The more things change, the more they stay the same

Two U.S. Senate candidates challenging incumbents in 2006 are the grandsons of unsuccesful Senate candidates in 1958. Like this year, ’58 was the mid-term election of a Republican President’s second term. State Senator Thomas Kean, Jr. is the grandson of Robert Kean, who was a ten-term Congressman when he sought an open Senate seat. He lost to Democrat Harrison Williams. Montana State Auditor John Morrison is a leading candidate for the Democratic Senate nomination to challenge three-term incumbent Conrad Burns. His grandfather, Frank Morrison, won 44% of the vote against Nebraska U.S. Senator Roman Hruska, and won election as Governor of Nebraska in 1960. 1958 was a pretty good year for the Democrats: they picked up three open Senate seats and defeated ten Republican Senators. If Kean wins in New Jersey, and Robert Casey, Jr. wins in Pennsylvania, it would be the second time in four years that two sons of former Governors would enter the United States Senate together. In 2002, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and John Sununu of New Hampshire won U.S. Senate seats. Pryor is the son of David Pryor, who served as Arkansas’ Governor and U.S. Senator; Sununu’s father, John Sununu, was the Governor of New Hampshire and President George H.W. Bush’s first White House Chief of Staff. Pairs of First Sons entering the U.S. Senate in the same year is not entirely uncommon: Evan Bayh, son of Birch Bayh, became a U.S. Senator in January, 1999; Lincoln Chafee was appointed to fill the seat of his late father, John Chafee, in December of that year. In 1970, Robert Taft, Jr., the son of a former Senate Majority Leader and grandson of a President, won a U.S. Senate seat in Ohio, and Glenn Beall, the son of a former U.S. Senator, won a seat in Maryland; both defeated incumbents. (That same year William Brock, he grandson of a former U.S. Senator, defeated incumbent Albert Gore, the father of a future Senator and Vice President, in Tennessee.) Joseph Tydings of Maryland entered the U.S. Senate in January, 1965 — his father was a former Senator — and Harry Byrd, Jr. joined the Senate in November of that year to succeed his late father.

The more things change, the more they stay the same