Appointing opposite party U.S. Senators
January 15, 2013 10:27 PM   Subscribe

Have any U.S. Senators been appointed to fill out a term of a previous Senator who had been of a different political party? If so, who? I brought this up because of a bar bet between some political junky friends of mine. I guess this would have to be post-17th amendment, but if you have any relevant pre-17th amendment Senate succession stories, I'd love to hear that too.
posted by Weebot to Law & Government (6 answers total)
Just picking one state at random, New York, John Foster Dulles (r) was appointed to Wagner (D)'s spot.
posted by Mad_Carew at 10:34 PM on January 15, 2013

Sure. Look at this list:
posted by dd42 at 10:34 PM on January 15, 2013

This is a great resource for seeing who controlled every Senate seat from 1980 onward. The notes section in particular (at the very bottom) includes a bunch of details about appointments.

Also note that a few states have laws that require the governor to appoint someone of the same political party as the outgoing senator. Hawaii, for instance, which just had the most recent Sebate appointment (to fill the seat of the late Dan Inouye), is one such state. So depending upon the recency of such laws, in some states, a party-switching succession is not possible.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 11:10 PM on January 15, 2013

I would imagine this is common enough with the variation in state laws and changeability of state administrations during a six-year Senatorial term, so I'm not sure what led you to believe it was unusual or impossible.

Just recently, Massachusetts, facing a Democratic vacancy under a Republican governor, changed the law so that Romney could not appoint a successor to Kerry should the latter win the Presidential election. (This then resulted in the special election following Ted Kennedy's death in which Scott Brown was elected, leading to some hand-wringing.)

I believe the most recent example that took place, per this list, was the appointment of Georgia Democrat Zell Miller by fellow Democrat Roy Barnes to fulfill the remainder of the term of Republican Paul Coverdell. (Other instances of deaths in office on the list were fulfilled by other means than appointment or under limitations.)

The National Conference of State Legislatures has an overview of the vacancy responses by state.
posted by dhartung at 11:34 PM on January 15, 2013

Any time a Senator leaves office prematurely and is of a different party than the entity with appointment power there's a chance of this happening. It's not terribly common, but it's far from unheard of.

Off the top of my wiki search:

- Alva B. Adams (D-Col), appointed to replace the late Samuel D. Nicholson (R-Col)

- Ernest S. Brown (R-Nev), appointed to replace the late Pat McCarran (D-Nev)

- Thomas C. Hart (R-Conn), appointed to replace the late Francis T. Maloney (D-Conn)

Etc. For more, dig into the list of appointed U.S. Senators.
posted by valkyryn at 4:48 AM on January 16, 2013

I believe the most recent example that took place, per this list, was the appointment of Georgia Democrat Zell Miller...

There may be another example I'm forgetting, but I believe the most recent was actually the appointment of Dean Barkley (Independence Party) by Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura in 2002 to serve for just about two months following the death of Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone.
posted by Vectorcon Systems at 5:17 AM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

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