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Now that Garamendi's gone, Schwarzenegger has a decision to make

November 5, 2009 | 10:58 am

California Lt. Gov. John Garamendi was sworn in as a member of Congress today. He will represent the Bay Area's 10th Congressional District. He's a Democrat, but his rise creates an opportunity for Republicans, as we'll explain in just a bit.

Garamendi won the seat with almost 53% of the vote in a special election on Tuesday, soundly defeating Republican businessman David Harmer.Garamendi on election night

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi swore Garamendi in. She said his win, along with the election Tuesday of New York Democrat Bill Owens, meant one important thing: Two more Democratic votes when the healthcare overhaul hits the floor of the House on Saturday.

Mark Silva has more on what Pelosi said over at our snappy new blog about the goings-on in Washington, D.C. Now.

Garamendi's new gig means the lieutenant governor's seat is now empty.

And that means, as our colleague in Sacramento, Shane Goldmacher, explains today, that Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger now has the power to name a replacement. Except that Schwarzenegger's choice will have to be confirmed by the Democratic-dominated Legislature -- which could set up a political showdown.

-- Kate Linthicum

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Photo: John Garamendi and his wife, Patti, celebrate his election victory Tuesday night. Credit: Associated Press.