Rep. Allen West drew a ton of attention -- I think he's the most-analyzed freshman of the transition -- after briefly selecting radio host Joyce Kaufman as his chief of staff. But West's slip-up over the hiring of a controversial outsider seems to be a one-off. Other Republicans newly elected to Congress seem to be tapping DC insiders, some of them with lobbying experience. For example, here are the chiefs of staff to six new members.
Sen. Mike Lee (UT) - Spencer Stokes , an energy lobbyist.
Sen. Rand Paul (KY) -
, VP of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
Rep. Nan Hayworth (NY) -- Jonathan Day , coming over from the Republican Study Committee.
Rep. Mike Kelly (PA) -
, a Republican operative who worked for Arlen Specter in the state until Specter's 2009 party switch. Snyder was Kelly's campaign manager, but the irony of a
hiring a former Specter staffer is hard to miss.
Rep. Charlie Bass (NH) - John Billings , his old chief of staff before his 2006 defeat, and later a "public policy advocate" for the Food Marketing Institute.
And my favorite: Minnesota's Chip Cravaack , who beat Rep. Jim Oberstar in an upset, has summoned former Sen. Rod Grams, who is interim COS although Cravaack says he's not rushing to get a replacement. (Is there any other case of a former senator serving as a congressman's chief of staff?)
These hiring decisions won't be firmed up for a while, but you're going to see plenty more lobbyists take these jobs than conservative radio hosts.