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As I wrote this weekend, hiring a staff is a paramount challenge for new members. Incoming Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has picked a veteran Democratic political operative for his chief of staff position, Chris Kofinis. He doesn't really fall into the legislative insider category or the old West Virginia pro either, as all his experience seems to be in running campaigns and message strategy. Below is the report this morning from Politico's Jonathan Allen in "The Huddle:"

New West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin will announce today that he has hired veteran Democratic consultant and TV talking head Chris Kofinis as his chief of staff. The 41-year-old Kofinis, who holds a Ph.D. in political science, worked on the Wesley Clark ('04) and John Edwards ('08) presidential campaigns, served as senior communications adviser to the Democratic Governors Association in the 2010 cycle, and, most important, acted as a personal adviser to then-Gov. Manchin. Manchin on Kofinis: 'I am extremely pleased that Chris has agreed to lead my Senate team. I have known him for several years now and value his friendship, experience and expertise. He will bring years of knowledge and professionalism to this office that will not only benefit me, but all West Virginians." Kofinis on Manchin: 'Sen. Manchin is a true champion for West Virginia and hard-working families. His love for family, country and West Virginia is clear, and as I found out, his commitment to public service is truly infectious.' DGA Executive Director Nathan Daschle on Kofinis: 'Brilliant strategist. Great understanding of D.C. but an even better understanding of the world outside D.C. No one synthesizes policy and politics better than Kofinis.' GOP strategist and former White House aide Brad Blakeman: 'He understands how to effectuate bipartisan accomplishment without compromising principle. ... To Sen. Manchin, I say wise choice, and to my Republican friends on the Hill, I say you have a person ... who is honorable, knowledgeable and reasonable.'

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