1982 United States Senate election in Montana

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John Melcher (cropped).jpg
No image.svg
Nominee John Melcher Larry R. Williams
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 174,861 133,789
Percentage 54.46% 41.67%

1982 United States Senate election in Montana results map by county.svg
County results
Melcher:      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%
Williams:      40–50%      50–60%

U.S. senator before election

John Melcher

Elected U.S. Senator

John Melcher

The 1982 United States Senate election in Montana took place on November 2, 1982. Incumbent United States Senator John Melcher, who was first elected to the Senate in 1976, opted to run for re-election. He won the Democratic primary after he faced a tough intraparty challenger, and advanced to the general election, where he faced Larry R. Williams, an author and the Republican nominee, and Larry Dodge, the Libertarian nominee. Though his margin was reduced significantly from his initial election, Melcher still comfortably won re-election to his second and final term in the Senate.

Democratic primary



During his first term in the Senate, Melcher's relative conservatism for a Democrat prompted a primary challenger in Michael Bond, a housing contractor who campaigned on his opposition to nuclear war. Bond attacked Melcher for voting to increase spending on nuclear arms, and pledged to reduce military spending to $60 billion and to use the savings to reduce interest rates.[1] During the campaign, Bond came under fire from the state branches of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Disabled American Veterans for turning in his draft card in 1967 to protest the Vietnam War, who put out a statement, saying, "There is no place in the U.S. Senate for any draft dodger, draft card burner or draft protester of any kind."[2]


Democratic Party primary results[3]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Jack Melcher (incumbent) 83,539 68.27
Democratic Mike Bond 33,565 27.43
Total votes 122,369 100.00

Republican primary



Republican Primary results[3]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Larry Williams 49,615 88.11
Republican Willie Dee Morris 6,696 11.89
Total votes 56,311 100.00

General election


United States Senate election in Montana, 1982[4]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic John Melcher (incumbent) 174,861 54.46% -9.69%
Republican Larry R. Williams 133,789 41.67% +5.83%
Libertarian Larry Dodge 12,412 3.87%
Majority 41,072 12.79% -15.52%
Turnout 321,062
Democratic hold Swing

See also


  1. ^ "Melcher Faces Difficult Test in Montana's Senate Primary". The New York Times. June 6, 1982. Retrieved July 2, 2014.
  2. ^ "Vets ask draft-protesting candidate to call it quits". The Spokesman-Review. May 31, 1982. Retrieved July 2, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Report of the Official Canvass of the Vote Cast at the Primary Election Held in the State of Montana, June 1, 1976". Montana Secretary of State. Retrieved July 2, 2014.
  4. ^ "Statistics of the Presidential and Congressional Election of November 2, 1982" (PDF). Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. Retrieved July 2, 2014.