Tuesday’s special election for a vacant seat in Congress is likely to foreshadow some political intrigue in Sacramento.

California Lieut. Gov. John Garamendi was the top Democratic vote-getter in Tuesday’s special primary election to fill the suburban Bay Area seat that had been held by Ellen Tauscher, who is now U.S. undersecretary of state for arms control and international security.

He will face Republican David Harmer in the November run-off, but Garamendi is seen as all but a shoo-in, as Democrats have an almost 18% registration edge in the 10th Congressional District.

If Garamendi wins, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will have the opportunity to appoint a replacement to fill the remaining year of his term.

But the Republican governor’s nominee will have to be confirmed by the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

And those decisions will come as the 2010 races for the open governor’s office — and the lieutenant governor’s office — begin to heat up. Schwarzenegger will be termed out.

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