#AKSen and #LASen: Mark Begich and Mary Landrieu Play Up Their Family Ties

Senators Mary Landrieu and Mark Begich are red state Democrats who do it right. Both tack right on issues important to the states they represent, fight for popular programs like Medicare and Social Security, and highlight how they have harnessed the power of their office to fight for their respective states. Some red state Dems could learn a thing or two from them.

But Senators Begich and Landrieu have something else going as they run for re-election in deep red Alaska and Louisiana: local political dynasties. And they haven’t been shy about using their family name to let voters know they can be trusted to deliver.

Landrieu appears with her father Moon, a former US Rep from New Orleans and HUD Secretary under President Carter, in a series of folksy ads designed to play up the popular Landrieu name in a state famous for its longtime family dynasties. Besides her father’s accomplishments, Landrieu’s younger brother Mitch is currently running to succeed Bobby Jindal as Governor of Louisiana in 2015 (likely against current Senator David Vitter).

In a similar vein, Begich vows to carry on his father’s legacy of constituent outreach (Rep. Nick Begich died in a plane crash in 1972 while travelling to visit constituents) in a very personal ad narrated by the Senator’s wife.

The spot does a great job of emphasizing Begich’s Alaskan roots; something former state AG Dan Sullivan and current LG Mead Treadwell have struggled with as the two leading GOP candidates (Sullivan and Treadwell both have Harvard degrees and are from Ohio and Connecticut, respectively, while Begich is the only current US Senator without a college degree and has spent his whole life in Alaska).

Neither Landrieu nor Begich have been the most progressive Senator in the country, but despite their occasional shifts right on energy and gun policies, they remain very valuable Democrats with impeccable political skills. By emphasizing their support for popular progressive policies, playing up their iconic family names, and touting their records, these red state Democrats have a clear path to re-election.