How the first Begiches, Pryors, Nunns, and Landrieus ran for office

May 30, 2014

Four of the Democrats hoping to be elected or re-elected to the Senate in November are children of men who also held prominent political positions. (And all four, we'll note, are in hotly-contested races.) But, we assure you, the campaigns the four fathers ran were substantially different than those of their kids.


If you want to see how Maurice Landrieu was on the campaign trail, it's easy. Known as "Moon," the former New Orleans mayor cut an ad for his daughter Mary's campaign to be reelected to the Senate.

Senator Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.) features one of her biggest supporters in a new campaign commercial - her dad. Former New Orleans mayor Maurice 'Moon' Landrieu gives a personal view on the senator's personality. (Video courtesy Mary Landrieu for Senate)

Same with Sam Nunn, the former Georgia senator whose daughter Michelle is hoping to follow in his footsteps. He appears in a spot for her race toward the end — but also in a black-and-white photo at the beginning.

What's really interesting, though, is not how the fathers campaign now. It's how they campaigned back then.


David Pryor served as senator for the state of Arkansas until 1997, when he retired and was replaced by Tim Hutchinson. (Tim Hutchinson, in turn, was replaced by Mark Pryor, who's up for reelection this year.) But before he was a senator, Pryor was a member of the U.S. House, winning election to that body in 1966.

Against some steep competition.


That's David, at right, as pictured in the El Dorado Times of El Dorado, Arkansas on July 26, 1966.

He did all the things you'd expect of a candidate in 1966, like making appearances on local radio programs, as advertised here in The Camden News, that November.


image2

And he dragged his family around the state, stopping in Fayetteville that September to stay with his in-laws.

Pryor won, obviously, but not without a fight. Richard Arnold (at left, above) ran an ad against Pryor in the News in August, criticizing Pryor for voting against new spending. (The ad ends, "Watch Richard Arnold on Tv Monday, Aug. 8, Channels 6-7-10.")


After two years in Washington, Pryor's re-election seemed a bit easier. The News ran a two-page spread in 1968, praising "Camden's Young Man On The Go."



Two years later, another fresh face was elected to Congress: Nick Begich, a state senator from Alaska. (This year, his son Mark hopes to win reelection to the U.S. Senate from the state.) He only served two years. A plane in which he was riding went missing in October 1972 and was never found.

Nick Begich's 1970 campaign was a lot like Pryor's four years before. He ran ads in the paper; this one is from the Daily Sitka Sentinel that October. As befits a House hopeful from a remote state, he got a booth at the Alaska State Fair. It's highlighted below on a portion of a map of the exhibit hall provided by the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. (He was right next to the tables for the Encyclopedia Brittanica, and happily nowhere near the table for the John Birch Society.)


But Begich saved his heavy firepower for shortly before the election. On Halloween, the Daily News-Miner contained a supplement: a 12-page pull-out making the case for his candidacy. It opened with a stern portrait of Begich and ended with a happy shot of the full Begich family. Some excerpts are below.


begsp1

begsp4


The carpet bombing strategy worked. Begich won his race against the Republican nominee — a gentleman named Frank Murkowski. Murkowski's daughter, as you may be aware, is currently a U.S. senator from the state of Alaska.

Philip Bump writes about politics for The Fix. He is based in New York City.
Continue reading
Comments
Show Comments