|‹ 2006 2010 › ›|
|United States Senate elections of 2008|
|Class II (33 of the 100) seats to the United States Senate and two mid-term vacancies from Class I|
|November 4, 2008|
|Majority party||Minority party|
|Leader||Harry Reid||Mitch McConnell|
|Last election||51 seats (including 2 Independents)||49 seats|
|Seats after||59 (including 2 Independents)||41|
Majority Leader before election
Elected Majority Leader
Elections for the United States Senate were held on November 4, 2008, with 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate being contested. Thirty-three seats were regular elections; the winners were eligible to serve six-year terms from January 3, 2009, to January 3, 2015, as members of Senate Class II. There were also two special elections: one in Mississippi and another in Wyoming; the winners serve the remainder of terms that expire on January 3, 2013, as members of Senate Class I.
The 2008 presidential election, elections for all House of Representatives seats, and several gubernatorial elections, as well as many state and local elections, occurred on the same date.
Going into the 2008 election, the Senate consisted of 49 Democrats, 49 Republicans, and two independents (Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut) who caucused with the Democrats. Of the seats up for election in 2008, 23 were held by Republicans and 12 by Democrats. At the start of the 111th Congress, the Democrats held 56 seats in the Senate, with the two independents continuing to caucus with the Democrats for a total of 58. For the second consecutive election cycle, no incumbent Democratic senators lost their seats. Because there were no open Democratic seats, the election was also the second cycle in a row in which no seats switched from Democratic to Republican. Democrats defeated five Republican incumbents: Ted Stevens of Alaska, Norm Coleman of Minnesota, John Sununu of New Hampshire, Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina, and Gordon Smith of Oregon. Democrats also picked up open seats in Colorado, New Mexico, and Virginia.