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Election Day was brutal on Democrats � especially Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), who narrowly lost his bid for a fourth term. But Daschle’s defeat gave K Street a possible Democratic pickup: The soon-to-be-former senator is a big fish that law and lobby shops and corporations would pay top dollar to snatch up. Though Daschle is the marquee name, he isn’t the only potential lobbyist who may emerge from the minority leader’s office. He has a top-notch staff with particular expertise in health care issues. “He has a team around him that’s very dedicated and very loyal,” says Anthony Podesta, co-chairman of PodestaMattoon. Anne Urban, a lobbyist with Venn Strategies and a one-time aide to Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), says that Daschle “has one of the best and most well-respected staffs on the Hill.” Some of the standout prospects on Daschle’s staff include Mark Childress, his chief counsel; Pete Rouse, his chief of staff; and Nancy Erickson, his deputy chief of staff. A number of Daschle’s leadership and committee staff members are likely to remain on the Hill � perhaps working for the next minority leader, presumably Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.). “Reid . . . will need to hire people of that caliber,” says a Democratic lobbyist. Other aides who thrive in the Senate will likely find other open slots on the Hill. Podesta said last week that he hadn’t yet spoken with Daschle, but added, “I know he loves South Dakota and has loved his service in Washington. I’ve known him since he was first running for the House. I think he’ll take his time and find his way carefully. I think he could end up splitting his time” between South Dakota and the District. A handful of lobby shop managers contacted for this article say they have not yet approached Daschle. But Democrats as well as Republican lobbyists say there’s no doubt that Daschle will be a sought-after commodity. And his D.C. opportunities could include lobbying and corporate board jobs or a gig with a foundation, think tank, investment bank, or university. Daschle’s wife, Linda, is a senior public policy adviser at Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz. In his speech conceding victory to former Rep. John Thune (R-S.D.) in Sioux Falls, S.D., Daschle indicated that he had no intention of abandoning the state that denied him another term in the Senate. Some lobbying insiders say they see Daschle, if he were to take a K Street job, filling a role similar to that of former Senate Majority Leaders Bob Dole (R-Kan.), who is at Alston & Bird, or George Mitchell (D-Maine) of Piper Rudnick. Both maintain a legislative practice, but have also conducted high-level international and U.S. diplomatic meetings as well as speaking engagements. Of course Daschle, who will be 57 this December, could likely manage a more active schedule than Mitchell or Dole, who are 71 and 81, respectively. “He’s a very energetic and purposeful guy,” says the head of a lobbying practice at a major law firm. No matter what Daschle’s future plans include, changes in the Senate’s minority party are certain. The Democratic caucus will have just 44 members when the next Congress convenes, a loss of four seats. But lobbyists with longtime ties to leader-apparent Reid and his whip operation are among the tiny minority of Democratic lobbyists who actually watched their stock go up. If Daschle possessed a certain kind of predictability, with Reid all bets are off, lobbyists say. One area where Reid differs from Daschle is on tort reform. Reid is a co-sponsor of legislation to limit litigation over obesity. Although some business lobbyists predict more of the same with Reid, many of their colleagues say they see a difference between the two. Reid is considered more pro-business, and he is also well-suited to making deals � as demonstrated by his finesse in helping Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont switch his party affiliation from Republican to Independent. Reid maintains strong connections with lobbyists who represent gaming and hospitality sectors, which are crucial to Nevada. Frank Fahrenkopf Jr., the chief executive of the American Gaming Association, although he is a Republican, has donated to Reid’s campaign coffers. Lee Culpepper, the chief lobbyist for the National Restaurant Association and a Republican who backed Daschle’s opponent, calls Reid “somebody that we could work with much better than Daschle.” The circle of lobbyists closest to Reid includes Patrick Murphy of Colling Murphy Swift Hynes Selfridge, who served in the Nevada Legislature while Reid was lieutenant governor; James Ryan, who logged 10 years on the Reid staff and is now a lobbyist with Citigroup; Charles Merin, managing director of BKSH & Associates and a confidant of Reid’s; Peter Arapis, the Ford Motor Co.’s legislative manager and Reid’s former senior policy adviser and floor manager; Larry Werner, a one-time Reid campaign and Senate aide who is director of federal lobbying services at Dykema Gossett; and Greenberg Traurig lobbyist and native Nevadan Edward Ayoob, a legislative counsel to Reid in the Senate. Democratic fund-raising insiders, such as Piper Rudnick’s John Merrigan, as well as senior Daschle aides are also considered to have an in with Reid.

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