United States Senate elections, 1940

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United States Senate elections, 1940
United States
← 1938 November 5, 1940[1] 1942 →

36 of the 96 seats in the United States Senate
49 seats were needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party Third party
  AlbenBarkley.jpg Charles mcnary.jpg
Leader Alben Barkley Charles McNary
Party Democratic Republican Progressive
Leader's seat Kentucky Oregon Wisconsin
Last election 69 seats 23 seats 1 seat
Seats before 69 25 1
Seats won 66 28 1
Seat change Decrease 3 Increase 4 Steady
Popular vote 19,715,831 19,831,926 605,609
Percentage 47.5% 47.8% 1.5%

US 1940 senate election map.svg
  Republican hold
  Republican gain
  Democratic hold
  Democratic gain
  Progressive hold

Majority Leader before election

Alben Barkley

Elected Majority Leader

Alben Barkley

The United States Senate elections of 1940 coincided with the election of Franklin Roosevelt to his third term as President.

Change in Senate composition

Senate composition before the elections

D8 D7 D6 D5 D4 D3 D2 D1
D9 D10 D11 D12 D13 D14 D15 D16 D17 D18
D28 D27 D26 D25 D24 D23 D22 D21 D20 D19
D29 D30 D31 D32 D33 D34 D35 D36 D37 D38
D48 D47 D46 D45 D44 D43 D42 D41 D40 D39
D49 ← Majority
D50 D51 D52 D53 D54 D55 D56 D57 D58
D68 D67 D66 D65 D64 D63 D62 D61 D60 D59
D69 FL1 R24 R23 R22 R21 R20 R19 R18 R17
R7 R8 R9 R10 R11 R12 R13 R14 R15 R16
R6 R5 R4 R3 R2 R1 I1 P1

Senate composition as a result of the elections

D8 D7 D6 D5 D4 D3 D2 D1
D9 D10 D11 D12 D13 D14 D15 D16 D17 D18
D28 D27 D26 D25 D24 D23 D22 D21 D20 D19
D29 D30 D31 D32 D33 D34 D35 D36 D37 D38
D48 D47 D46 D45 D44 D43 D42 D41 D40 D39
D49 ← Majority
D50 D51 D52 D53 D54 D55 D56 D57 D58
R27+ R28+ D66+ D65O D64O D63O D62O D61 D60 D59
R26+ R25+ R24@ R23O R22O R21O R20 R19 R18 R17
R7 R8 R9 R10 R11 R12 R13 R14 R15 R16
R6 R5 R4 R3 R2 R1 I1 P1
D# Democratic
FL# Farmer–Labor
I# Independent
P# Progressive
R# Republican
Incumbent re-elected
O Party hold: New senator elected from same party
+ Party gain: New senator elected from different party
@ Party gain: Incumbent elected from a different party


Although Roosevelt was re-elected, support for his administration had dropped somewhat after eight years, and the Republican opposition gained three seats from the Democrats. However, the New Dealers regained firm control of both the US House of Representative and US Senate because Progressives dominated the election.[2] The Minnesota Farmer–Labor Party also disappeared from the Senate, as Henrik Shipstead joined the Republican party and Ernest Lundeen had died during the preceding term.

Gains and losses

Incumbent John G. Townsend, Jr. (R-DE) was defeated by a Democrat, but Republicans defeated two incumbents James M. Slattery (D-IL) and Sherman Minton (D-IN), and took two open seats in Nebraska and Ohio.

Notable frehmen were future Governor of Arizona Ernest W. McFarland (D-AZ), future Commissioner of Baseball Happy Chandler (D-KY) and future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harold H. Burton (R-OH).

Senate contests in 1940

Separate elections

Date State Incumbent Party Result Candidates
November 22, 1940 Illinois
Special: Class 2
James M. Slattery Democratic Appointee lost election to finish term
Republican gain
C. Wayland Brooks (Republican) 50.1%
James M. Slattery (Democratic) 49.6%

November 5 elections

State Incumbent Party Result Candidates
Arizona Henry F. Ashurst Democratic Lost renomination
Democratic hold
Ernest W. McFarland (Democratic) 71.6%
I. A. Jennings (Republican) 28.0%
A. Walter Gehres (Prohibition) 0.4%
California Hiram W. Johnson Republican Re-elected Hiram W. Johnson (Republican) 82.5%
Fred Dyster (Prohibition) 13.5%
Anita Whitney (Communist) 3.6%
Connecticut Francis T. Maloney Democratic Re-elected Francis T. Maloney (Democratic) 53.2%
Paul L. Cornell (Republican) 45.7%
Delaware John G. Townsend, Jr. Republican Lost re-election
Democratic gain
James M. Tunnell (Democratic) 50.6%
John G. Townsend, Jr. (Republican) 47.3%
William F Allen (Liberal Democratic) 2.1%
Florida Charles O. Andrews Democratic Re-elected Charles O. Andrews (Democratic)
Special: Class 2
John W. Thomas Republican Appointee elected to finish term John W. Thomas (Republican) 53.0%
Glen H. Taylor (Democratic) 47.1%
Indiana Sherman Minton Democratic Lost re-election
Republican gain
Raymond E. Willis (Republican) 50.5%
Sherman Minton (Democratic) 49.1%
Carl W. Thompson (Prohibition) 0.3%
John H. Kingsbury (Socialist) 0.1%
Special: Class 2
Happy Chandler Democratic Appointee elected to finish term Happy Chandler (Democratic) 58.3%
Walter B. Smith (Republican) 41.7%
Maine Frederick Hale Republican Retired
Republican hold
Ralph O. Brewster (Republican) 58.6%
Louis J. Brann (Democratic) 41.3%
Maryland George L. P. Radcliffe Democratic Re-elected George L. P. Radcliffe (Democratic) 64.7%
Harry W. Nice (Republican) 33.5%
Massachusetts David I. Walsh Democratic Re-elected David I. Walsh (Democratic) 55.6%
Henry Parkman, Jr. (Republican) 42.8%
Michigan Arthur H. Vandenberg Republican Re-elected Arthur H. Vandenberg (Republican) 52.7%
Frank Fitzpatrick (Democratic) 47.0%
Minnesota Henrik Shipstead Farmer–Labor Re-elected as a Republican
Republican gain
Henrik Shipstead (Republican) 53.0%
Elmer Austin Benson (Farmer–Labor) 25.7%
John E. Regan (Democratic) 20.6%
Mississippi Theodore G. Bilbo Democratic Re-elected Theodore G. Bilbo (Democratic)
Missouri Harry S. Truman Democratic Re-elected Harry S. Truman (Democratic) 51.2%
Manvel H. Davis (Republican) 48.7%
W. F. Rinck (Socialist) 0.1%
Theodore Baeff (Socialist Labor) 0.01%
Montana Burton K. Wheeler Democratic Re-elected Burton K. Wheeler (Democratic) 73.4%
E. K. Cheadle (Republican) 26.6%
Nebraska Edward R. Burke Democratic Lost renomination
Republican gain
Hugh Butler (Republican) 57.0%
R. L. Cochran (Democratic) 41.5%
Nevada Key Pittman Democratic Re-elected Key Pittman (Democratic) 60.5%
Samuel Platt (Republican) 39.5%
New Jersey W. Warren Barbour Republican Re-elected W. Warren Barbour (Republican) 55.1%
James H. R. Cromwell (Democratic) 44.1%
New Mexico Dennis Chavez Democratic Re-elected Dennis Chavez (Democratic) 56.0%
Albert K. Mitchell (Republican) 44.1%
New York James M. Mead Democratic Re-elected James M. Mead (Democratic) 53.3%
Bruce Barton (Republican) 46.7%
North Dakota Lynn J. Frazier Republican Lost renomination
Republican hold
William Langer (Republican) 38.1%
William Lemke (Independent) 35.1%
Charles V. Vogel (Democratic) 26.5%
Ohio Vic Donahey Democratic Retired
Republican gain
Harold H. Burton (Republican) 52.4%
John McSweeney (Democratic) 47.6%
Pennsylvania Joseph F. Guffey Democratic Re-elected Joseph F. Guffey (Democratic) 51.8%
Jay Cooke (Republican) 47.4%
Rhode Island Peter G. Gerry Democratic Re-elected Peter G. Gerry (Democratic) 55.2%
James O. McManus (Republican) 44.8%
Tennessee Kenneth D. McKellar Democratic Re-elected Kenneth D. McKellar (Democratic) 70.8%
Howard H. Baker, Sr. (Republican) 29.2%
Texas Tom Connally Democratic Re-elected Tom Connally (Democratic) 94.3%
George I. Shannon (Republican) 5.7%
Utah William H. King Democratic Lost renomination
Democratic hold
Abe Murdock (Democratic) 62.9%
Philo T. Farnsworth, Jr. (Republican) 37.2%
Vermont Warren R. Austin Republican Re-elected Warren R. Austin (Republican) 66.5%
Ona S. Searles (Democratic) 33.6%
Special: Class 3
Ernest W. Gibson, Jr. Republican Appointee retired
Republican hold
George D. Aiken (Republican) 61.6%
Herbert B. Comings (Democratic) 38.4%
Virginia Harry F. Byrd Democratic Re-elected Harry F. Byrd (Democratic) 93.3
Washington Lewis B. Schwellenbach Democratic Retired
Democratic hold
Monrad Wallgren (Democratic) 54.2%
Stephen F. Chadwick (Republican) 45.8%
West Virginia Rush D. Holt Democratic Lost renomination
Democratic hold
Harley M. Kilgore (Democratic) 56.3%
Thomas Sweeney (Republican) 43.7%
Wisconsin Robert M. La Follette, Jr. Progressive Re-elected Robert M. La Follette, Jr. (Progressive) 45.3%
Fred H. Clausen (Republican) 41.4%
James E. Finnegan (Democratic) 13.2%
Wyoming Joseph C. O'Mahoney Democratic Re-elected Joseph C. O'Mahoney (Democratic) 58.7%
Milward Simpson (Republican) 41.3%

See also