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The 1966 United States elections were held on November 8, 1966, and elected the members of the 90th United States Congress. The election was held in the middle of Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson's second (only full) term, and during the Vietnam War. Johnson's Democrats lost forty-seven seats to the Republican Party in the House of Representatives. The Democrats also lost three seats in the U.S. Senate to the Republicans. Despite their losses, the Democrats retained control of both chambers of Congress. Republicans won a large victory in the gubernatorial elections, with a net gain of seven seats. This was the first election held after the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which led to a surge in African-American voter participation.[1]

1966 United States elections
Midterm elections
Election dayNovember 8
Incumbent presidentLyndon B. Johnson (Democratic)
Next Congress90th
Senate elections
Overall controlDemocratic Hold
Seats contested35 of 100 seats
(33 Class 2 seats + 2 special elections)
Net seat changeRepublican +3
Us 1966 senate election map.svg
1966 Senate election results

  Democratic gain   Democratic hold
  Republican gain   Republican hold

House elections
Overall controlDemocratic Hold
Seats contestedAll 435 voting seats
Popular vote marginDemocratic +1.7%
Net seat changeRepublican +47
1966 House Districts.png
1966 House of Representatives election results

  Democratic gain   Democratic hold
  Republican gain   Republican hold

Gubernatorial elections
Seats contested35
Net seat changeRepublican +8
1966 gubernatorial election results

  Democratic gain   Democratic hold
  Republican gain   Republican hold

The Republican Party had risked sliding into irrelevance after the disastrous 1964 elections, and the GOP's victory in this election invigorated the party, strengthening the conservative coalition. The GOP made inroads into the South and among blue collar workers, foreshadowing Nixon's Southern strategy and the rise of Reagan Democrats, respectively. Among the newly elected Republicans were future presidents Ronald Reagan (who soon became the leader of the right-wing of the Republican Party) as Governor of California and George H. W. Bush as a representative from Texas, and future vice president Spiro Agnew as Governor of Maryland. The election also helped establish former vice president Richard Nixon (who campaigned heavily for Republicans) as a front-runner for the 1968 Republican nomination. President Johnson was mostly unable to pass major expansions to the Great Society in the 90th Congress.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 8, 1966" (PDF). U.S. House of Reps, Office of the Clerk. Retrieved 27 December 2011.
  2. ^ Busch, Andrew (1999). Horses in Midstream. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 94–100.