Friday, May 21, 2010

Nepotism Update: Rand Paul and Bob Bennett edition

The demise of Bob Bennett and the nomination of Rand Paul reminded me of the question of dynastic succession in American politics.  When I last visited this one, Glenn Greenwald was concerned that nepotism is on the upswing, Tom Schaller had data (but unfortunately not real recent data) that showed nepotism declines over time, and I tended to conclude that it's not an increasing problem.  By the way, I should say that I do agree with Greenwald that dynastic succession in American politics tends to be a Bad Thing, all else equal.

So, how do things look for 2011? 

Greenwald identified twelve dynastic Senators in the current Congress: Murkowski, Kyl, Gregg, Dodd, Casey, Bayh, two Udalls, Snowe, Pryor, Bennett, and Rockefeller (plus Ted Kennedy had been the thirteenth).  This is actually down a bit from the previous Senate, which had neither Udall but did have a Clinton, a Dole, and a Sununu, for sixteen in all.  And so far, Rand Paul notwithstanding, it looks like there will be even fewer in January 2011.  Bennett, Gregg, Dodd, and Bayh are all leaving.  Greenwald was concerned about a variety of rumored candidates, but none of them -- Kennedys in New York and Massachusetts, a Cuomo in New York (yes, but different office), a Jackson in Illinois, a Bush in Florida, or a Biden in Delaware -- will be on the November ballot.  I suppose there are still states remaining with deadlines that Harold Ford, Jr. could meet, but so far, not.

Of those candidates who are running, I'll start with Rand Paul, son of the Member of the House and peripatetic presidential candidate, currently a mild frontrunner to be Senator from Kentucky.  In Arkansas, the GOP nominee (and again mild favorite) is John Boozman.  Boozman's older brother, the late Fay Boozman, was a four-year state senator who ran for the same Senate seat in 1998; that's a pretty weak nepotism case, I think.  In Missouri, the Democratic candidate, Robin Carnahan, is the daughter of two politicians (her opponent, Roy Blunt, is the father of a pol, but that doesn't count). 

And as far as I can tell, that's just about it.  I could be missing someone, in two ways: first, I basically used Wikipedia, and they don't always have complete information, of course; second, I might be missing a candidate for some reason, although I did go through all of the contested races and open seats, per the latest Cook chart.

But as far as I can tell:

Previous Senate: 16 dynastic Senators
Current Senate: 13 (now 12)
Next Senate: Between 8 and 10 or 11, assuming no late changes and how one counts Boozman.


Creeping nepotism in American politics: still not a major problem.

(Update: Ugly Typo in Subject Line Fixed.  Yikes!)

1 comment:

  1. I'm not crazy about nepotistic senators, but at least those people had to go out there and win an election, to persuade people to vote for them. What drives me crazy are the people who have never done anything but get appointed to positions because of who their parents are, like Liz Cheney or ... well, I can't think of a Democrat offhand, but let's throw Luke Russert out there.


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