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10 staffers to watch

Wednesday, January 5, 2011; 12:18 AM

ALEXIS COVEY-BRANDT

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.

AMANDA CARPENTER

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.

DAVID KRONE

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.

NADEAM ELSHAMI

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.

STEVE STOMBRES

Chief of staff, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.)

Stombres, a Virginia native and Fairfax City Council member, joined Cantor's staff in 2001. He is now leading the office in charge of House floor operations, including the crucial task of deciding which legislation goes to the floor and when. Stombres says he wants to ensure that any bills that get floor time will create jobs.

ROBBY MOOK

Executive director, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

Under DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.), Mook is trying to orchestrate a House Democratic comeback in 2012 after the party suffered record losses in 2010. "Certainly the last cycle was very tough," Mook said. "But there are a lot of opportunities ahead of us."

JOSH HOLMES

Chief of staff, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

In just five years, Holmes has gone from a junior senator's office to heading McConnell's communications shop. At 31, he's taking the helm of McConnell's personal office, where his focus will turn toward serving Kentucky constituents and pushing for legislation to reduce spending, reduce the national debt and reform entitlement programs.

NICK SCHAPER

Director of new media, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio)

Schaper spent 2010 in charge of new media for the innovative communications team that rocketed Boehner to speaker. Watch for him to spend the session not only distributing Boehner's message but also helping the 87 new House Republicans learn the ropes of communicating online. "I'm probably most excited about learning from them," Schaper said.

DOUG STAFFORD

Chief of staff, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

Stafford's job is a high-profile test case for the fortunes of the tea party movement in Washington. It's telling that as his top staffer, Paul chose Stafford, a campaign aide who had never worked on the Hill. That's not to say that Stafford doesn't know his way around the legislative process. He spent the past dozen years at the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.

CYNTHIA HERRLE

Assistant for policy to House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio)

In more than 15 years on the Hill, Herrle has worked for five members. As Boehner steps into the role of speaker, she has become his point person for coordinating with other House and Senate Republican leaders. Her top priority is organizing a united front to cut spending and "get this country back on solid fiscal footing," she said.

- Beth Marlowe, WhoRunsGov.com

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