Freshman’s House office search foreshadows the legislator he might be

Published 2:33 PM EST, Mon December 3, 2012

Story highlights

Tom Cotton is second Republican to win Arkansas 4th District since Reconstruction

In searching for an office, Cotton gave a glimpse of who he would be as a legislator

Cotton is a Harvard law grad, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan

Considered an up-an-comer, he dismissed talk of higher office in 2014

Washington CNN —  

Eagerness fills the room – nearly 70 freshman congressman sit and wait to begin the process of selecting their first House office. Most of the fresh faces exchange pleasantries and glad-hand one another in anticipation of the drawing.

But Republican Congressman-elect Tom Cotton of Arkansas sits quietly, hunched over in his chair, looking at a mix of maps and papers he has assembled – all aimed to optimize the search process. Each available office is listed on a spreadsheet in front of him which is just waiting to be scrawled on.

Even when incoming Rep. Julia Brownley of California picks No. 1 in the lottery – which elicits applause and a few “Hey, yo” shouts from the back of the room – Cotton claps but remains focused.

Cotton has devised a rating system and applied it to his spreadsheet. The offices will be rated from one to four on a number of factors – size of the office, availability for a conference room and view. It is also important that the office be close to Rayburn – a building considered the power center of the House, due to the powerful lawmakers who have officers there and the number of committee rooms inside.

Cotton, 35, is looking for the perfect office – down to the color of the walls and drapes – even though these bottom of the barrel selections are unlikely to meet all of his expectations.

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