Published Nov. 18, 2019, Updated Jan. 16, 2020
We followed Ayanna Pressley and Abigail Spanberger as they figured out Washington, forged alliances on the Hill — and clashed with their own party.
There are not many people whom Abigail Spanberger lets boss her around, but one of them, somehow, is Lois Frankel, a 71-year-old, 5-foot-3 four-term congresswoman from Florida who has a way of waving away protestations with a brisk, cheerful air, somewhere between “Don’t be ridiculous” and “This’ll be great.”
Last fall, it was Frankel who told Spanberger, a former covert C.I.A. case officer who had just been elected to Congress, where she should live in Washington: in Frankel’s apartment building, about a 15-minute walk from the Capitol. Spanberger said thanks but no thanks — some privacy would be nice — then looked around, found nothing, went back to Frankel and told her by text: Fine, I’ll live in your building. Frankel texted her back: Bring your bathing suit; we do water aerobics. Sunglasses-wearing emoji, sunglasses-wearing emoji, heart-eye emoji.
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