Sibling rivalries in national politics

By Laurie Bennett

May 21, 2010 at 7:30am

Brother may be pitted against brother in the UK election to replace Gordon Brown as prime minister.

Former Foreign Secretary David Miliband has announced his candidacy for the Labour Party leadership. Although the field of competitors is crowded, his younger brother, Ed Miliband, may be his most formidable opponent.

Miliband the elder pledged Thursday that the rift would be confined to the political arena.

Nelson Rockefeller
Nelson Rockefeller

“Family’s the most important thing in life,” he said “Neither of us would do anything to compromise the family.”

Not since 1968 have brothers faced off for such a powerful position.

That was the year that Nelson Rockefeller, then governor of New York, ran for president. He received 277 votes at the Republican National Convention.

His brother Winthrop, governor of Arkansas, received all of the Arkansas delegation’s votes.

But the contest was a political ploy.

Winthrop Rockefeller
Winthrop Rockefeller

As Cathy Kunzinger Urwin writes in her biography, Agenda for Reform, Winthrop Rockefeller supported his brother’s candidacy.

Nelson Rockefeller’s backers believed that their candidate’s prospects would be improved if Richard Nixon were denied a first-ballot nomination. The Arkansas delegation voted unanimously on the first ballot to support Winthrop as a favorite-son candidate.

In the end, of course, the nomination went to Nixon. Nelson Rockefeller eventually reached the White House, but only as vice president under Gerald Ford.

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