Washington (CNN) - House Democrats are adding two new members to their team Thursday and Friday, just hours before a crucial floor vote on health care reform.
Representative-elect John Garamendi will be sworn in by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Thursday afternoon. Garamendi, California's lieutenant governor, won a special election Tuesday to fill his state's 10th congressional district seat, which was left open when fellow Democrat Ellen Tauscher resigned to become the State Department's Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs. Garamendi easily defeated Republican candidate David Harmer in the heavily Democratic district northeast of San Francisco and Oakland.
Friday Represenative-elect Bill Owens is expected to be officially sworn in as a member of Congress. Owens won a close contest for New York's 23rd congressional district over Conservative Party candidate Dough Hoffman. The official Republican Party candidate, Dede Scozzafava, dropped out of the race Saturday after she plummeted in public opinion polls, as the right flooded Hoffman with campaign support and contributions. Owens became the first Democrat to win the district in over a century. The House seat in the district in northern New York State opened up after nine-term Republican Rep. John McHugh stepped down after being confirmed as Secretary of the Army.
After Owens in sworn on Friday, the House will be back at full strength, with 435 members. Thanks to their victories in Tuesday's special elections, the Democrats will increase their majority by one, and will hold a 258 to 177 advatange in the chamber.
Saturday's health care vote is expected to be close. If all House members are present, 218 votes will be needed to pass the bill.
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