David Herbert Donald, Lincoln (New York: Touchstone, 1996), 228.
Though Republicans won in the popular vote (and elected their candidates for state treasurer and superintendent of education), they did not gain control of the state legislature, which would choose the next senator. In the state senate, thirteen members were holdovers (the terms of senators were staggered), and eight of these were Democrats. That meant that, in order to have a majority in a joint session of the two houses, the Republicans needed to have more than half the members in the new house or representatives. But seats in the house were apportioned according to the population in the 1850 census. In the years since 1850 the northern section of the state, where the Republicans were strongest, had grown much more rapidly than the southern counties, which the Democrats controlled. Because of the apportionment law, Republicans, who received about 50 percent of the popular vote, won only 47 percent of the seats in the house, while the Democrats with 48 percent of the popular vote gained 53 percent of the seats. That seemed unfair, but even if representation had been apportioned exactly on the basis of population, the Republicans would still have won only 44 seats - not enough, even when their five holdover senators were added, to elect Lincoln. In the balloting on January 5, 1859, Douglas received 54 votes to Lincoln’s 46 and was thus reelected for another six years to the United States Senate.