With at least four senators this year finding themselves in some degree of difficulty in winning the nomination of their party — Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Arlen Specter (D-PA) and John McCain (R-AZ) — I thought this might be a good time to present a list of all the senators who in the past half-century who lost their primaries (asterisk denotes incumbents who were appointed, not elected):
2006 (1): Joe Lieberman (D-CT) — lost to Ned Lamont (Lieberman then ran and won as an independent, but he caucuses with Dems).
2002 (1): Bob Smith (R-NH) – lost to John Sununu (GOP retained seat in November).
1996 (1): Sheila Frahm (R-KS)* - lost to Sam Brownback (GOP retained seat).
1992 (1): Alan Dixon (D-IL) – lost to Carol Moseley Braun (Dems retained seat).
1980 (4): Donald Stewart (D-AL) – lost to Jim Folsom Jr. (GOP picked up seat);
Mike Gravel (D-AK) – lost to Clark Gruening (GOP picked up seat);
Dick Stone (D-FL) – lost to Bill Gunter (GOP picked up seat);
Jacob Javits (R-NY) – lost to Al D'Amato (GOP retained seat).
1978 (3): Maryon Allen (D-AL)* - lost to Donald Stewart (Dems retained seat);
Paul Hatfield (D-MT)*; lost to Max Baucus (Dems retained seat);
Clifford Case (R-NJ) – lost to Jeffrey Bell (Dems picked up seat).
1974 (2): J. William Fulbright (D-AR) – lost to Dale Bumpers (Dems retained seat);
Howard Metzenbaum (D-OH)* - lost to John Glenn (Dems retained seat).
1972 (2): David Gambrell (D-GA)* - lost to Sam Nunn (Dems retained seat);
B. Everett Jordan (D-NC) – lost to Nick Galifianakis (GOP picked up seat).
1970 (1): Ralph Yarborough (D-TX) – lost to Lloyd Bentsen (Dems retained seat).
1968 (4): Ernest Gruening (D-AK) – lost to Mike Gravel (Dems retained seat);
Thomas Kuchel (R-CA) – lost to Max Rafferty (Dems picked up seat);
Edward Long (D-MO) – lost to Thomas Eagleton (Dems retained seat);
Frank Lausche (D-OH) – lost to John Gilligan