1946 United States Senate election in Montana

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1946 United States Senate election in Montana

← 1940 November 5, 1946 1952 →
  Zales Nelson Ecton.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Zales Ecton Leif Erickson
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 101,901 86,476
Percentage 53.47% 45.38%

U.S. senator before election

Burton K. Wheeler

Elected U.S. Senator

Zales Ecton

The 1946 United States Senate election in Montana took place on November 5, 1946. Incumbent United States Senator Burton K. Wheeler, who was first elected to the Senate in 1922, and was re-elected in 1928, 1934, and 1940, ran for re-election. He was challenged in the Democratic primary by Leif Erickson, the Chief Justice of the Montana Supreme Court, and, following a close election, was narrowly defeated by Erickson. In the general election, Erickson faced State Senator Zales Ecton, the Republican nominee. Ultimately, Ecton defeated Erickson by a fairly wide margin, and won his only term in the Senate. Another Republican would not be elected Senator from Montana for 42 years when Conrad Burns narrowly won the 1988 election.

Democratic primary[edit]



Democratic Party primary results[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Leif Erickson 49,419 52.61
Democratic Burton K. Wheeler (inc.) 44,513 47.39
Total votes 93,932 100.00

Republican primary[edit]



Republican Primary results[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Zales Ecton 22,731 66.94
Republican R. E. Skeen 11,226 33.06
Total votes 33,957 100.00

General election[edit]


United States Senate election in Montana, 1946[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Zales Ecton 101,901 53.47% +26.91%
Democratic Leif Erickson 86,476 45.38% -28.06%
Socialist Floyd P. Jones 2,189 1.15%
Majority 15,425 8.09% -38.78%
Turnout 190,566
Republican gain from Democratic Swing


  1. ^ a b "Report of the Official Canvass of the Vote Cast at the Primary Election Held in the State of Montana, July 16, 1946" (PDF). Montana Secretary of State. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 8, 2013. Retrieved July 2, 2014.
  2. ^ "Statistics of the Presidential and Congressional Election of November 5, 1946" (PDF). Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. Retrieved July 4, 2014.