It has been 96 years since the last time a major party did not field a candidate in eight or more U.S. Senate races

democraticparty10.pngWith just a shade over 300 days remaining until Election Day, and months less until filing deadlines expire, major parties still have some leg work to do if they want to avoid a major embarrassment.

There are 35 general and special election races on the ballot this November.

However, according to FEC filings through Monday, in nearly one-quarter of these races candidates from one major party have filed a statement of candidacy for the race: Alabama, Idaho, Mississippi, and Wyoming have no Democratic filers and Delaware, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Rhode Island have yet to see a Republican file.

(Note: This list of eight states does not include states where candidates have filed to run, but are only in the “exploratory” phase (e.g. Democrat Chad Taylor in Kansas) or where candidates have filed but are otherwise not yet seemingly campaigning for the seat (e.g. Massachusetts Republican Gabriel Gomez filed to run for the 2014 contest on June 26th of last year – one day after his special election loss to Ed Markey)).

If that number seems large, it is, should it hold through the close of filing periods in coming months.

The only time a larger number of states had just one major party candidate on the ballot took place nearly a century ago – in 1918 with 10.

The next high water mark is seven states – in the 1930, 1936, 1942, and 1954 cycles.

By comparison, out of the 105 seats on the ballot during the 2008, 2010, and 2012 cycles, only three races featured just one major party candidate – in Arkansas (2008, no Republican), South Dakota (2010, no Democrat), and Vermont (2012, no Democrat).

In 2014, the prospect of one of the major parties not running a candidate in a U.S. Senate race would be a first in many of these states.

Democrats and Republicans have fielded candidates in all 187 general and special election contests for the upper legislative chamber that have been conducted in Delaware, Idaho, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Wyoming during the direct election era.

In Delaware, Republicans are still looking for a candidate to challenge one-term Democrat Chris Coons, who won a special election in 2010 to fill Joe Biden’s old seat.

Both parties have placed candidates on the ballot in all 36 races conducted since the state’s first popular vote contest in 1916.

The increased difficulty in recruiting a Republican candidate in the First State is understandable: Republicans have lost seven consecutive U.S. Senate contests in Delaware since William Roth won his fifth term in 1994 – adding up to the eighth biggest losing streak for the GOP across the nation.

The filing period in Delaware closes on July 8th.

Also out east, Rhode Island Republicans have yet to file a candidate to try to unseat three-term incumbent Jack Reed.

The GOP has lost the last four Senate contests in the state since Lincoln Chafee’s victory in 2000 – tied for the party’s 11th longest drought in the country.

All 35 U.S. Senate elections in state history have seen candidates from both major parties square off in the general election.

Rhode Island’s filing period ends June 25th.

Republicans have also not filed in Hawaii’s special election, where the Democratic battle between appointed Senator Brian Schatz and U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa has taken center stage.

The GOP has lost the last 15 U.S. Senate races – the party’s second worst streak in the nation, behind only West Virginia (21).

Republicans did not place a candidate on the ballot in one of the state’s 21 contests – in 1974, when Daniel Inouye won his third term.

The party has until June 3rd to file a candidate in the race.

New Jersey just had a special election last October – to fill the seat held by the deceased Frank Lautenberg.

Cory Booker will have a year under his belt when Garden State voters go to the polls once again – although no GOPer has yet stepped up to challenge the former Newark mayor.

Republicans have lost the last 14 U.S. Senate races in New Jersey – their third longest drought in the country – with the party’s last victory coming in 1972 with Clifford Case.

Both parties have appeared on each of the 39 general and special election ballots to date.

The state’s filing deadline is April 11th.

But Republicans aren’t alone in having difficulties finding candidates to run in each state.

Democrats have not had much success in Idaho U.S. Senate races over the last four decades but now, for the first time ever, they are at risk of not having a candidate on the ballot.

One-term Senator Jim Risch is the only candidate to have filed for the race thus far with just a shade over two months before the filing period ends on March 14th.

Republican and Democratic candidates have appeared on the ballot in each of the state’s 39 popular vote U.S. Senate contests – though that streak appears to be in jeopardy this cycle.

Have Democrats simply conceded Risch’s seat to the GOP?

Idaho currently has the fourth longest Democratic losing streak in the nation for senate races. Republicans have won each of the last 12 contests since Democrat Frank Church’s victory in 1974.

Democrats may have even greater difficulty in another western state.

While all of the attention in Wyoming in recent months has been on Liz Chaney’s (now aborted) challenge of fellow Republican Mike Enzi’s seat, the fact that no Democrat has filed for the race has largely gone unnoticed in this deep red state.

Democrats have run a candidate alongside Republicans in each of the Cowboy State’s 38 U.S. Senate races since the passage of the 17th Amendment.

That has been no small achievement in recent decades considering Wyoming is home to the Democratic Party’s second longest Senate losing streak in the nation at 15 consecutive races (behind only Kansas at 29).

The last Democrat to win a senate seat in Wyoming was Gale McGee back in 1970.

In fact, Wyoming Democrats have not held a seat in either chamber on Capitol Hill since at-large U.S. Representative Teno Roncalio resigned his seat on December 30, 1978 a few days before the end of his fifth and final term in the House – some 12,792 days ago and counting.

The Equality State’s filing deadline is May 30th.

The 2014 cycle might see another first: no Democrat on the ballot in Alabama.

Three-term Republican incumbent Jeff Sessions is currently the only candidate to have filed a statement of candidacy for the race.

Democrats have lost each of the last six races in the Yellowhammer State with their last victory back in 1992 when Richard Shelby won as a Democrat.

The party has fielded a candidate in all previous 38 contests held in the state during the direct election era.

Alabama’s filing deadline is April 4th.

Finally, like in Wyoming, Mississippi has received more attention for its intra-party GOP battle than its lack of a Democratic candidate.

Six-term incumbent Thad Cochran is facing a primary challenge from State Senator Chris McDaniel.

With less than two months left until the March 1st filing deadline, Mississippi Democrats are at risk for failing to field a candidate for the third time in the direct election era.

The party was also without a candidate in two previous contests featuring Cochran – in 1990, when he won his third term, and in 2002 when he won his fifth.

Magnolia State voters have had the choice of both Democratic and Republican candidates in just 17 of 36 U.S. Senate races (47.2 percent) – the second lowest rate in the nation behind only Louisiana (44.4 percent).

Mississippi is home to the fifth longest Democratic drought in the country at 11 consecutive races.

The last Democrat to win a senate race in the state was John Stennis in 1982.

Overall, both parties have fielded candidates in 1,685 of 1,827 popular vote U.S. Senate contests, or 92.2 percent of the time.

Democrats have not run a candidate in 25 of these races with Republicans failing to do so in 117 – with 112 of these coming in nine southern states: Louisiana (20), Georgia (19), Mississippi (17), South Carolina (13), Arkansas (12), Virginia (11), Alabama (10), Florida (seven), and North Carolina (three).

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.


  1. Ziad K Abdelnour on January 20, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    It will all depend on how the economy will turn around or not by then.

    So far, we are still very far from any real recovery

  2. Richard Paul Dembinsky on January 23, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    I have been trying for months in Florida to find candidates either Democratic or Independent to run for against incumbents like Dorothy Hukill (republican) and David Hood (Florida House); it is absolutely UNBELIEVABLE NO one wants to challenge a Republican.

    So while it hurts to spend money on a foolish campaign against an incumbent in Florida I will (fees for Florida Senate $1880 Governor $7838 and CFO $7738….) NO one wants to waste money….the election laws of Florida are fixed. ONLY Republicans can be listed at the top of ALL ballots in the State….that is at least a 10 percent advantage to Republicans.

    While Democrats are a few in Florida if YOU attempt to find a true Democrat that attempts to protect consumers from State of Florida laws designed to protect businesses and YOU will NEVER find a true Democrat.

    Charlie Crist is a Republican running as a Democrat…my what a waste of time…just vote for Honorable Rick Scott and expect the worst.

  3. Richard Paul Dembinsky on January 26, 2014 at 12:57 pm, is available free to any Republican, Democrat or Independent, to post information about new candidates (NO incumbents please). has an on line free book entitled Uncensored Social Currency by A.O.K.; a sister book of photos includes personal letters from Richard Nixon, Joe Lieberman, comments by Janet Reno, Jerry Brown etc. should someone want to see these photos including photos of 1000 Gore/Lieberman signs. Why am I saying these words?

    Simply if any other these previous “candidates” had a prayer……….YOU republican, Independent or democrat……..YOU could make a difference………Please allow me to help YOU get elected in YOUR State or in Washington. WE simply need NEW people to run this government before there is an American Spring.

    Enough is Enough

    The price of gasoline continues to rise an the worthless Obama President (who I voted for) has absolutely NOT one person telling him to release the 98,000,000 barrels of oil the American People are paying to store in salt mines in Louisiana. I voted for Obama and if he shows up in Florida to campaign for Charlie Crist for governor, I will write in Janet Reno name and hope she wins because I cannot live another 4 years with Obama damaging My life by allowing oil prices to continue to rise. The cost of heating my mother’s home in Pennsylvania has been directly and negatively impacted by the lack of any democrat willing to open his mouth to help the America Consumers. Hillary Clinton…YOU best not even think of wining Florida in 2016, I will not allow any democrat to again win Florida then go to Washington and for get about the American People.

    Enough is Enough……………Stand up Jerry Brown and run for President or if you have a California cousin that can speak as well as you; advance some NEW Presidential Candidate NOW. We still have 900 days of worthless Obama who never answers letters or emails; Charlie Crist give up on Obama is your only way to win the gubernatorial primary …YOU need to burn the clothes you had on when Obama hugged YOU.

    YOU, Charlie Crist must have your head stuck in a Polar Vortex if YOU do NOT see Independents are NOT happy with President Obama; should you campaign with President Obama, I may even have to vote for Honorable Rick Scott even if his attorney General was born in Madrid Spain and the only Flag he remembers was the one on the old ship that landed in St. Augustine.

    Please Janet Reno run for Governor……….YOU could beat Charlie Crist especially if I where your political T Shirt printed in Daytona Beach Dickerson center by YOUR sister; I will even open up the Janet Reno sealed package of Frisbee and throw it at Charlie Crist.

    Charlie Crist and Mr. Morgan the POT salesman from Orlando is enough to cause Charlie Crist to lose the gubernatorial primary….WATCH and see.

  4. Richard Paul Dembinsky on January 26, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Please Janet Reno run for Governor……….YOU could beat Charlie Crist especially if I WEAR your political T Shirt printed in Daytona Beach Dickerson center by YOUR sister; I will even open up the Janet Reno sealed package of Frisbee and throw it at Charlie Crist.

    Charlie Crist and Mr. Morgan the POT salesman from Orlando is enough to cause Charlie Crist to lose the gubernatorial primary….WATCH and see.

    NOW what do I have to do cut lawns to gather the $7838 to run against Charlie Crist?

    Someone PLEASE run for Governor of Florida we only have February, March, April and May to get You officially on the ballot before June 20th the last day for qualifying.

    I am willing to put my contribution next to ANYONE personal money to help pay the excessive qualifying fee.

    Election Laws in Florida created by Republican Charlie Crist put ONLY Republicans at the top of all ballots in Florida.

    State Senators like Dorothy Hukill have lived so long in Tallahassee she has not even seen how Port Orange roads are deteriorating all because of this stupid Conservative idea to save money. Compare Rick Scott’s decision not to have a bullet train in Florida, to the newly discovered Chris Christee of New Jersey giving back $3 Billion intended to have a new tunnel to replace the aging tunnels to New York City….oh, that is right Governor Cristee and Governor Scott are so much like I believe I will start referring to Governor Rick Scott as Governor Rick Sandy.

    Someone call NSA and pull my plug on complaining about Obama, Rick Scott, Charlie Crist and the bridgegate leader.

    Gore caused this just like he caused the Globe Warming that never happened.

    Honorable former Senator Joe Lieberman…..I am just hanging on can you not campaign for me to make up for all the time and money I spent to attempt to have YOU and the Globe Warming billion elected?

    Obama killed coal industry and NOW we are caught in a Political Polar Vortex………Living or attempting to make it while ONLY Republicans run the government.

    I want an apology from Gore and Lieberman. They allowed two wars excessive contributions to a country I cannot state because this rant will NOT be allowed to be posted.

    Freedom of Speech? Where?

    386 788 3885 ….all calls recorded by Republican technology and operated by Democratic Party NSA.

    Enough is Enough American Spring soon.

    UPDATES will be at and

Leave a Comment