Neophytes

The big crop of first-term House members is turning out to be an impatient lot. Two House Republican freshmen, Michael Huffington of California and Rod Grams of Minnesota, have announced plans to run for the Senate next year. On the Democratic side, Sam Coppersmith of Arizona is close to jumping into the race to succeed retiring Democratic Senator Dennis DeConcini, and some Virginia Democrats are urging Representative Leslie L. Byrne to challenge scandal-tinged Democratic Senator Charles S. Robb. Why the hurry? The first-termers, especially the Republicans, are facing up to a disillusioning reality: A backbencher has little power. And many members of the reform-minded class of '92 have learned just how resistant to change Washington institutions really are.

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