Dynasty: The Senate members

The role of political dynasties in American politics is once again a hot political topic, thanks to the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination (Hillary Clinton, wife of a former president) and one of the main contenders for the Republican nomination (Mitt Romney, the son of a governor who ran for president in 1968). Are different parts of the country more or less comfortable with the idea of political families holding multiple offices?

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The map below shows states where one or both US senators are closely related (spouse, child, sibling) to another major office holder (a state or federal legislator, or a chief executive of a state or city). There are currently 19 such senators; a few, like West Virginia’s Jay Rockefeller, are not counted here because there are no other pols in their immediate family, even though cousins or uncles may fit the bill. Only two states have both senators from political families (Maine and New Hampshire). Overall, dynasty senators seem most common in the Northeast and the Rocky Mountain region. The Northeast is also Clinton’s strongest region among Democratic primary voters, according to recent polls — which may mean that criticizing "dynasty politics" may not help her rivals much there. (The list of dynasty senators can be found here.)

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