10 staffers to watch
Floor director, House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.)
Covey-Brandt has been a behind-the-scenes player in every major piece of House legislation. She and Hoyer have a tricky challenge: making things happen in the minority. "I think there are things that we can get done," she said.
Speechwriter and senior communications adviser, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.)
Carpenter was already known as a conservative journalist and frequent cable-news guest when she made the move to Capitol Hill in 2010. For the past year, she has been writing op-eds, floor statements and talking points for DeMint. At last count, she had more than 16,000 Twitter followers.
Chief of staff, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.)
As the top aide to the most powerful Democrat on the Hill, Krone is taking charge of Reid's leadership office at a crucial moment. With Reid at the helm of a more partisan Senate, expect Krone to help him strategize about when to compromise with resurgent Republicans and when to stand for progressive principles.
Communications director, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
Elshami is taking over as the new minority leader's message maven. He'll help her defend accomplishments Democrats made during the 111th Congress, including the health-care law. Elshami's team is expected to be a liberal voice in an increasingly conservative government.