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1946 United States Senate election in Maryland

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1946 United States Senate election in Maryland

← 1940 November 5, 1946 1952 →
Governor herbert oconor of maryland.jpg
D John Markey.jpg
Nominee Herbert O'Conor D. John Markey
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 237,232 235,000
Percentage 50.24% 49.76%

U.S. senator before election

George L. P. Radcliffe

Elected U.S. Senator

Herbert O'Conor

The 1946 United States Senate election in Maryland was held on November 5, 1946.

Incumbent Democratic Senator George L. P. Radcliffe ran for a third consecutive term in office, but lost the Democratic primary to Governor of Maryland Herbert O'Conor. O'Conor narrowly defeated Republican D. John Markey to win the open seat.

O'Conor's general election victory and the subsequent recount by a federal Senate Subcommittee were controversial, with each party claiming partisan manipulation by the other.

Democratic primary



1946 Democratic U.S. Senate primary[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Herbert O'Conor 118,695 52.89%
Democratic George L. P. Radcliffe (inc.) 96,051 42.80%
Democratic John Emerson LaVeck 9,670 4.31%
Total votes 224,416 100.00%

Republican primary



1946 Republican U.S. Senate primary[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican D. John Markey 26,366 50.66%
Republican Joseph Allison Wilmer 19,087 36.67%
Republican Roscoe F. Walter 6,596 12.67%
Total votes 52,049 100.00%

General election


1946 U.S. Senate election in Maryland[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Herbert O'Conor 237,232 50.24% Decrease14.50
Republican D. John Markey 235,000 49.76% Increase16.28
Total votes 472,232 100.00%

After the vote, both candidates claimed victory,[4][5] before the official count declared O'Conor the winner by a margin of 2,232 out of more than 470,000 votes cast.[6] On December 10, 1946, Markey requested the U.S. Senate Special Committee to Investigate Senatorial Campaign Expenditures (now controlled by Republicans after their landslide victories in the 1946 elections) conduct a recount in Baltimore City and Montgomery County, which had used electronic voting machines.[6] He also alleged the O'Conor campaign had committed financing violations.[6] The committee agreed because Maryland was unable to conduct its own official recount and found a variation of about 400 votes.[6] The committee then sought to survey five additional counties that were likely to have irregularities.[6] Markey requested a full recount of the entire state.[6]

In the meantime, O'Conor was sworn into the Senate seat on January 4, 1947, after a slight delay.[6] Throughout the recounts, Markey implored the process be done quickly, and implied that the election evidence could go missing at any moment. In May 1947, upon completion of the recount of the five additional counties, O'Conor still maintained a margin of 1,465 votes.[6]

In the aftermath, Markey complained of the O'Conor administration's control of the state government, the Democratic Party's control of the state since 1864, and law enforcement's failure to prevent polling abuses.[6] By contrast, Democratic Maryland senator Millard Tydings alleged partisan bias on the part of the Republican-led investigating subcommittee.[7] The committee completed its full recount of the state in January 1948, and concluded that O'Conor had secured a 1,624-vote majority.[6]


  1. ^ "MD US Senate - D Primary". OurCampaigns. Retrieved 19 June 2020.
  2. ^ "MD US Senate - R Primary". OurCampaigns. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  3. ^ "MD US Senate". OurCampaigns. Retrieved 20 Feb 2020.
  4. ^ House, Two Senate Seats Still in Doubt; Official Canvass May be Required To Decide Contests, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 7, 1946.
  5. ^ O'Conor Recount in Maryland Is Likely; Senate Group Urges It on Vote Charges, The New York Times, May 14, 1947.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j The Election Case of D. John Markey v. Herbert R. O'Conor of Maryland (1948), United States Senate, retrieved June 2, 2010.
  7. ^ Probe Hit By Tydings; Maryland Election Investigation Draws Senator's Comment, The Reading Eagle, July 19, 1947.
This page was last edited on 17 January 2021, at 12:58
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