WORKING ON THE HILL: Why Do So Many Staffers Resign From The Staffs Of These Senators And Representatives?

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) had the highest rate of staff turnover in 2019, according to rankings calculated by Legistorm. But there may be more to their stories than first thought.

Senators and representatives tend to create their own unique staff universes that to some degree reflect themselves, so a lot of attention is paid to those with the highest and lowest turnover rates.

But a high turnover rate is not necessarily an indicator of a “bad boss” job seekers should avoid, especially in the cases of Harris and Granger. Harris made an unsuccessful bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Such campaigns almost always have a big impact on an incumbent’s staff and Harris ranked much lower in prior years.

As for Granger, the Texas Republican has been in the House for a decade and is the ranking minority member of the appropriations committee, so the normal expectation might well be that she has low turnover and an experienced staff.

But Granger could have a tough re-election primary this year, and the staff turnover could reflect experienced people moving over to her campaign staff. Other than a big spike in 2015, Granger has since 2000 been among the representatives with the lowest turnover rates.

Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas). Official photograph.

As Legistorm cautions, there are multiple reasons a high turnover rate isn’t necessarily a red flag for job seekers:

“The data can’t tell us why turnover is so high. Short periods of time like a single year can make such measurements particularly unreliable. In single years, members might be hit by bad staffing luck or need a change in strategic focus caused by outside events.

“Members who are a few months away from leaving Congress particularly should not be compared with their peers since high turnover is expected, sometimes even with the member helping staffers get placed in other jobs.

“When new presidential administrations begin, particular offices with affinities to the administration might be tapped for talent at a much higher rate than normal. But for longer periods of time, turnover becomes a more reliable indicator of which offices staff might want to avoid if they can.”

Following Harris in the Senate’s top 10 turnover staffs for 2019, as calculated by Legistorm are these solons:

  • Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)
  • Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
  • Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)
  • Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA)
  • Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)
  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
  • Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
  • Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE)
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

The top 10 in the House for 2019 includes, following Granger:

  • Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
  • Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA)
  • Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI)
  • Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA)
  • Rep. Nannette Diaz Barragan (D-CA)
  • Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ)
  • Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas)
  • Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC)
  • Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO)

The “winners” for the highest turnover rate since 2000 are Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragan (D-CA).

Following Klobuchar in the Senate are:

  • Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA)
  • Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)
  • Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
  • Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR)
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
  • Sen. Michael Bennett (D-CO)
  • Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)
  • Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CN)

Following Barragan in the House are:

  • Rep. Jody Arrington (R-Texas)
  • Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas)
  • Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA)
  • Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ)
  • Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas)
  • Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA)
  • Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas)
  • Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA)
  • Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas)

Look Who’s Moving Up On The Hill This Week


Author: Mark Tapscott

Follower of Christ, devoted husband of Claudia, doting father and grandfather, conservative lover of liberty, journalist and First Amendment fanatic, former Hill and Reagan aide, vintage Formula Ford racer, Okie by birth/Texan by blood/proud of both, resident of Maryland. Go here:

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