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1994 United States Senate election in Washington

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

United States Senate election in Washington, 1994

← 1988 November 7, 1994 2000 →
Slade Gorton, official Senate photo portrait.jpg
Ron Sims official portrait.jpg
Nominee Slade Gorton Ron Sims
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 947,821 752,352
Percentage 55.8% 44.3%

Washington Senate Election Results by County, 1994.svg
County Results

Gorton:      50-60%      60-70%      70-80%

Sims:      50–60%

U.S. Senator before election

Slade Gorton

Elected U.S. Senator

Slade Gorton

The 1994 United States Senate election in Washington was held November 7, 1994. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Slade Gorton won re-election to a second consecutive term. As of 2019, this is the last Senate election in Washington won by a Republican and by a male candidate.


Incumbent Slade Gorton was first elected U.S. Senator from Washington in 1980. Gorton narrowly lost his re-election bid in 1986. In 1988, Gorton successfully ran for the state's other Senate seat.

Leading up to the 1994 U.S. Senate elections, Gorton was considered one of the most vulnerable of the Republican incumbents. Democrats had swept the statewide elections in 1992—winning the presidential, gubernatorial, and U.S. Senate races.[1]

Democratic primary

Many prominent Washington Democrats declined to contest the seat. Campaign analyst Charlie Cook of The Cook Political Report wrote that "the real top-notch folks just aren't running." Seattle mayor Norm Rice was encouraged by President Bill Clinton to run, but opted to stay in his position as mayor. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee unsuccessfully urged members of the state's U.S. House delegation to run.[1]

Ron Sims, King County Councilman, won the crowded Democratic primary with 18% of the vote. News anchor Mike James came in second with 15%; all other candidates received less than 5%.[2]




Republican primary

Incumbent Slade Gorton faced no serious competition for the Republican nomination. Gorton won the primary with 52% of the vote. No other Republican candidate received any significant amount of support.[2]



Despite serving 12 years in the U.S. Senate, Gorton campaigned in 1994 as an outsider candidate.[3][4] He told crowds at campaign rallies: "If you want more of what you're getting from Washington, D.C., send one of my opponents. If you want a different direction, give a voice to balance by sending me back to the Senate."[5] He gained support among agricultural, logging, and mining groups in Eastern Washington for his criticism of federal regulations. Gorton called for opening up more federal forests to logging and changes the Endangered Species Act.[5]

Sims campaigned in support of the Clinton administration. He accused Gorton of obstructing President Clinton's healthcare and crime reforms.[2] The Sims campaign also attempted to portray Gorton as out of touch with the average Washingtonian.[4] Sims was the first African American U.S. Senate candidate in state history to advance to the general election, although the issue of race was rarely addressed during the campaign.[4]


General election results[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Slade Gorton (incumbent) 947,821 55.8% +4.71%
Democratic Ron Sims 752,352 44.3% -4.61%
Majority 195,469 11.5% +155,293
Turnout 1,700,173 -148,369

See also


  1. ^ a b Lynch, Jim (February 24, 1994). "Gorton gets head start in 1994 Senate race". The Spokesman-Review. Archived from the original on September 30, 2018. Retrieved September 30, 2018 – via HighBeam Research.
  2. ^ a b c "Sims wins close race, zeros in on Gorton". Kitsap Sun. September 21, 1994. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  3. ^ Ammons, David (June 5, 1994). "Slade Gorton Grapples for Elusive Senate Seat". Kitsap Sun. Associated Press. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "Landslide victory over Sims for Gorton". Kitsap Sun. Associated Press. November 9, 1994. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Camden, Jim (September 16, 1994). "Gorton seeks image as tough pragmatist; Incumbent senator criticizes government". The Spokesman-Review. Archived from the original on September 30, 2018. Retrieved September 30, 2018 – via HighBeam Research.
  6. ^ "Elections Search Results - November 1994 General". Washington Secretary of State. Retrieved September 30, 2018.

External links

This page was last edited on 18 September 2019, at 14:31
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