WASHINGTON—Of the 94 incoming members of the House of Representatives, 90% are Republicans, nearly 40% have law degrees and about 35% have never before held elective office.
Oh, and at least 15% plan to bed down in their congressional offices.
It’s the ultimate I’m-not-a-professional-politician statement, reminiscent of the 1994 midterm elections, when a GOP House takeover led to a surge in House sleepovers.
With voters again shunning Washington and fiscal excess, a number of incoming House members plan to demonstrate their scorn for both by camping out near their new desks. Many more are still undecided but may well join the sleep-sofa caucus.
“Since I’m here on a temporary basis, I don’t see any need to have a permanent kind of residence,” says Rep.-elect Joe Heck, a Nevada Republican, who was thinking roll-out cot when he looked at office space this month.
Earlier this month, freshman lawmakers drew lots and chose the three-room suites they and their aides will inhabit in one of three House office buildings.
For many of them, a key selling point was not proximity to the House chamber, where they’ll vote, but to the House gym, where they’ll shower.
Rep.-elect Tim Griffin, an Army reservist, stood near the gym in the Rayburn House Office Building and used some compass software on his phone to navigate the paths to potential offices.
“We want to get as close to Rayburn as possible,” Mr. Griffin, an Arkansas Republican, told an aide. “I’ve got to walk all the way down this hall in the morning.”
He settled on a suite in the Longworth building with plenty of space for the six-foot sofa he says will be his bed for the foreseeable future. “I don’t want to see you in your bathrobe,” Rep.-elect Cory Gardner (R., Colo.), a non-office sleeper, told Mr. Griffin as freshmen rushed about Capitol Hill looking at available offices.