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Indiana Republican Sworn In as Newest House Member

Marlin Stutzman, an Indiana farmer and state legislator, on Tuesday became the first of some seven dozen newly elected Republicans to take his seat in the House.

Stutzman, 34, took the oath of office in the well of the House chamber surrounded by the Indiana delegation and his two sons. He fills the vacancy left in the northeastern Indiana district in May when Republican Rep. Mark Souder resigned after admitting to an extramarital affair.

Stutzman, a member of the Indiana state legislature since 2003, brings the lineup in the nearly completed 111th session of Congress to 255 Democrats, 179 Republicans and one vacancy.

Republicans will be back in the majority when the GOP-dominant freshman class is seated in January for the next Congress. The current count is 239 Republicans, 190 Democrats and six undecided races.

The remaining vacancy was scheduled to be filled Tuesday but was postponed when congressman-elect Tom Reed of New York was hospitalized Sunday night for blood clotting in his lungs.

Reed said in a statement that he was eager to leave the hospital and hoped to be sworn in in a day or two. The former mayor of Corning is to take the upstate New York seat vacated when Democratic Rep. Eric Massa resigned in March after being accused of sexually harassing male staff members.

The Senate also swore in two new members on Tuesday. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., succeeded to the seat left open by the death of Democrat Robert Byrd, and Chris Coons, D-Del., took the seat long occupied by Vice President Joe Biden.