Warren Magnuson wins second U.S. Senate term, defeating Walter Williams, on November 7, 1950.

  • By Greg Lange and Walt Crowley
  • Posted 11/07/2003
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 5612
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On November 7, 1950, first-term Democratic U.S. Senator Warren G. Magnuson (1905-1989) defeats Republican challenger W. Walter Williams (1894-1983) by a vote of 397,719 (53.4 percent) to 342,464 (46 percent). Magnuson, first elected in 1944, will serve in the U.S. Senate until 1980, when Republican Slade Gorton defeats him during the Reagan landslide and become one of Washington's most influential senators ever.

W. Walter Williams was president of Continental Mortgage and Savings Bank (now Home Street Bank) in Seattle and an influential Republican. He would play a pivotal role in convincing Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1959) to seek the Republic Party nomination for president in 1952. His son, Walter B. Williams (b. 1918), was a respected member of the Washington State Senate from Seattle in the 1960s.

Magnuson, who got the the nickname Maggie in high school (though friends and family called him Warren), lived in Seattle when not representing the state in Washington, D.C. Following the 1950 election, the state's delegation to Congress comprised two Democrats and four Republicans in the House and one Democrat and one Republican in the Senate. The years 1946 to 1952 were the only time a Republican senator from Washington, Harry P. Cain, served with Magnuson in the U.S. Senate.


Michael J. Dubin, United States Congressional Elections, 1788-1997: The Official Results of the Elections of the 1st through 105th Congresses (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 1998), 585, 587.

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