Recently, I've read an interesting article about US political dynasties:

It is perhaps not very surprising that so many children of politicians go into politics. After all, it’s daddy’s business. Lots of doctors’s children go to medical school.

Let's use definition from the wiki:

A political family (also referred to as political dynasty) is a family in which several members are involved in politics — particularly electoral politics. Members may be related by blood or marriage; often several generations or multiple siblings may be involved.

Note: a political dynasty means any family with two or more people in a elected position.

Is there any information about how many current senators are NOT from such families?

  • 7
    Better, but it’s still unclear how many family members are needed to be a dynasty. Some are clear, your Kennedy’s, Bush’s, and Cheney’s, but there’s a lot of people who would be borderline.
    – divibisan
    Jun 3 '21 at 14:07
  • Are we to count politicians with relatives who are politics-adjacent? Lobbyists, financiers, organizers, etc?
    – Ryan_L
    Jun 3 '21 at 16:34
  • @Ryan_L Senator Gillibrand is a good example of that and I put her in a "Borderline" category. I think they really have to be part of the political machine to count, though. Simply being politics-adjacent is too broad a category, I think, if the goal is to see whether political family connections are associated with being elected to office.
    – divibisan
    Jun 3 '21 at 18:34
  • 3
    This is a very good question in my mind, but I think we can make it even better if we expand it to include the House and cabinet positions, and maybe Federal judges and state governors. I mean the same kind of question could be asked of all these positions, may as well put them all in the same question.
    – Ryan_L
    Jun 3 '21 at 18:52
  • We need a clear definition here of what counts as a political family, e.g. "several". Otherwise it's like "which Presidents aren't related?" (to which the answer is none by many of the more common metrics, but not all of the metrics).
    – TylerH
    Jun 4 '21 at 14:03

As this is the sort of question that would benefit from group research and updating as the Senate changes, here is a wiki answer. Please update this if you find any senators who have been missed, who are no longer in office, or who have political relatives who have been omitted.

How to define a "dynasty" is unclear. In the interests of definiteness, this list will include all senators who have/had spouses, parents, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and (first) cousins who hold/held an elected position in the United States. This is admittedly a broader definition than most people would give for a "dynasty", but it allows for a more definite answer.

Current senators with relatives in politics

Questionable or Borderline Cases

  • Mark Kelly, (D-AZ). Husband of Gabby Giffords, former US Representative from Arizona. Neither of them have family political connections, though, so it's more of a husband-wife team than a dynasty.
  • Kirsten Gillibrand, (D-NY). While her family, going back to her grandparents, was deeply involved in Democratic party politics, none of them ran for political office themselves.

Current Senators without relatives in politics

  • As of this writing, I have looked through the Wikipedia biographies of the senators alphabetically by state up to Georgia. I have also added Sens. Paul & Romney as particularly well-known examples. Jun 3 '21 at 14:31
  • 3
    +1 - that's brilliant. Though, question deliberately specifies senators that are NOT from families, goal senators can be found by an exclusion Jun 3 '21 at 14:32
  • 1
    @divibisan: That's debatable, but you'd have to rule out the Clintons as a political dynasty if you did that. (Not that either of them are currently in the Senate.) Jun 3 '21 at 14:56
  • 4
    @MichaelSeifert I don't think that would be that bad – the line of succession is a key part of the meaning of dynasty, and the way that Hilary Clinton entered into politics is, I think, a different kind of thing than someone who's Father (for example) was a Senator.
    – divibisan
    Jun 3 '21 at 14:58
  • 2
    What do people think of Kristen Gillibrand? She was definitely born to a political family, but none of them actually ran for office.
    – divibisan
    Jun 3 '21 at 15:01

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