2008 United States Senate election in Massachusetts

United States Senate election in Massachusetts, 2008

← 2002 November 4, 2008 2013 (special) →
  John Kerry headshot with US flag.jpg Jeffbeatty.jpg
Nominee John Kerry Jeff Beatty
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 1,971,974 926,044
Percentage 65.9% 30.9%

Massachusetts Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results
Kerry:      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%      80–90%

U.S. Senator before election

John Kerry

Elected U.S. Senator

John Kerry

The 2008 United States Senate election in Massachusetts took place on November 4, 2008. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator John Kerry, who returned to the Senate after losing the presidency to incumbent President George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election, won re-election to a fifth term in office. This was Kerry's last election to the Senate. He would resign in 2013 after becoming United States Secretary of State in the Barack Obama administration.

Democratic primary[edit]



At the state convention on June 7, 2008, Edward O'Reilly received 22.5% of the vote, thereby granting him a spot on the September primary ballot. Kerry, received the vast majority of votes, however, granting him the convention's endorsement.[1] On July 25, O'Reilly challenged Kerry to a series of debates,[2] and the two eventually met for one debate in early September. On September 16, Kerry defeated O'Reilly in the Democratic primary.[3]


Primary results by municipality
2008 United States Senate Democratic primary in Massachusetts
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic John Kerry (incumbent) 335,923 68.92%
Democratic Edward O'Reilly 151,473 31.08%
Turnout 487,396

General election[edit]


  • Jeff Beatty (R), businessman and nominee for MA-10 in 2006[4]
  • John Kerry (D), incumbent U.S. Senator
  • Robert Underwood (L)


Democrat John F. Kerry, the incumbent since 1985, was the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for President of the United States in the 2004 election. He had historically attracted strong Republican challengers, including two former Massachusetts Republican Party Chairman, Ray Shamie in 1984, Jim Rappaport in 1990, and former state Governor William Weld in 1996.

Kerry had explored the possibility of seeking the Democratic nomination for President once again in 2008, a circumstance which prompted many of Massachusetts's all-Democratic House delegation, including Marty Meehan, Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch, to declare that they would run in the Democratic primary for Senate should Kerry not seek reelection. However, on January 24, 2007, Kerry announced that he would run for reelection to the United States Senate and not for the Presidency. A December 23, 2007, poll indicated his approval rating at 52%, with 43% disapproving.[5]

Massachusetts held primary elections on September 16, 2008.[6] Unlike in 2002, when Kerry was reelected against only third-party opposition, the Democratic nominee faced a Republican opponent in 2008. The Republican candidate, businessman Jeff Beatty who had lost a congressional race two years earlier, was not considered a serious contender in this overwhelmingly Democratic state. Massachusetts had not elected a Republican Senator since Edward Brooke in 1972 and has not sent any Republicans to Congress since incumbents Peter Torkildsen and Peter Blute were defeated in 1996.

On September 16, 2008, Kerry defeated Edward O'Reilly in the Democratic primary and faced Republican Beatty in the November general election.[7]


Source Date Jeff
Beatty (R)
Kerry (D)
Rasmussen Reports April 25, 2008 30% 55%
June 1, 2008 25% 63%
August 5, 2008 32% 59%
September 23, 2008 30% 65%


Results by city and town
General election results
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic John Kerry (incumbent) 1,971,974 65.86% -14.2%
Republican Jeff Beatty 926,044 30.93% +30.93%
Libertarian Robert J. Underwood 93,713 3.13% -15.1%
Majority 1,037,116
Turnout 2,994,247
Democratic hold Swing

See also[edit]


External links[edit]