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House office lottery inspires back flips on Capitol Hill

Most people these days aren't doing backflips for Congress. But an aide to Rep.-elect Gwen Graham, D-Florida, wanted to make sure the freshman congresswoman had some fanfare as she drew her number in the House of Representatives office lottery.

"It brings you good luck," said Paul Woodward, who is married to Graham's chief of staff, explaining why he one-upped 2012 freshman Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Illinois, whose staffer did a cartwheel during the selection process.

He may have been right -- Graham drew No. 6 out of 57. "It was a significant influence on us getting number six!" Graham told CBS News. "We have a list of offices, but I'll be happy wherever we end up."

House Building Supervisor Bill Weidemeyer, who has run the lottery for the past four years, mused: "It's funny. You always remember who drew number one; you always remember who drew the last number."

This year, Steve Knight, a Republican from California, scored the lucky No. 1, and chose Longworth 1023. Barbara Comstock, R-Virginia, drew last-place 57, and ended up with Cannon 226.

Longworth and Cannon were the only options for freshmen, since every one of the offices in the coveted Rayburn building was already claimed by more senior members. After more than a week of grueling orientation, though, most members at the day's end were likely just happy to have a place in the Capitol to call their own.

"It is such a privilege to have any office in the people's House," said Comstock, despite the unlucky pick. "I am thrilled."

The office lottery seemed to bring out the best in the new members, regardless of party affiliation.

"I have so enjoyed meeting all the freshmen and have developed a lot of friendships with Republicans and Democrats," Graham said. "It's been great."

Weidemeyer observed a similar trend: "It's nice," he said, "because it seems like there's a lot of camaraderie between the members. I've been seeing members calling each other by first names, cheering each other on. It's just refreshing."