Susheela Jayapal, the sister of Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Washington state Democrat who chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, announced Wednesday that she is running for a congressional seat from the neighboring state of Oregon.
Susheela Jayapal entered the race to succeed Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), who this week announced his plans to retire after nearly three decades in Congress.
If elected, the Jayapals would be the first sisters to serve in Congress at the same time from different states. Rep. Linda T. Sanchez (D-Calif.) and former Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) were the first sisters to serve in Congress simultaneously.
Susheela Jayapal’s announcement included a list of people endorsing her candidacy. The first person on the list was her sister, though their relationship was not noted. But on social media, the congresswoman cheered the news.
“My incredible sister Susheela just launched her campaign for Congress!,” Rep. Jayapal wrote on X, and she included a link so people can donate to her campaign. In another post, the representative wrote that “I couldn’t be more excited,” and she shared a picture of them when they were children.
Family dynasties have percolated in U.S. politics for decades.
Generations of the Kennedys have served in elected offices, in Washington as well as Boston and New York. The sprawling Bush family includes two presidents and a couple of governors. The Cuomo and Romney families include fathers who were elected governor before their sons were also elected governor.
Liz Whitmer Gereghty, a small-business founder and sister of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), is running for a congressional seat on the ballot next year in New York.
In 2019, when Mike Pence was serving as vice president, his brother, Greg, was sworn in to a congressional seat in their home state of Indiana.
While some siblings have tried, not many end up serving alongside one another. From 2003 to 2017, Linda Sanchez served alongside her older sister, Loretta Sanchez, both in California districts.
Susheela Jayapal resigned as a Multnomah County commissioner on Wednesday to run for Congress, the Oregon county announced in a news release. She had served as a commissioner since 2019.
In a statement announcing her congressional race, Susheela Jayapal said we’re ‘at a pivotal point in our country and in our district,” and that House Republicans are “beholden to extremist ideologues attacking our democracy and our rights.”
Because of that, she added, “it’s more important than ever that we have an unwavering progressive voice in Congress.”
The district is considered a safe seat for Democrats. It includes much of Portland and Multnomah County and voted for President Biden in 2020 by more than 50 percentage points.