Not that it’s a contest, but there’s always been a little friendly rivalry among the freshman senators to see who first earns his or her “Golden Gavel” award.
That’s the prize given to a majority-party frosh who puts in at least 100 hours in a given year serving as the chamber’s presiding officer. Learning the parliamentary ropes can be tricky, and the gavel — it’s actually made of brass, not gold — is an enticement to get junior members into the chair, where they oversee the Senate floor, with all its attendant quirks and rules, calling votes and recognizing speakers. Sometimes, they even have to issue the occasional “the Senate will be in order!” to quiet down noisy colleagues.
Bonus: You get addressed as “Mr. President” or “Madame President,” even by Senate leaders, while you’re sitting in the big chair.
In this year’s derby, we hear Sen. Tammy Baldwin is leading the pack. The Wisconsin Democrat has logged 64 hours and 30 minutes so far.
But the reigning C-SPAN star might not want to get too comfortable — she’s just over an hour ahead of the rest of the pack, and those gavels sure are shiny...