the advantage as California was still reliably Republican at the presidential level (no Democratic president had won the state since LBJ in 1964). McCarthy also was weakened from a bitter reelection campaign in 1986 when faced former Republican Lt Governor Michael Curb. While McCarthy won that race, the controversy surrounding the McCarthy campaign's tactics in the 1986 race were never fully dispelled. Wilson focused his campaign on environmental issues such as protecting the coastline. In the end, Wilson emerged the victor by winning the race with a 52.79%- 44.0% margin. Bush also won the state, though by a narrower margin (51.13%- 47.56%)
Where are they now: Wilson left the senate 2 years into his second term to successfully run for the governorship. He won a 2nd term in 1994 and unsuccessfully ran for the Republican nomination for president in 1996.
Upon winning the governorship, Wilson appointed Republican state senator,John F. Seymour, to fill his now vacant senate seat. Seymour ran for the seat in his own right in 1992 but was defeated former San Francisco Mayor, Diane Feinstein. In 1994 Feinstein faced a close reelection, winning a narrowly over Republican congressman Michael Huffington. Since then Feinstein has not faced any serious opposition from Republicans. This year is no different with California Republicans offering a 4th tier candidate, Elizabeth Emken, as a sacrificial lamb in the fall election.
Lt. Governor McCarthy ran for reelection successfully in 1990 and then ran for US senate in 1992. He lost that senate race primary to Congresswoman Barbara Boxer.
McCarthy retired in 1995 due to term limits. McCarthy is the longest serving Lt. Governor in the state.
Nevada - Sen. Chic Hecht(R) vs.Richard Bryan(D) DEM PICKUP
Freshman Republican Senator Chic Hecht faced a tough fight for second term from Democratic governor Richard Bryan. Hecht started the campaign as the underdog, lagging in the polls. He then began to attack Bryan on tax issues and began to close the gap. But Bryan then countered by saying that Hecht was known as one of the "least effective senators." (similar to NC Senator Elizabeth Dole in 2008) Hecht also was known for making verbal gaffes such as referring to a "proposed nuclear waste repository that the federal government wants to open at Yucca Mountain as a 'nuclear suppository'." He ended up losing to Bryan by a 46.14%-50.21% margin. Bush on the other hand, had no difficulty and won the state in a landslide (58.86%-37.92%)
Where are they now: Hecht went on to serve as ambassador to the Bahamas (1989-1994). He is often remembered as the senator who was saved from choking to death by Senator John Kerry. Hecht died of prostate cancer in 2006.
Bryan went on to win reelection in 1994 and retired from the senate in 2000. His seat was picked up by Republican congressman John Ensign, who in turn resigned in disgrace in 2011. Governor Sandoval appointed Republican congressman Dean Heller to fill the seat. The fall general election will be a face off between the appointed Heller and Democratic congresswoman Shelley Berkley.
Washington - Slade Gorton(R) vs. Mike Lowry(D)
Republican Senator Dan Evans had decided to retire after serving a little more than a single term in the senate and the resulting open seat was heavily targeted between both parties. Oddly enough, the two candidates running for the open seat had each previously lost an election to senate before. Republicans nominated former Senator Slade Gordon, who had been unseated in the 1986 election by Democrat Brock Adams. Democrats nominated congressman Mike Lowry who had previously lost a special election senate race to Republican Dan Evans in 1983. Despite Dukakis winning the state with 50.05%-48.46%, Gorton narrowly beat out Lowry 51.09% to 48.91%.
Where are they now: Gorton went onto reelection in 1994, but was defeated by former Democratic Congresswoman Maria Cantwell in 2000. Cantwell, who is up for reelection this fall, seems all but assured of returning to the senate with little serious Republican opposition.
Arizona - Sen. Dennis DeConcini(D) vs. Keith DeGreen(R)
Two term Democratic Senator Dennis DeConcini faced little opposition from Republicans for a 3rd term. In fact no big names emerged to challenge the senator, and thus Republicans were left with businessman Keith DeGreen. DeConcini cruised to an easy reelection by winning a 56.71% to 41.05% margin over DeGreene while Bush also scored a landslide victory (59.95%-38.74%). This was the last time a Democrat was elected to the senate in Arizona.
Where are they now: DeConcini became embroiled in a savings and loan scandal as a member of the Keating 5. He chose not run for reelection in 1994 and his seat was taken over by Republican John Kyl. In 1995 President Clinton appointed DeConcini to the Board of Directors of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, where he served till 1999. In 2006 Governor Janet Napolitano appointed DeConcini to serve as one of the Arizona board of Regents, where his term expires in 2014.
Senator John Kyl is retiring this year, setting the stage for competitive open race between former Democratic Surgeon General of the United States, Richard Carmona, and Republican congressman, Jeff Flake.
Hawaii - Sen. Spark Matsunaga(D) vs. Maria M. Hustace(R)
The venerable 2 term Democratic Senator, Spark Matsunaga, faced little trouble running for reelection in the largely Democratic state of Hawaii. He was known for his sense of humor.
One famous incident occurred involved Matsunaga and then-Secretary of State Alexander Haig at a White House reception for Japanese Prime Minister Zenko Suzuki in 1981. Haig reportedly mistook Matsunaga for a member of the Japanese delegation and asked if he spoke English. Matsunaga replied, "Yes, Mr. Secretary, I do — and I had the honor of voting for your confirmation the other day."Republicans settled on 70 year old cattle rancher Maria Hustace. But with little name recognition and the Democratic nature of Hawaii, Hustace faced near impossible odds of winning. Matsunaga was reelected in a massive landslide, winning 76.55% of the vote to Hustace's 20.68%. This was the second highest vote percentage of the election cycle, behind only the Maine senate race. Dukakis won the state 54.27%-44.75%.
Where are they now: Matsunaga died of prostate cancer in 1990. He was replaced by Democratic congressman Daniel Akaka. With Akaka retiring, the open senate race will be decided between Democratic congresswoman Mazie Hirono and former Republican governor Linda Lingle. Hirono is widely expected to win the seat, which would make her the first Buddhist in the senate.
Hustace attempted to run for the 1990 special election to replace Matsunaga, but lost the primary to Republican congresswoman Pat Saiki. In 1994 Hustace then ran as the Republican Senate candidate against Senator Akaka but lost again in a landslide. Maria Hustace passed away in 2007 at the age of 89.
New Mexico - Sen. Jeff Bingaman(D) vs. Bill Valentine(R)
Freshman Democratic Senator Jeff Bingaman was thought to face a strong challenge from Republicans, but no big name candidates entered the race. Instead the Republican nomination went to small time state senator, Bill Valentine. Valentine had little name recognition and funding which resulted in an easy victory for Bingaman, who cruised to a 63.31%-36.69% victory. Voters once again were amenable to splitting tickets as Bush won the state 51.86%-46.90%
Where are they now: Bingaman won 3 more terms to the senate easily (1994,2000, 2006) and is retiring at the end of his current term. The open seat race will feature Democratic congressman Martin Heinrich and former Republican congresswoman Heather Wilson. Heinrich remains the favorite to win as the state demographics continue to trend toward Democrats.
Utah - Sen. Orrin Hatch(R) vs. Brian Moss(D)
Two term Republican Senator Hatch faced the son of the senator(Frank Moss) he had defeated in 1976. Despite the well known name, Democratic candidate Brian Moss had an uphill battle ahead of him. Utah was and still is a very Republican state. There was little doubt that Bush would triumph in the state. As expected, Hatch won a 3rd term with 67.13%-31.74% margin over Moss and Bush won with a similar vote percentage (66.22%-32.05%)
Where are they now: Hatch continued to easily win reelection in the reliably Republican state. In his most recent election Hatch was more concerned about losing the primary than the general. But seeing as he has now won his party nomination, he is all but assured of winning a 7th term. With the defeat of Richard Lugar (who also came to the senate in the same year), Hatch will be the most senior Republican Senator and the next potential President Pro Tempore (should Republicans reclaim control of the chamber). Hatch must continue serving through 2018 to break Senator Ted Steven's record as the longest serving Republican senator.
Wyoming - Sen. Malcolm Wallop(R) vs. John Vinich(D)
Two term Republican Senator Malcolm Wallop came from a similar background as Senator Hatch. Both had defeated incumbent Democratic senators in 1976. Their states were both safely Republican at the presidential level. So not many Democrats were hopeful at the possibility of unseating Wallop. While Democrats had fared well in winning the governorship,they had come up short running for the senate (Democrats had not won a senate election since 1970)
This year the Democratic nomination went to a fiery populist state senator by the name of John P. Vinich. He had made a name for himself as being the youngest state legislator. He was originally elected to the state house from 1974-1982 and then moved up to the state senate in 1982. He was known for supporting American Indians and the less fortunate. Running a hard fought campaign against all odds, Vinich gave the conservative Malcolm Wallop the closest election of his life. Vinich lost the senate campaign by a mere 1,322 votes (49.64%-50.37%). Had it not been for Bush's massive landslide in the state (60.53%-38.01%), Vinich very likely could have been elected to the senate. This election the most recent best showing for a Democratic senate candidate since Gale McGee won reelection in 1970.
Where are the now: Wallop retired in 1994 and Republican congressman, Craig Thomas won the seat. Wallop passed away in 2011, outliving his successor, Craig Thomas(who passed on in 2007). Republican John Barrasso currently holds the senate seat, and faces little competition in the fall.
Vinich continued to serve in the state senate. In 1989 he ran in the special election to replace congressman Dick Cheney, but lost the race by 10 points. In 1998 Vinich retired from the state senate to run for Governor. He was defeated by incumbent Republican governor Jim Geringer, garnering only 40% of the vote. Vinich died in his sleep in 2004. For more information about him you can go here and here.
Montana - Sen. John Melcher(D) vs. Conrad Burns(R) REP PICKUP
Two term Democratic senator John Melcher originally was the favorite to win a 3rd term. Despite Montana largely supporting Republicans at the presidential level, no Republican had been elected to the senate since 1946. Republicans nominated military veteran and member of Yellowstone County Commission, Conrad Burns. Initially Burns didn't seem to be much of a threat as he had no political experience. Melcher campaigned by running his classic campaign advertising, which included a "moo cows for Melcher" ad that had worked well for him in his previous election. Burns on the other hand turned to presidential candidate Bush, who came out to campaign for him. Seeing as Bush was expected to win the state, Burns worked up a strategy of tying himself to the popular Bush. In the end the tactic worked as Burns narrowly unseated Melcher (51.87%-48.13%). Bush won the state with a similar margin (52.07%-46.20%)
Where are they Now: Melcher went into political retirement following his senate loss. Though on April 2, 2008 Melcher endorsed Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States.
Burns went on to easily win reelection in the 1994 Republican wave. In 2000 he faced stiff competition from future governor, Brian Schweitzer. Burns relied on George W. Bush's coattails to carry him to a narrow victory. In 2006 Burns lost to Democratic state senate president, John Tester. This year Tester faces a tough fight against Republican congressman, Denny Rehberg.
Video Summary: It appears CNN was a bit off in the Montana and Wyoming races