The 2018 midterm election gave Democrats a majority in the House. Interest groups are adapting.
Washington offices of major corporations now are grappling with how to work a Democratic House full of newly elected members, many of whom ran on promises to resist special interests and who are generallyyounger and more diverse than the denizens of K Street.
“Who knows House leadership?” said Heather Podesta, a top Democratic lobbyist, describing the conversations in companies’ Washington offices right now. “Who knows Pelosi? Who is the Congressional Black Caucus lobbyist that we need to hire?”
Some lobbying firms — the biggest of which are typically bipartisan and pride themselves on their ability to thrive no matter which party is in power — and companies have already hired new Democratic lobbyists in anticipation the party might take back the House. The law and lobbying firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck over the summer hired Nadeam Elshami, a former chief of staff to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who’s poised to return to the speakership if she can survive a potential rebellion among her members.
“We’ve got a former chief of staff to Mitch McConnell and a former chief of staff to Nancy Pelosi,” said Marc Lampkin, a Republican and the managing partner of Brownstein Hyatt’s Washington office.
Others waited until after the election to see which way the winds blew, meaning the scramble to snap up Democratic Hill staffers and others with policy expertise is far from over, said Ivan Adler, a headhunter who specializes in the lobbying business.
“Either you have enough Democrats or don’t, and if you don’t, you’re playing catch-up,” Adler said.