A formidable who's-who list of famous names was in play on Election Day, with politically pedigreed surnames like Kennedy, Shriver and Carnahan enjoying success and a movie star's father going down in defeat.
The Carnahan name continued to reap political power in Missouri, where the son and daughter of the late-Gov. Mel Carnahan (search) and former U.S. Sen. Jean Carnahan (search) prevailed in their respective races.
Democratic state Rep. Russ Carnahan (search) won a congressional race to take over the seat vacated by retiring Rep. Dick Gephardt (search). Meanwhile, his sister, Robin Carnahan (search), won her race to become Missouri's secretary of state.
With her mother standing behind her at a party in St. Louis, Robin Carnahan referred to the family's political heritage as she remembered the loss of her father and brother in a plane crash shortly before the 2000 election. The crash also killed a Carnahan aide.
"My only regret is that Dad and Randy ... " and paused, her voice breaking, blinking back tears, "and Chris aren't here with us. But I tell you, I know they're up there somewhere; they're smiling and celebrating."
In Kentucky, Democrat Nick Clooney (search) couldn't exchange his own measure of fame for victory, losing his bid for a U.S. House seat. Clooney, a former Cincinnati anchorman, is the father of actor George Clooney and the brother of the late singer-actress Rosemary Clooney (search).
Clooney was humble in defeat, saying it wasn't a reflection on his party. "We just picked the wrong candidate this time," Clooney said.
Republican beer baron Pete Coors' Senate campaign ran dry in Colorado, where Democrat Ken Salazar nabbed a seat once thought to be solidly in the GOP column.
Salazar, the state's two-term attorney general, will head to Congress with his brother, John, who won a close House contest in Colorado.
The Kennedy political dynasty was alive and well in Rhode Island, where voters easily handed U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy a sixth term. Kennedy is the son of Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy.
Not to be outdone, cousin Bobby Shriver, who also is the brother of California first lady Maria Shriver, won a city council seat in Santa Monica in his first political bid. The 50-year-old had said his interest in city politics sprang not from his family's legacy, but from citations he and neighbors received over the height of their hedges.
In other races where family ties played a role:
— In Utah, brothers Scott and Jim Matheson, the sons of a former governor, had mixed results. Scott Matheson Jr. lost his own gubernatorial bid, while younger brother Jim held a narrow lead over his Republican challenger in his bid to keep his House seat.
— In Arizona, Democrat Paul Babbitt, brother of former Interior Secretary and one-time Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt, lost his congressional bid to Rep. Rick Renzi.
— In Louisiana, the political novice son and namesake of retiring Rep. Billy Tauzin won a runoff slot in a bid to replace his dad. Republican Billy Tauzin III, a 30-year-old lobbyist, will try to keep the seat in his family against Democrat Charlie Melancon.
— In Florida, Republican Connie Mack IV, son of former U.S. Sen. Connie Mack III, won the congressional seat once occupied by his father.
— In Pennsylvania, Democratic Auditor General Robert P. Casey Jr., the son of the late former Gov. Robert P. Casey, won the treasurer's office in a landslide. And Republican attorney Scott Paterno, son of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, lost his congressional bid.
— First-term state Rep. Dan Boren, the son of former governor and U.S. senator and current University of Oklahoma president David Boren, was elected to the House in Oklahoma.
— In Kentucky, Harold Fletcher, Gov. Ernie Fletcher's older brother, was beaten in his bid for state Senate. He was running against a former governor.
— In Virginia, Republican Lisa Marie Cheney lost her bid for a congressional seat. Cheney's husband is a distant relative of the vice president.