NPR logo The Last 25 Senate Incumbents Defeated In Primaries (1962-Present)

The Last 25 Senate Incumbents Defeated In Primaries (1962-Present)

With at least four senators this year finding themselves in some degree of difficulty in winning the nomination of their party — Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Arlen Specter (D-PA) and John McCain (R-AZ) — I thought this might be a good time to present a list of all the senators who in the past half-century who lost their primaries (asterisk denotes incumbents who were appointed, not elected):

2006 (1):  Joe Lieberman (D-CT) — lost to Ned Lamont (Lieberman then ran and won as an independent, but he caucuses with Dems).

2002 (1): Bob Smith (R-NH) – lost to John Sununu (GOP retained seat in November).

1996 (1): Sheila Frahm (R-KS)* - lost to Sam Brownback (GOP retained seat).

1992 (1): Alan Dixon (D-IL) – lost to Carol Moseley Braun (Dems retained seat).

1980 (4): Donald Stewart (D-AL) – lost to Jim Folsom Jr. (GOP picked up seat);

Mike Gravel (D-AK) – lost to Clark Gruening (GOP picked up seat);

Dick Stone (D-FL) – lost to Bill Gunter (GOP picked up seat);

Jacob Javits (R-NY) – lost to Al D'Amato (GOP retained seat).

1978 (3): Maryon Allen (D-AL)* - lost to Donald Stewart (Dems retained seat);

Paul Hatfield (D-MT)*; lost to Max Baucus (Dems retained seat);

Clifford Case (R-NJ) – lost to Jeffrey Bell (Dems picked up seat).

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1974 (2): J. William Fulbright (D-AR) – lost to Dale Bumpers (Dems retained seat);

Howard Metzenbaum (D-OH)* - lost to John Glenn (Dems retained seat).

1972 (2): David Gambrell (D-GA)* - lost to Sam Nunn (Dems retained seat);

B. Everett Jordan (D-NC) – lost to Nick Galifianakis (GOP picked up seat).

1970 (1): Ralph Yarborough (D-TX) – lost to Lloyd Bentsen (Dems retained seat).

1968 (4): Ernest Gruening (D-AK) – lost to Mike Gravel (Dems retained seat);

Thomas Kuchel (R-CA) – lost to Max Rafferty (Dems picked up seat);

Edward Long (D-MO) – lost to Thomas Eagleton (Dems retained seat);

Frank Lausche (D-OH) – lost to John Gilligan (GOP picked up seat).

1966 (3): Donald Russell (D-SC)* - lost to Ernest Hollings (Dems retained seat);

Ross Bass (D-TN) – lost to Frank Clement (GOP picked up seat);

A. Willis Robertson (D-VA) – lost to William Spong (Dems retained seat).

1964 (1): J. Howard Edmondson (D-OK)* – lost to Fred Harris (Dems retained seat).

1962 (1): Maurice Murphy (R-NH)* - lost to Perkins Bass (Dems picked up seat).