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Chelsea Clinton: Why she might run for Congress

After Hillary Clinton's crushing loss to President-elect Donald Trump, the family could seek to continue its political dynasty by supporting a Chelsea Clinton run for a New York congressional seat. 

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Chelsea Clinton speaks at a campaign rally in Raleigh, N.C., in November. Rumors have begun to circle that the younger Clinton could be eyeing a seat representing New York's 17th district.

Chris Keane/Reuters/File

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Despite Hillary Clinton’s loss in the presidential race, the Clinton name might still have a future in politics.

Speculation is already rising that Chelsea Clinton may run for a congressional seat in New York following the retirement of a 79-year-old Democratic incumbent. Rep. Nita Lowey has spent almost 30 years in office representing New York’s 17th district, which covers Rockland County and parts of Westchester — where Bill and Hillary Clinton reside.

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“While it is true the Clintons need some time to regroup after Hillary’s crushing loss, they will not give up,” a source close to the Clintons told The New York Post. “Chelsea would be the next extension of the Clinton brand. In the past few years, she has taken a very visible role in the Clinton Foundation and on the campaign trail. While politics isn’t the life Hillary wanted for Chelsea, she chose to go on the campaign trail for her mother and has turned out to be very poised, articulate and comfortable with the visibility.”

Some voters have decried the strongholds establishment politicians have on the system, but others have embraced the familiar and find comfort in the experience and connections they can bring to the table. If she decided to run, this would be Chelsea Clinton’s first bid for office, her in-depth knowledge of the political process and involvement as a surrogate on the Clinton campaign trail could make her a viable candidate for the position.

Many Americans are drawn to brand-name politicians.

“There is some kind of strange comfort in going for the same thing, even though that means you’re going for people from the system,” Julian Zelizer, a historian at Princeton University, told The Christian Science Monitor last year when asked about political dynasties.

“People are searching for someone who might be able to work through the gridlock in Washington, who might be able to survive in a very contentious and difficult political system,” he added. “That kind of experience, whether it’s through family or through official positions, becomes attractive to people.”

As a board member of the Clinton Foundation and key part of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Chelsea Clinton has the kind of experience that has propelled other first-time candidates to political positions.

While her current residence in Manhattan may make her seem out touch with the 17th district, Bill and Hillary Clinton’s decision to buy a house next to theirs in Chappaqua in August could be a strategic move. Some have speculated that the house could play home to Chelsea, her husband Marc Mezvinsky, and their two young children.

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“There has been a lot of speculation within New York Democratic circles about Lowey’s retirement and Chelsea running for the seat,” the source told the Post of a potential Clinton run. “There is a belief that Chappaqua is a logical place for Chelsea to run, because it would be straightforward for her to raise money and build a powerful base.”

[Editor's note: This article has been corrected to clarify the reason Chelsea Clinton's residence status in Manhattan could affect her election chances in Chappaqua.]