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U.S. Senate election, 2004

Elections to the United States Senate will be held on November 2 2004. One-third of the seats of the Senate will be up for re-election. Since Senators are elected for six-year terms, those Senators elected in 1998 will be seeking re-election (or retiring) in 2004.

For the same date are scheduled:

as well as many state and local elections.

Table of contents
1 Major parties
2 Third parties
3 Minor parties
4 Senate contests in 2004

Major parties

The Senate is currently composed of 51 Republicanss, 48 Democratss, and 1 independent. The independent, James Jeffords of Vermont, is allied with the Democratic caucus. The Democrats thus need to make a net gain of two seats to gain control of the Senate.

It is considered almost certain, however, that the Democrats will lose the seat in South Carolina being vacated by retiring Democratic Senator Ernest Hollings. The seats now held by retiring Democrats in Florida (Bob Graham), Georgia (Zell Miller), Louisiana (John Breaux) and North Carolina (John Edwards) must also be considered vulnerable. The only southern Democrat seeking reelection to the Senate is Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas.

The only Republican seat clearly vulnerable is the seat in Illinois being vacated by Peter Fitzgerald. Most political observers believe that these circumstances make it unlikely that the Democrats will gain control of the Senate in 2004.

Third parties

The Libertarian Party will be contesting most of the seats. The Constitution and Green parties will also contest many of the seats. While none of these parties are yet strong enough to have a significant chance of winning in 2004, they often have enough support to swing elections. The Constitution party draws conservatives from the Republicans, the Greens draw liberals from the Democrats, while the Libertarians draw voters in favor of both social and economic freedom from both major parties. Libertarians can swing a close election either way depending on the particular politics of the other candidates and the issues at play in the particular election. It is possible that the Natural Law and Reform parties may contest several seats, though these two parties have both been waning in recent years. The last time a third party held a US Senate seat was 2002 (Minnesota).

Minor parties

Minor parties in a number of states will contest one or more Senate seats. Examples include the American First Party, the Labor Party, the Peace and Freedom Party, and the Socialist Workers Party. These parties are unlikely to overcome ballot access hurdles, so will have almost no chance of gaining any seats.

Senate contests in 2004

StateIncumbentPartyStatusPossible candidates (§ denotes declared candidates)
AlabamaRichard ShelbyRepublicanRunning for 4th termJim Folsom (Democrat)
AlaskaLisa MurkowskiRepublicanRunning for 1st full termTony Knowles (Democrat)
ArizonaJohn McCainRepublicanRunning for 4th termNo serious opposition
ArkansasBlanche LincolnDemocratRunning for 2nd termJim Holt (Republican)
CaliforniaBarbara BoxerDemocratRunning for 3rd termToni Casey (Republican)
James Gray (Libertarian)
Bill Jones (Republican)
Gail Lightfoot (Libertarian)
Rosario Marin (Republican)
Tony Strickland (Republican)
ColoradoBen Nighthorse CampbellRepublicanRunning for 3rd termNo clear opponent
ConnecticutChristopher DoddDemocratRunning for 5th termNo serious opposition
FloridaBob GrahamDemocratRetiringJohnnie Byrd § (Republican)
Betty Castor (Democrat)
Peter Deutsch (Democrat)
Larry Klayman (Republican)
Mel Martinez (Republican)
Bill McCollum (Republican)
Alex Penelas (Democrat)
Dan Webster (Republican)
GeorgiaZell MillerDemocratRetiringJim Marshall (Democrat)
Mac Collins (Republican)
Johnny Isakson (Republican)
HawaiiDaniel InouyeDemocratRunning for 8th termNo serious opposition
IdahoMike CrapoRepublicanRunning for 2nd termNo serious opposition
IllinoisPeter FitzgeraldRepublicanRetiringA large field from both parties
IndianaEvan BayhDemocratRunning for 2nd termNo serious opposition
IowaCharles GrassleyRepublicanRunning for 5th termChet Culver (Democrat)
KansasSam BrownbackRepublicanRunning for 2nd termNo serious opposition
KentuckyJim BunningRepublicanRunning for 2nd termDan Mongiardo (Democrat)
LouisianaJohn BreauxDemocratRetiringChris John (Democrat)
David Vitter (Republican)
MarylandBarbara MikulskiDemocratRunning for 4th termNo serious opposition
MissouriChristopher S. BondRepublicanRunning for 4th termNo serious opposition
NevadaHarry ReidDemocratRunning for 4th termDean Heller (Republican)
Brian Krolicki (Republican)
New HampshireJudd GreggRepublicanRunning for 3rd termBurt Cohen (Democrat)
New YorkCharles SchumerDemocratRunning for 2nd termNo serious opposition
North CarolinaJohn EdwardsDemocratRetiringErskine Bowles (Democrat)
Richard Burr (Republican)
North DakotaByron DorganDemocratRunning for 3rd termNo serious opposition
OhioGeorge VoinovichRepublicanRunning for 2nd termEric Fingerhut (Democrat)
OklahomaDon NicklesRepublicanRetiringMike Fair (Republican)
Brad Carson (Democrat)
OregonRon WydenDemocratRunning for 2nd termNo serious opposition
PennsylvaniaArlen SpecterRepublicanRunning for 5th term
Joe Hoeffel § (Democrat)
Pat Toomey (Republican)
South CarolinaErnest HollingsDemocratRetiringCharlie Condon (Republican)
Jim DeMint (Republican)
South DakotaTom DaschleDemocratRunning for 4th termNo serious opposition
UtahRobert BennettRepublicanRunning for 3rd termNo serious opposition
VermontPatrick LeahyDemocratRunning for 6th termNo serious opposition
WashingtonPatty MurrayDemocratRunning for 3rd termReed Davis (Republican)
WisconsinRuss FeingoldDemocratRunning for 3rd termNo serious opposition