WASHINGTON – They won their elections, but the really important contest for members of the incoming freshman congressional class came Friday, with the traditional lottery drawing to see who gets first pick of House offices.
Members-elect or their staffers gathered in the Rayburn House Office Building to draw numbers from an “ancient box” that would determine where they’ll be working for the next two years.
Bill Weidemeyer, the superintendent of House office buildings, presided over the event, warning that those who were among the last to pick their offices would have bad luck during their term in Congress. He encouraged members-elect to bolster their luck through various means.
“We’ve been doing this for a number of years, and I’ve had members come up and do a gyration or a dance,” Weidemeyer told the boisterous crowd as they waited in a committee hearing room for the drawing to start Friday morning.
The crowd appeared to take Weidemeyer’s advice. One member rubbed a bald man’s head as she walked up to draw her number. One congresswoman did push-ups, another high-fived the House staffers behind the podium at the front of the room.