One-Senator Loss in November Matched Post-World War II Low

Photograph by Gretchen Ertl/AP Photo

Sen. Scott Brown after voting in Wrentham, Mass., on Nov. 6, 2012.

One defining characteristic of the 2012 election was that nine in 10 members of Congress who wanted new terms on Nov. 6 were successful, even as approval of Congress was at or near record lows.

Scott Brown, a Massachusetts Republican, was the only senator defeated for re-election on Nov. 6, tying a post-World War II record low of just one senator losing in the November general election.

Here are the five times in the 33 election years from 1946 to 2010 in which just one senator was beaten in the general election:

  • 2004: Tom Daschle, a three-term South Dakota Democrat, the Senate minority leader and a former majority leader, lost to former Rep. John Thune.
  • 1996: Larry Pressler, a three-term South Dakota Republican, fell to Rep. Tim Johnson.
  • 1990: Rudy Boschwitz, a two-term Minnesota Republican, was defeated by Paul Wellstone, a political science professor.
  • 1966: Paul Douglas, a three-term Illinois Democrat, lost to Chuck Percy, a business executive. (Percy’s son-in-law, Jay Rockefeller, is a Democratic senator from West Virginia.)
  • 1960: J. Allen Frear, a two-term Delaware Democrat, was unseated by Gov. Caleb Boggs. (In 1972, Boggs was unseated by a 29-year-old Democratic lawyer named Joe Biden.)

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