A Potentially Record-Breaking Number of New Senators

With the likely defeat of Senator Lisa Murkowski in yesterday’s Alaska Republican Senate Primary, there will be at least fifteen new senators elected this November. This is the highest number of new senators in any election since 1980 when 18 new senators were elected.

Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, and West Virginia all have senators who are either retiring, or have been defeated in the primaries. In addition, at least eight other senators have serious challenges to re-election in November: Lincoln-AR, Boxer-CA, Bennet-CO, Vitter-LA, Reid-NV, Burr-NC, Murray-WA and Feingold-WI.

If at least six of these incumbents are defeated in November, there will be the biggest change in personnel in the U.S. Senate since popular vote for senators was instituted in 1913. The most new senators in one election was 21 in 1946, with two of those senators having previously served. The most first-time senators elected in one election was 20 in 1978. Both of these marks could be broken this year.

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