It is not a rarity to find a cycle with more than one state hosting elections for both U.S. Senate seats on the autumn ballot

Thad Cochran’s announcement Monday that he would resign a shade over half-way through his seventh term on April 1st means the political chess moves determining Mississippi’s U.S. Senate elections in 2018 got even more interesting.

Just last week, Chris McDaniel stated he would challenge incumbent Republican Roger Wicker – a move that was not welcomed by the GOP establishment.

But now that Cochran is leaving early, McDaniel (who is also said to be interested in receiving an appointment to the seat) might choose to find an easier pathway to the senate running for an open seat in a special election.

Either way, Mississippi will be hosting U.S. Senate elections for both seats in November, joining Minnesota in what will be the 55th and 56th times in which states have simultaneously hosted elections for each of its U.S. Senate seats in the direct election era.

As Smart Politics reported in early December, in only eight of the previous 54 instances has a state’s electorate split its vote between two parties.

But it is not as unusual to see multiple states host such elections in a given cycle: the 2018 cycle is the 15th during which at least two states have held elections for both U.S. Senate seats.

In fact, there have been six cycles in which three states held such elections:

  • 1918: Idaho (won by Republican William Borah and Democrat John Nugent), Louisiana (Democrats Joseph Ransdell and Edward Gay), and New Hampshire (Democrat Henry Keyes and Republican George Moses)
  • 1934: Montana (Democrats Burton Wheeler and James Murray), New Mexico (Republican Bronson Cutting and Democrat Carl Hatch), and Tennessee (Democrats Kenneth McKellar and Natahan Bachman)
  • 1936: Florida (Democrats Claude Pepper and Charles Andrews), Iowa (Republican Clyde Herring and Democrat Guy Gillette), and New Mexico (Democrats Carl Hatch and Dennis Chavez)
  • 1950: Connecticut (Democrats Brien McMahon and William Benton), Idaho (Republicans Herman Welker and Henry Dworshak), and North Carolina (Democrats Clyde Hoey and Willis Smith)
  • 1954: Nebraska (Republicans Carl Curtis and Roman Hruska), New Hampshire (Republicans Styles Bridges and Norris Cotton), and North Carolina (Democrats W. Kerr Scott and Sam Ervin)
  • 1962: Idaho (Democrat Frank Church and Republican Len Jordan), Kansas (Republicans Frank Carlson and James Pearson), and New Hampshire (Republican Norris Cotton and Democrat Thomas McIntyre)

Eight other cycles have seen two states do so, including twice over the last 10 years:

  • 1916: Indiana (Republicans Harry New and James Watson) and Maine (Republicans Frederick Hale and Bert Fernald)
  • 1952: Connecticut (Republicans William Purtell and Prescott Bush) and Nebraska (Republicans Hugh Butler and Dwight Griswold)
  • 1956: Kentucky (Republicans Thurston Morton and John Cooper) and South Carolina (Democrats Olin Johnston and Strom Thurmond)
  • 1958: Alaska (Democrats Ernest Gruening and Bob Bartlett) and West Virginia (Democrats Robert Byrd and Jennings Randolph)
  • 1966: South Carolina (Republican Strom Thurmond and Democrat Ernest Hollings) and Virginia (Democrats William Spong and Harry Byrd, Jr.)
  • 1978: Alabama (Democrats Howell Heflin and Donald Stewart) and Minnesota (Republicans Rudy Boschwitz and Dave Durenberger)
  • 2008: Mississippi (Republicans Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker) and Wyoming (Republicans Mike Enzi and John Barrasso)
  • 2014: Oklahoma (Republicans Jim Inhofe and James Lankford) and South Carolina (Republicans Lindsay Graham and Tim Scott)

To date, five states have hosted elections for both U.S. Senate seats on the same day three times: Idaho (1918, 1950, 1962), Kansas (1930, 1962, 1996), New Hampshire (1918, 1954, 1962), South Carolina (1956, 1966, 2014), and Tennessee (1934, 1964, 1994).

Minnesota and Mississippi will join 11 other states that have done so twice: Alabama (1920, 1978), Colorado (1924, 1942), Connecticut (1950, 1952), Georgia (1914, 1932), Indiana (1916, 1926), Louisiana (1918, 1948), Nebraska (1952, 1954), New Mexico (1934, 1936), New York (1938, 2010), North Carolina (1950, 1954), and Virginia (1946, 1966).

Mississippi (2008, 2018) is the eighth state that will hold elections for both seats twice within 10 years along with Indiana (1916, 1926), New Mexico (1934, 1936), North Carolina (1950, 1954), Connecticut (1950, 1952), Nebraska (1952, 1954), New Hampshire (1954, 1962), and South Carolina (1956, 1966).

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.


  1. Nikoli Orr on March 6, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    1. “…said to be interested in receiving an appointment…” Sure, when pigs fly, or when hell freezes over, which ever happens later!
    2. One can not help wonder if the RESIGNING Senator Cochran (who, among many other long-serving officeholders, have had a curious tendency to characterize the departures prior to the expirations of their terms as “retiring”, instead of…) had deliberately timed his early departure announcement, just so that state Senator McDaniel, evidently still not a favourite of the party Establishment, would have a somewhat lesser chance of not being elected to the US Senate?

    • Dr. Eric Ostermeier on March 6, 2018 at 7:08 pm

      #2 – Shrewd observation. It seems a bit of a coincidence to announce it just a few days after McDaniel launches his bid against Sen. Wicker. Now he will seem more of an opportunist if he changes the seat for which he is running. I’m guessing Sen. Cochran let it breathe a few days, so as not to seem too vindictive against McDaniel (e.g. therefore not announcing last Friday).

  2. Dan Herlihy on March 10, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    #2 above concludes with a double negative.Presumably intended to read instead: ‘… a somewhat lesser chance of being elected to the US Senate?’

Leave a Comment