Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
All the attention Andrew Cuomo, New York's new attorney general is receiving (for example from our own Alan Greenblatt, see the third item here) got me wondering what other children of former governors hold positions of power in state government. When I start wondering, usually it's not long before I start researching, which is exactly what happened in this case.
I came up with six other current statewide elected officials whose fathers were governor (see the list below). If I'd counted appointed officials or those who don't hold statewide offices, my list would have been much bigger, including folks such as state Senator Chris Romer in Colorado or state Senator Thomas Kean, Jr. in New Jersey.
Of these six people, all of them, like Cuomo, are Democrats. The most likely explanation for this partisan slant is coincidence. The second most likely explanation is that there are lots of other sons and daughters of governors who I didn't discover (I'd love to hear additions to my list).
However, here's a theory in the event that those two explanations are wrong. Between the Republican Revolution of 1994 and the 2006 Democratic revival, and especially in the 2002-2004 timeframe, the Democratic Party's image was generally poor. In that context, Democratic Party leaders eagerly recruited "legacy" candidates, whose golden names could overcome their leaden party label.
That said, the evidence I have here only partially supports this theory. It's not as though New York Democrats were in despair in 2006, which made them seek another Cuomo. Regardless, it will be interesting to see whether Republicans start recruiting famous children in time for 2008.State Child Office Father AL Jim Folsom Jr. Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom, Sr. CA Jerry Brown AG Pat Brown KS Kathleen Sebelius Governor Jack Gilligan (of OH) MO Robin Carnahan Sec. of State Mel Carnahan NV Ross Miller Sec. of State Bob Miller NY Andrew Cuomo AG Mario Cuomo VT Thomas M. Salmon Auditor Thomas P. Salmon
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.