Open main menu

1970 United States Senate election in Texas

The 1970 United States Senate election in Texas was held on November 3, 1970. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Ralph Yarborough was defeated by former Representative Lloyd Bentsen in the Democratic primary. Bentsen then defeated Representative George H.W. Bush in the general election. When Bush was running for President in 1988, his Democratic opponent, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, selected Bentsen as his vice presidential running mate.

United States Senate election in Texas, 1970

← 1964 November 3, 1970 1976 →
  Lloyd Bentsen crop.jpg George HW Bush 90th congress.jpg
Nominee Lloyd Bentsen George H. W. Bush
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 1,194,069 1,035,794
Percentage 53.5% 46.5%

U.S. Senator before election

Ralph Yarborough

Elected U.S. Senator

Lloyd Bentsen

Democratic primaryEdit



Yarborough, a liberal icon, was challenged by the more conservative Bentsen in the Democratic primary. In what was characterized as an extremely bitter campaign, Bentsen accused Yarborough of supporting desegregation busing and criticized his opposition to the Vietnam War.[1] Many Texas liberals threatened to support the Republican Bush if Bentsen won the primary, believing that the liberal wing of the Texas Democratic Party would be threatened if Bentsen were elected.[1] Bentsen ultimately defeated Yarborough in the Democratic primary on May 2, 1970.[2]


Democratic primary results[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Lloyd Bentsen 841,316 53.7
Democratic Ralph Yarborough (incumbent) 726,477 46.3


General electionEdit

The general election was held November 3, 1970. Bentsen defeated Bush, 53.6% – 46.5%.[3]


General election results[4]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Lloyd Bentsen 1,194,069 53.5
Republican George H.W. Bush 1,035,794 46.5


  1. ^ a b Kamen, Al (16 July 1988). "Bentsen Cast Bush in 1970 As Too Liberal". The Washington Post. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  2. ^ a b "TX US Senate - D Primary". Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  3. ^ "TX US Senate". Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  4. ^