The mood was lively Thursday in the House Appropriations hearing room in the Rayburn building. Freshman members with last names beginning with ‘C’ were being called.
Rep.-elect Lou Correa crossed himself as he walked up to the table in the front. The California Democrat drew a number from the well-stirred box of chips. The odds had improved since his Texas Republican colleague-to-be Jodey Arrington drew first, selecting No. 14 from the 56-chip pool.
When the emcee announced that Correa had picked No. 1, the crowd cheered and yelled, “That’s crazy!”
In the most unique of all House orientation events, the freshman class picked their chips for room selections on Thursday.
The traditional room lottery draw, run by the Architect of the Capitol House Superintendent’s Office, requires every newly elected member to pick a numbered chip as they’re called by their last names in alphabetical order.
The chip number corresponds to the order in which they can choose an office.
A list of vacant offices in the Longworth and Cannon buildings were handed out at the beginning to audience members, who included staffers and families.
“This will be an Olympic event in four years,” the House Administration staffer emcee said, while his colleague spun the chips around in their box.
Correa flashed peace signs as he walked back down the aisle to his seat, also giving high-fives along the way.
“I think Mr. Arrington knew it, but for those of you who have not seen … the prior member lotteries, if you have any good luck charms or act that brings you luck — we’ve had a staffer do a cartwheel, not joking. So the more you do things like that, the better your number will be,” the emcee said.
When Maryland Democrat Anthony Brown went up to pick a chip, he bent down and struck the ‘lightning’ pose popularized by Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. Brown picked No. 34.
With every pick, the crowd reacted with laughter, sighs of disappointment, and banter among colleagues. Staffers in the crowd cheered on bosses as they went up to make a pick.
Florida Democrat Charlie Crist selected No. 50, with a ghastly look on his face. Shouts of “Thank you, Governor!” and “Praise the lord!” were heard from the crowd.
Georgia Republican Drew Ferguson drew No. 2. Crist walked up and hugged him.
The House Clerk, Karen Haas, drew for Louisiana’s 3rd and 4th Districts, whose members will be decided in a Dec. 10 runoff. For the 3rd, she chose No.3 and the crowd booed. For the 4th, she picked No. 46.
Michigan Republican Paul Mitchell brought Correa up with him for good luck.
“Mr. Correa, I mean, Mr. Mitchell, drew No. 17,” the emcee said.
“You’re welcome bro, you owe me!” Correa said to Mitchell.
Following the draw, members walked around the House buildings to evaluate what rooms they may want. The selection process began at 2 p.m.
But one member tweeted that he was on his way home instead of doing the typical walk-through.
Other Freshmen are decorating their offices. I flew home so I could be w/ new Clark County GOP elected officials as they take their oaths. pic.twitter.com/vr2HcvlcoA