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111th Congress Convenes with 65 Freshmen (Profiles)

January 6, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

(Cross-posted from Conor Kenny at theCongresspedia blog)

The House and Senate both convened their inaugural sessions of the 111th Congress at noon Tuesday with 65 new faces. There were 39 Democrats (plus two non-voting members who caucus with Democrats) and 24 Republicans. (See the complete, citizen-authored profiles of the freshmen at Congresspedia.)

In the Senate, there were nine freshmen, including Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Tom Udall (D-New Mexico), who were both representatives but won election to the Senate in 2008. Another five Democrats and two Senators were also sworn in. However, another four to five freshmen are waiting in the wings to be sworn in:

  • Ted Kaufman (D) has been named to succeed Joe Biden (D-Del.) and Michael Bennet has been named to succeed Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) in the Senate, but the senators have not yet resigned their seats to join the Obama administration.
  • A replacement for Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) will be appointed when she resigns her seat to join the Obama administration.
  • Roland Burris (D) has been named to succeed Barack Obama (D-Ill.), but his credentials have not yet been accepted by Senate Democratic leaders, who object to Burris’ appointment by scandal-tainted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
  • Al Franken (D) has been certified as the winner of the Senate election in Minnesota by the state Canvassing Board, but incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman® has challenged the results, delaying the final certification.

There are currently 56 freshman members of the House (including one non-voting Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico and one non-voting delegate from Northern Marianas), but two others will likely join it soon:

  • A special election will be held to replace Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), who has resigned from the House to join the Obama administration. A primary is scheduled for March 3rd and a general election is set for April 7th.
  • A special election will be held to replace Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) once she resigns her seat to become the Secretary of Labor in the Obama administration. Once she resigns, the California governor must call for a special election within 14 days, and the election must be held within 140 days of that.

The freshman include 32 Democrats (plus the Northern Marianas’ non-voting delegate and Puerto Rico’s non-voting Resident Commissioner, both of whom caucus with the Democrats) and 22 Republicans.

Marcia L. Fudge (D-Ohio) is not counted as a freshman because she was sworn into the 110th Congress on Nov. 19, 2008 to fill the rest of Stephanie Tubbs Jones’ term.

Complete, citizen-authored profiles of the freshmen are all available at at Congresspedia.

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