Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Social Work


The purpose of this research was to give an account of the 1940 senatorial election in North Dakota, which launched William Langer's career as a United States Senator. The study focused on the candidates and issues that were prevalent during the pre-primary conventions, the primary election campaign, the realignment of candidates after the primary, and the general election campaign.

The procedure involved a detailed study of the campaign issues, candidates, and the reasons for Langer's victory. The study of the candidates and the campaign issues was based on the Langer Papers, the Lemke Papers, newspapers, interviews with candidates running in the 1940 elections that favored and opposed Langer, and a few secondary sources.

The results of the 1940 election show Langer's victory in the primary and general elections was '■v~> —\ r-4 /-V v-» s~\ <—« r-< -i V'k 1 +- 1—* -V* 1 ■% /—* T-\ 4- 1—v uiuuc ijvaounc t-i u wuy n uac- -C-N i V./ ------------ 1 4 ~ 1U11 O 111 within the Republican party. This factionalism caused a three-way senatorial contest in bo+h the primary and general elections, which enabled Langer to win with less than a majority of the votes cast.

In conclusion, the study reveals Langer was a controversial political figure, who usso ms Keen poiincei t>Kiiis miu anility to cake advantage of the circumstances prevailing in 1940 to attain the coveted senatorial seat. Langer attained national political prominence after he had been considered politically dead in North Dakota.