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1975 United States Senate elections

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In this special election, the winner was elected to the 95th United States Congress after January 3, 1975.

State Incumbent Results Candidates
Senator Party Electoral history
New Hampshire
(Class 3)
Norris Cotton Republican 1954 (Special)
1974 (Retired)
1975 (Appointed)
Interim appointee retired.
New senator elected September 16, 1975.
Democratic gain.

New Hampshire (Special)

New Hampshire election

← 1974 September 16, 1975 1980 →
John A. Durkin.jpg
Nominee John A. Durkin Louis C. Wyman
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 140,778 113,007
Percentage 53.62% 43.04%

U.S. Senator before election

Norris Cotton

Elected U.S. Senator

John A. Durkin

As a last option to the disputed 1974 election, John A. Durkin petitioned the Senate, which had a 60-vote Democratic majority, to review the case, based on the Constitutional provision that each house of Congress is the final arbiter of elections to that body.

On January 13, 1975, the day before the new Congress convened, the Senate Rules Committee tried unsuccessfully to resolve the matter. Composed of five Democrats and three Republicans, the Rules Committee deadlocked 4–4 on a proposal to seat Wyman pending further review. Democrat James Allen voted with the Republicans on grounds that Wyman had presented proper credentials.

The full Senate took up the case on January 14, with Wyman and Durkin seated at separate tables at the rear of the chamber. Soon, the matter was returned to the Rules Committee, which created a special staff panel to examine 3,500 questionable ballots that had been shipped to Washington. Following this review, the Rules Committee sent a report of 35 disputed points in the election to the full Senate, which spent the next six weeks debating the issue, but resolved only one of the 35 points in dispute. Republicans successfully filibustered the seating of Durkin.[1]

Facing deadlock with the August recess approaching, The Washington Post ran an editorial on July 28 charging that it would be "incredible" if the Senate were to "go on vacation for a month without settling the New Hampshire Senate election case."[2] The Post suggested that Wyman and Durkin themselves should try to reach some agreement to settle the matter. Following up on the suggestion, Louis Wyman wrote to Durkin that day, urging him to support a new, special election. Durkin initially refused, but then on July 29, reversed his earlier position, and announced to a New Hampshire television audience his intention to agree to the new election.[3] The next morning, July 30, he reported this change to the Democratic leadership, thus relieving the Senate from further deliberations on the topic.

Later that same day, the Senate voted 71–21 to declare the seat vacant as of August 8. Governor Thomson this time appointed former Senator Norris Cotton to hold the seat temporarily. New Hampshire then arranged to hold a special election.

The special election was held on September 16, 1975. Widespread attention in the media resulted in a record-breaking turnout, which gave the election to Durkin by a 27,000-vote margin.[1][4]

1975 United States Senate Special Election in New Hampshire
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic John A. Durkin 140,778 53.62%
Republican Louis Wyman (Disputed Incumbent) 113,007 43.04%
American Independent Carmen C. Chimento 8,787 3.35%
Majority 27,771 10.58%
Turnout 262,572
Democratic gain from Republican


  1. ^ a b "Message from New Hampshire". Time. September 29, 1975.
  2. ^ Glass, Andrew (July 29, 2015). "Closest election in Senate annals prompts 'do-over'". Politico.
  3. ^ Wermiel, Stephen (July 30, 1975). "Durkin reverses, asks new N.H. vote". The Boston Globe.
  4. ^ "Toledo Blade - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved February 18, 2017.
This page was last edited on 6 December 2019, at 13:29
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