Members of Congress were not the only ones on Capitol Hill who were worried about losing their jobs Tuesday night.
Many GW students who intern for senators and congressmen said they worried election results would affect their internships if their candidate did not win.
The results of the House election brought Democrats a net gain of two seats, with two elections yet to be decided. The results of the Senate race gave Democrats a net gain of three seats, with one race yet to be decided. But Democrats failed to gain a majority in either chamber.
There are some races that are in doubt, and that causes some concern, said Christina Nabholz, internship director for the College Democrats. The CDs are also worried about getting internships in the White House if Bush wins office, she said.
It is a concern, but even if we cannot work in the White House there are still a lot of opportunities for internships, Nabholz said. Interest groups will always be lobbying regardless of who’s in office and there is the opportunity for internships with them.
Interns for candidates in close races had more cause for concern.
Sophomore Maria Comella is an intern for Rep. Rick Lazio, (R-N.Y.). Up until Tuesday night, Lazio was in a close race for the Senate seat in New York against first lady Hillary Clinton, who defeated Lazio by a large margin and claimed the seat being vacated by Sen. Daniel Moynihan (D).
When Lazio lost his bid to move to the Senate, Comella said her internship in his congressional office ended. However, if Lazio had won, she said she could have applied to be a part of his Senate staff.
Everyone in the office can reapply, Comella said. The Senate office is larger than the congressional office, so there (was) a good chance that I (would have been) able to continue my internship there.
Comella said she is looking for another internship.
I’m not sure what I’ll do, she said. I just have to look over my options and see what will be available next semester.
Other interns did not worry as much about the risk of losing their internship. Sophomore Ben Goldstein interns for Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.). Kennedy was very far ahead during his campaign, holding almost 80 percent of the vote in Massachusetts the day before the election, Goldstein said. Kennedy won his race by a wide margin.
Goldstein’s concern with the election was not about whether his senator would win, but if the Democrats would gain a majority in Congress.
I want the Democrats to take over the Congress, he said. The House is the most realistic chance that we have at gaining a majority, and I hope they do. Of course, I also hope for a Democratic presidency.
Even though the Democrats did not gain the majority in Congress, Goldstein said there would be no direct impact on his work.
Immediately this does not affect my work in the office, he said. One hopes for bipartisan cooperation.
However, Goldstein expressed concern with the Republican majority. With a Republican majority everything will pass through and it will be harder to push the Democrats’ agenda, he said.
Junior Shannon Flaherty said she had a different set of concerns going into the election.
Flaherty is a staff member for Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R-Wash.). Dunn was more than 60 points ahead in a pre-election poll and ultimately won her election, so Flaherty was not worried about Dunn’s re-election, she said.
But Flaherty said she was more anxious about Dunn moving up in political ranks because she was instrumental in Bush’s campaign.
Because she is so revered by Bush she could move into a cabinet position, Flaherty said. It’s one of those things where you wish her well, but then if she moves up, will I move up with her?
Flaherty said she believes many interns share this worry as power transfers party hands.
A lot of people in Congress could be going into the executive branch, she said. I don’t know what will happen to our positions in that case.
Comella explained the importance of this election for interns.
In general this is a very volatile and important election, she said. Anyone with a current internship could experience a change of position as the entire dynamic of the Congress changes.