Summary of the Senate Elections

November 2, 2004. Going into the election, there were 51 Republicans and 48 Democrats, and Sen. James Jeffords (VT), who voted with Democrats for organizational purposes. At the start of the 109th Congress, there will be 55 Republicans. Senate Republicans retained control of the Senate, and slightly expanded their margin.

There will be no major reorganization of committee membership and chairs. However, because Senate Republicans have a six year term limit on chairmanships, there will be some new committee chairmen.

Also, Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-SC) is retiring. He currently holds three technology related positions -- ranking Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee, ranking Democrat on the Communications Subcommittee, and ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State and the Judiciary (CJS).

Also, Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD), the Senate Minority Leader, lost. However, while Senate Republicans expanded their majority, and defeated the chief obstructionist of the Republican and Bush administration agenda, the Republicans still lack the 60 votes needed to cut off a Democratic filibuster.

Senate Commerce Committee.

Sen. Ted StevensSen. John McCain (R-AZ), the current Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, won re-election with 77% of the vote. However, under Republican party rules regarding term limits of committee Chairman, he will not remain as Chairman of the Commerce Committee in the 109th Congress. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) (at right), who is term limited from continuing as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, will likely become the Chairman of the Commerce Committee in January of 2005.

Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-SC), the ranking Democrat on the Committee, is retiring. Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), who won re-election with 75% of the vote, will likely become the ranking Democrat.

Sen. John Breaux (D-LA) is also retiring. His seat was won by Rep. David Vitter (R-LA), who currently represents a News Orleans suburban district in the House.

Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-IL) is also retiring. He is a member of the full Committee and the Communications Subcommittee. Democrat Barrack Obama easily defeated Republican Alan Keyes for this open seat.

Other Committee members won re-election. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) won re-election with 69% of the vote in Kansas. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), won re-election in California. She defeated Republican Bill Jones with 58% of the vote.

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) will be back. He has been all but absent from Senate proceedings for over a year. He did not give up his Senate seat to run for President.

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) won re-election with 68% of the vote. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), a leading proponent of extending the ban on internet taxes, won re-election with 64% of the vote.

Senate Judiciary Committee.

Sen. Arlen SpecterSen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the current Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, did not face an election. However, he will relinquish Chairmanship because of term limits. The new Chairman will likely be Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) (at right). He won re-election by defeating Rep. Joseph Hoeffel (D-PA) with 53% of the vote.

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), who has more seniority than Sen. Specter, won re-election. However, he will retain his Chairmanship of the Senate Finance Committee.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the ranking Democrat, won re-election with 70% of the vote in Vermont. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) won re-election in New York.

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) defeated Republican Tim Nichols in Wisconsin. He will likely continue his debate with Attorney General John Ashcroft and President Bush over extension of several provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act.

Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) did not run for re-election. Rep. Richard Burr (R-NC) defeated Erskine Bowles with 52% of the vote to take his seat.

Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) was not up for re-election. However, had Sen. Kerry won, Sen. Biden might have been named Secretary of State. Sen. Biden is a proponent of protecting intellectual property rights of entertainment and software industries internationally.

Senate Finance Committee.

The Senate Finance Committee, which also has jurisdiction over certain trade matters, now has several openings.

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), the Chairman, won re-election. Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), the ranking Democrat, was not up for re-election.

However, Sen. John Breaux (D-LA), Sen. Don Nichols (R-OK), and Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) are retiring, and Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD) lost his race for re-election. Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) won his race in Kentucky.

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) is next in line on Republican side for appointment to this Committee, based upon seniority.

More State By State Senate Results.

Alabama. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) easily won re-election.

Alaska. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) defeated Democrat Tony Knowles in a close race. Sen. Murkowski does not serve on any of the committees that regularly deal with technology related issues. Nor has she been involved in tech related issues. However, she did introduce S 1552 [21 pages in PDF], the "Protecting the Rights of Individuals Act", or PRI Act, last year, a bill that would roll back some of the changes made by the USA PATRIOT Act.

Arkansas. Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) won re-election.

Colorado. Sen. Ben Campbell (R-CO) is retiring. Democrat Ken Salazar narrowly defeated Republican Peter Coors.

Connecticut. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) won overwhelmingly.

Florida. Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) is retiring. Republican Mel Martinez appears to have narrowly defeated Democrat Betty Castor.

Georgia. Sen. Zell Miller (D-GA) did not run for re-election. Rep. Johnny Isackson (R-GA) easily defeated Rep. Denise Majette (D-GA) for this open seat. Nominally, this Senate seat switched from a Democrat to a Republican. However, Sen. Miller frequently voted with Republicans on roll call votes that broke down along party lines.

Idaho. Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) won with 99% of the vote.

Indiana. Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) won with 62% of the vote.

Illinois. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-IL) is retiring. Democrat Barack Obama easily defeated Republican Alan Keyes

Maryland. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) won re-election with 65% of the vote.

Missouri. Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) won re-election.

Nevada. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) won re-election with 61% of the vote.

New Hampshire. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) won with 66% of the vote.

Ohio. Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) won re-election with 64% of the vote.

Oklahoma. Sen. Don Nickles (R-OK) is retiring. Former Rep. Tom Coburn lost to Democratic Rep. Brad Carson (D-OK).

Washington. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) won re-election, defeating Rep. George Nethercutt (R-WA) with 55% of the vote.