Freshmen in the House of Representatives and Senate by Political Party: 1913-2008

Order Code RS20723 Updated August 20, 2008 Freshmen in the House of Representatives and Senate by Political Party: 1913-2008 Mildred Amer Specialist in American National Government Government and Finance Division Summary Sixty-five freshmen were elected in November 2006 to the 110th Congress: 55 to the House and 10 to the Senate. Most of the freshmen were Democrats, thus enabling the party to regain control of both houses of Congress after 12 years. The 103rd Congress freshmen class (elected in November 1992), which was composed of 110 new Representatives and 12 new Senators, represented the largest freshman class in more than four decades. Two years later, in 1994, the Republicans gained control of both the House and the Senate for the first time in some 40 years when 97 new Members (86 in the House, 11 in the Senate) were elected to the 104th Congress. This report will be updated after the November 2008 elections. Analysis of Data Table 1 shows, by party, the number of freshmen elected to the House in each election beginning in 1912 and those elected to the Senate beginning in 1914. These starting points were used because the size of the House was fixed at 435 before the election of 1912 and direct election of Senators commenced after ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1912. Italicized entries in the table denote the party which elected the majority of freshmen Members. Table 1 demonstrates that there can be a rebound effect in which one party has a majority of freshmen at the beginning of a Congress and the other party recovers part or all of the loss within the next two elections.1 Another pattern is a party shift occurring and prevailing over time. For example, in the time frame of this report, the 72nd through 1 For example, in the House in the 63rd Congress, Democratic freshmen numbered 102, Republican 44. In the House in the 64th Congress, Republican freshmen numbered 93, Democrats 38. Thus, the total for the two Congresses was 140 new Democrats and 137 new Republicans. This pattern appears repeatedly in both the House and the Senate. After the Republicans gained control of the House in the 104th Congress with 73 freshmen, the Democratic freshmen totaled 65 in the following two Congresses, while the number of Republican freshmen totaled 49. CRS-2 75th Congresses (1931-1938) established a Democratic dominance in the House that has since been overcome by the Republicans three times, in 1947-1948 (80th Congress), 19531954 (83rd Congress), and 1995-2006 (104th -109th Congresses). The table shows instances in the House and Senate throughout the period of this study when one party has had a majority of freshmen, but that majority was insufficient to achieve control of a chamber. For example, see the Senate in the 107th Congress and both houses for the 76th, 78th, 105th, and 106th Congresses. Data Sources The data for the House from 1913 to 1953 were drawn from the lists of freshmen in Congressional Directories. Congressional Quarterly Inc. publications (including the yearly Almanacs and Weekly Reports), various Congressional Directories, and other published accounts were the sources for data on Representatives in subsequent years. Included in the House numbers are freshmen who were elected in November to fill a vacancy and then sworn in prior to the convening of the next Congress, as well as Representatives elected between the November election and the opening day of the next Congress. Representatives elected to fill vacancies during the course of a Congress were not counted. Delegates and Resident Commissioners were also not counted. The majority of data on Senators was obtained from The Senate, Historical Statistics, 1789-1992, by Senator Robert C. Byrd. Data for more recent years were obtained from Congressional Directories and various published accounts of congressional elections. Gubernatorial appointees, Senators elected in special elections not held in November, and Senators who were appointed in an election year and then subsequently elected were not counted. Returning former Members with interrupted service were also counted as freshmen. Footnoted are Congresses that included large numbers of these former Members. Those in which the number of such returnees was small are not identified. CRS-3 Table 1. Freshmen Members in the House of Representatives and Senate by Political Party: 1913-2008 Congress and Years 63rd, 1913-1914 64th, 1915-1916 65th, 1917-1918 66th, 1919-1920 67th, 1921-1922 68th, 1923-1924 69th, 1925-1926 70th, 1927-1928 71st, 1929-1930 72nd, 1931-1932 73rd, 1933-1934 74th, 1935-1936 75th, 1937-1938 76th, 1939-1940 77th, 1941-1942 78th, 1943-1944 79th, 1945-1946 80th, 1947-1948 81st, 1949-1950 82nd, 1951-1952 83rd, 1953-1954 House Freshmen House Majority Party Democrats Republicans Other Democratic Democratic Democratic Republican Republican Republican Republican Republican Republican Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Republican Democratic Democratic Republican 102 38 39 38 28 89 21 28 24 62 134 75 75 33 46 41 62 35 104 21 31 44 93 43 70 97 41 58 29 59 19 27 28 15 82 26 64 21 73 14 51 50 7 4 2 1 1 3 1 4 6 4 1 1 1 1 - Senate Freshmen Total Senate Majority Party Democrats Republicans Other Total 153 135a 84 109 126b 133c 80 57 83 81 165 109 94 116 73 106 83d 108 118e 73 81 Democratic Democratic Republican Republican Republican Republican Republican Republican Republican Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Republican Democratic Democratic Republican 7 8 6 4 12 3 8 1 14 16 13 12 5 5 3 8 4 14 6 6 3 10 10 13 5 9 5 9 4 0 0 2 8 7 10 6 15 4 7 9 1 1 - 10 18 16 17 18 12 13 10 18 16 13 15 13 12 13 14 19 18 13 15 CRS-4 Congress and Years 84th, 1955-1956 85th, 1957-1958 86th, 1959-1960 87th, 1961-1962 88th, 1963-1964 89th, 1965-1966 90th, 1967-1968 91st, 1969-1970 92nd, 1971-1972 93rd, 1973-1974 94th, 1975-1976 95th, 1977-1978 96th, 1979-1980 97th, 1981-1982 98th, 1983-1984 99th, 1985-1986 100th, 1987-1988 101st, 1989-1990 102nd, 1991-1992 103rd, 1993-1994 104th, 1995-1996 105th, 1997-1998 106th, 1999-2000 107th, 2001-2002 House Majority Party House Freshmen Democrats Republicans Other Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Republican Republican Republican Republican 39 24 63 19 36 71 14 20 33 27 75 47 41 22 57 12 27 17 25 63 13 42 23 13 17 22 19 44 31 20 59 19 23 41 17 20 36 52 24f 31 23 16 18 47 73 32 17 28 1 1 - Total Senate Majority Party Senate Freshmen Democrats Republicans Other Total 56 46 82 63 67 91 73 39 56 69 92 67 77 74 81 43 50 33 44 110 86 74 40 41 Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Republican Republican Republican Democratic Democratic Democratic Democratic Republican Republican Republican Repub/Demh 7 6 15 3 8 5 2 5 5 8 8 9 9 2 2 5 11 5 1 7 6 4 8i 7 4 3 2 2 1 5 9 5 5 2 8 11 16 3 2 2 5 3 5 11 9 4 2 1 - 14 10 18 5 10 6 7 14 11 13 10 17 20 18 5 7 13 10 4 12 11 15 8 10 CRS-5 Congress and Years 108th, 2003-2004 109th, 2005-2006 110th, 2007-2008 Grand Total Percent of Total House Majority Party Republican Republican Democratic House Freshmen Democrats Republicans Other Total 21 16 42 2028 33 24 13 1803 39 54 40 55 3870g 52.4% 46.6% 1.0% 100% Senate Majority Party Republican Republican Democratic Senate Freshmen Democrats Republicans Other Total 2 2 8 308 8j 7 1 1 10 9 10 278 52.2% 47.1% 4 0.7% 590 100% Sources: For House freshmen, various Congressional Directories, 1913-1951, Congressional Quarterly, Inc., and other published accounts of congressional elections from 1953-2006. For the House, the numbers are based on November election results and any special elections held between November and the convening of the next Congress. The numbers include former Members as well as Representatives simultaneously elected to fill a vacancy in an existing Congress and to their own seat in a new Congress. The numbers do not include special elections or appointments during the course of a Congress. For Senate freshmen, the source was Byrd, Senator Robert C. The Senate, Historical Statistics, 1789-1992 (Washington: GPO, 1993), pp. 414-415. From 1993 forward, the sources were various Congressional Directories and published accounts of congressional elections. The Senate numbers do not include gubernatorial appointments, special elections not held in November, or Senators appointed earlier in an election year and then elected in November. Italicized entries in the table denote the party which elected the majority of freshmen Members. a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. Includes 19 former Members. Includes 18 former Members. Includes 26 former Members. Includes 16 former Members. Includes 22 former Members. Includes Member-elect who died before taking the oath of office. The numbers do not include Delegates or Resident Commissioners. As a result of the November 2000, election, the Senate had 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans at the beginning of the 107th Congress. However, a party switch by a Republican Senator in June 2000 shifted control of the Senate to the Democrats. i. Does not include Democratic Senator Jean Carnahan (D-MO), who was appointed in December 2000 to fill the vacancy caused by the posthumous election of her husband, Governor Mel Carnahan. j. Does not include Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, who was appointed in December 2002 by her father, Frank Murkowski, to fill the vacancy caused by his election as governor of Alaska.