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Coats Makes Chief of Staff Switch

Just a month after choosing a chief of staff for his Washington, D.C., office, Sen. Dan Coats has decided to make a change.

Early last month, the Indiana Republican announced he would hire Mary Jane Collipriest, a longtime staffer to former Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah). “Hoosiers will benefit from the extensive knowledge, practical experience and management skills” Collipriest brings, he said in a statement to the Salt Lake City Tribune.

But Collipriest was let go before ever officially joining the office.

The first chief joining Coats’ payroll will actually be Dean Hingson, who had been legislative director in the office of former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), who retired after last term.

“My original candidate is experienced and well-regarded in the Senate, but we arrived at a mutual agreement that the best course for both of us was to pursue other options,” Coats said in a statement.

Collipriest spent 18 years with Bennett, who was defeated in his state’s Republican convention last year. Before that, she worked for his predecessor, Sen. Jake Garn (R).

Hingson was Gregg’s legislative director since 2009. He also served as counsel to Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) from 2007 until joining Gregg’s office.

Prior to coming to the Senate, he was a lawyer with North Carolina law firm Ward & Smith.

Hingson isn’t the only former Gregg staffer to land a spot as a chief of staff to a new Senator.

Gregg’s former chief of staff, Chris Gahan, is now chief of staff to Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).

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