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United States Senate election in Minnesota, 1978


United States Senate election in Minnesota, 1978

United States Senate election in Minnesota, 1978

November 7, 1978

Nominee Rudy Boschwitz Wendell Anderson
Party Independent-Republican DFL
Popular vote 894,092 638,375
Percentage 56.57% 40.39%

U.S. Senator before election

Wendell Anderson

Elected U.S. Senator

Rudy Boschwitz

The 1978 United States Senate election in Minnesota was held on November 7, 1978. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Wendell Anderson was defeated by Republican challenger Rudy Boschwitz.

Major Candidates


Wendell Anderson, Incumbent U.S. Senator since 1976


Rudy Boschwitz, Businessman

Race Description

In 1978, all three key statewide races in Minnesota were up for election -- the Governorship, and both Senate Seats (the other Senate seat belonged to Hubert Humphrey, who died in 1978). But, there was a particular oddity to the three races -- all three had incumbents who were never elected to the office in the first place. This became a well played issue by the Republicans -- a billboard put up across the state read, "The DFL is going to face something scary -- an election".

When Walter Mondale ascended to the Vice Presidency in 1976, sitting Governor Wendell Anderson appointed himself to the open seat. This act did not sit well with the electorate. Plywood magnate Rudy Boschwitz campaigned as a liberal Republican and spent freely of his own money, but all that seemed to really matter was that he was neither a DFLer or Wendell Anderson in an election cycle where both were rejected by the voters. The end result was not even close -- the challenger Boschwitz won in a 16 point landslide as all three statewide offices switched into Republican hands.


General election results[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Rudy Boschwitz 894,092 56.57%
Democratic Wendell Anderson 638,375 40.39%
American Party Sal Carlone 23,261 1.47%
Socialist Workers William Peterson 9,856 0.62%
Independent Brian J. Coyle 8,083 0.51%
Workers League Jean T. Brust 3,891 0.25%
Libertarian Leonard J. Richards 2,992 0.19%
Others Write-ins 72 0.01%


  1. ^
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