The faithful volunteers and stalwart contributors, 100 in all, pressed forward to better hear the roll. There on the television monitor the names were beng read, each congressman, old and new. t
They shouted when his name was heard at last, clapping enthusiastically for Frank Wolf's first vote on the Hill.
For five years Frank Wolf wanted more than anything to be a congressman. After spending almost $1 million dollars, ans shaking nearly every hand in Northern Virginia's 10th District, he made it.
But the first vote -- for fellow Republican Robert H. Michel (R-Ill.) to be speaker of the House -- also was Wolf's first defeat. Michel lost to Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neil (D-Mass.).
"It felt great," said an almost smiling Wolf later. "It was a great moral victory."
Virginia's congressional representation took a decided turn to the right with the swearing in of conservatives Wolf and Stanford E. Parris from the neighboring 8th District. Both won in narrow victories over three-term incumbent Democrats in November's Reagan landslide and both were pleased to have done it.
"A funny thing happened on the way to Congress six years ago," said Parris, returning to Congress' marble halls after defeating Herb E. Harris, the man who had abruptly ended Parris' first term in 1974. "It seems like yesterday."
Already preparing to test their new strength, Parris and Wolf mustered on the first day with Virginia's eight other representatives (only one of whom is a Democrat) behind a bill to deepen the Hampton Roads shipping channel.
"I think," said Wolf's campaign chairman, former submarine captain Gus Hubal, "that starting tomorrow he [Wolf] will really start coming to grips with some of the real problems."
For almost everyone but Hubal, who sat poring over official papers amid the swirl of celebrators, yesterday was a day for jocularity and refreshment. Together Parris and Wolf had invited 700 of their favorite campaign workers and benefactors to savor the beginning of a new term.
In Wolf's office alone, decorated with an assortment of potted flora, there were two cheese balls and more Ritz crackers than anyone could eat.
"This is a great day for business," said George A. Daoust Jr., director of government liaison for the Planning Research Corporation, which contributed $5,000 to both campaigns. "What [Herb Harris] was trying to do was stamp out the free enterprise system. That's why Stan's here and Herb's not."
Though circulation between the two parties was continuous, it drifted decidedly in Parris' favor. Wolf offered no liquor, which flowed freely in the Parris offices.
"You know Frank doesn't drink. Not a drop," said one former Wolf campaign worker, now a full-time staff member. "He's very conservative in that regard. Even at the campaign parties, we had to buy our own because he didn't believe in spending campaign money on it."
"Wolf's serving punch and cookies and we're serving booze, so I guess everybody's ending up here," said one Parris aide, pointing up the "friendly rivalry" between the two congressmen. "We ran a fun campaign and we can have fun now. We'll start working tomorrow."
How friendly the rivalry will remain is another question. Already somewhat strained by skirmishes over the sharing of campaign contributors, it threatens to "become more interesting as we do redistricting that will affect the legislature," said a Parris spokesman.
That was the thing furthest from most minds yesterday, however, as newly appointed staff aides -- some seasoned campaigners with their first real jobs in years -- toasted their success.
"I'm really psyched," said George Webb, Wolf's 23-year-old finance chairman and now a legislative assistant. A roach scurried across the desk where Webb stood. "It's not a Democrat," he said. "It's all the -- in this place. It's really infested."