1978 United States Senate election in Montana

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1978 United States Senate election in Montana

← 1972 November 7, 1978 1984 →
  Max Baucus 1977 Congressional photo.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Max Baucus Larry R. Williams
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 160,353 127,589
Percentage 55.69% 44.31%

Montana Senate Election Results by County, 1978.svg
County results
Baucus:      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%
Williams:      50–60%      60–70%

U.S. senator before election

Paul G. Hatfield

Elected U.S. Senator

Max Baucus

The 1978 United States Senate election in Montana took place on November 7, 1978. Following the death of United States Senator Lee Metcalf on January 12, 1978, Montana Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul G. Hatfield was appointed to serve for the remainder of Metcalf's term. Hatfield opted to run for a full term, but was overwhelmingly defeated in the Democratic primary by U.S. Representative Max Baucus of the 1st congressional district. Baucus advanced to the general election, where he was opposed by the Republican nominee, author Larry R. Williams. Baucus ended up defeating Williams by a solid margin to win his first term in the Senate, and, following Hatfield's resignation on December 12, 1978, he began serving his first term in the Senate.

Despite the death of Metcalf, this was not a special election, as one for the year 1978 was already planned as a normal Senate election.

Democratic primary[edit]



Democratic Party primary results[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Max Baucus 87,085 65.25%
Democratic Paul G. Hatfield (incumbent) 25,789 19.32%
Democratic John Driscoll 18,184 13.62%
Democratic Steve Shugrue 2,404 1.80%
Total votes 133,462 100.00%

Republican primary[edit]



Republican Primary results[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Larry R. Williams 35,479 61.66%
Republican Bill Osborne 16,436 28.57%
Republican Clancy Rich 5,622 9.77%
Total votes 57,537 100.00%

General election[edit]


United States Senate election in Montana, 1978[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Max Baucus 160,353 55.69% +3.74%
Republican Larry R. Williams 127,589 44.31% -3.74%
Majority 32,764 11.38% +7.48%
Turnout 287,942
Democratic hold Swing

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Report of the Official Canvass of the Vote Cast at the Primary Election Held in the State of Montana, June 6, 1978". Montana Secretary of State. Retrieved July 2, 2014.
  2. ^ "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 1978" (PDF). Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. Retrieved July 2, 2014.