“When you have folks like Portman and Blunt who have been in leadership and understand that being in the Senate is more than obstruction, it makes the Senate a better place,” said Janet Mullins Grissom, a former McConnell chief of staff who lobbies at the bipartisan firm Johnson, Madigan, Peck & Boland.
The list of established political veterans goes on: former Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana, New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte and, depending on election outcomes on Nov. 2, as many as four more House hands — former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Reps. John Boozman (R-Ark.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) —- who have experience inside the Beltway.
Indeed, it’s easy to see Portman negotiating on budget and trade matters, Blunt acting as a liaison to his former House colleagues, Hoeven working on issues that affect state budgets and Rubio being a key Republican voice on immigration policy. Coats, who served as the U.S. ambassador under Bush, worked with Democrats such as Vice President Joe Biden and the late Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) on various issues during his decade in the Senate.