Pennsylvania Senate hopeful Fetterman recovers from stroke
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the leading Democrat in the state’s high-profile Senate contest, suffered a stroke days before the primary election but was on the verge of “recovering completely”. campaign said on Sunday.
Fetterman, 52, who confirmed he had been hospitalized all weekend, insisted the health emergency was not slowing down his campaign. But the stunning revelation, two days before the Pennsylvania primary, has cast a cloud of uncertainty over the Democratic front-runner’s candidacy in what could be one of the party’s best Senate pickup opportunities.
“I feel fine, all things considered,” Fetterman said in a text message to The Associated Press.
On Friday morning, before Fetterman showed up at a planned campaign event at Millersville University, Fetterman’s wife, Gisele, “noticed that John wasn’t himself, and soon after, he started speaking badly and he was taken to the hospital,” a campaign spokesperson said.
In a 16-second video released by his campaign, a seated, clearly speaking Fetterman explained that he “just wasn’t feeling very well” on Friday and decided to go to the hospital at his wife’s request. . He detailed the situation in more detail in a written statement.
“I had a stroke that was caused by a clot from my heart being in an A-fib rhythm for too long,” Fetterman said. He said doctors managed to remove the clot, “reversing the stroke” and brought his heart under control.
“The good news is that I feel much better, and the doctors tell me that I have not suffered any cognitive damage,” he said in the statement.
Questions about Fetterman’s health swirled throughout the weekend after he canceled scheduled public appearances on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. His campaign cited a health issue but was not specific until Sunday.
His campaign explained the delay in disclosing it publicly by saying that Fetterman’s condition “has been evolving in real time since Friday.” We wanted to post something once we had a clearer picture of his health.
Fetterman did not say how long he would still be in the hospital.
“They are keeping me here for observation for now, but I should be out of here soon,” he said in the statement. “The doctors have assured me that I will be able to get back on track, but first I have to take a minute, rest and recover.”
Fetterman’s future treatment regimen is still being worked on, but will include healthier eating, in addition to rest, a campaign spokesperson said.
Democrats see the race to replace incumbent Republican Senator from Pennsylvania Pat Toomey as one of their best opportunities to land a Senate seat this fall. Voters will decide the general election candidates for the two parties on Tuesday.
The GOP primarily includes famed heart surgeon Mehmet Oz, former hedge fund manager David McCormick, and conservative commentator Kathy Barnette, among others. Democrats choose from a four-person panel that includes Fetterman, three-term U.S. Representative Conor Lamb and State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta.
Thousands of early votes have already been cast.
Fetterman is the strong Democratic frontrunner. He led the polls and fundraising from the start, even as the party establishment rallied behind Lamb. Despite such support, Lamb struggled to reach voters or even break into Fetterman’s position with primary voters.
Lamb tweeted that he was conducting a television interview when he learned of Fetterman’s stroke.
“Hayley and I keep John and his family in our prayers and wish him a full and speedy recovery,” Lamb wrote.
Kenyatta called Fetterman an “incredible family man”. “My prayers are with him and his family as he recovers from this stroke,” he tweeted. “I look forward to seeing him again soon on the campaign trail.”
And on the Republican side, Oz noted that he has experience dealing with Fetterman’s condition.
“I’ve treated patients with atrial fibrillation and witnessed the miracles of modern medicine in treating strokes, so I’m grateful you received care so quickly,” Oz tweeted. “My whole family is praying for your speedy recovery.”
Fetterman’s heart disease, atrial fibrillation, occurs when the upper chambers of the heart, called the atria, become out of sync with the pumping action of the lower chambers. Sometimes patients experience a pounding heartbeat or a racing heartbeat, but often they are unaware of an episode.
A-fib is more common in older people, and other risks include high blood pressure or a family history of arrhythmias. It causes 130,000 deaths and 750,000 hospitalizations a year in the United States
Fetterman, who is 6-foot-8, has been open about his weight loss efforts in the past. He weighed over 400 pounds before losing almost 150 pounds in 2018.
His towering stature was a big part of his political appeal.
The former western Pennsylvania mayor has tattoos on his arms, a clean-shaven head and a goatee. He swears on social media and wears shorts practically everywhere, even in the winter.
He promised to move forward on Sunday despite the health setback.
“Our campaign isn’t slowing down at all, and we’re still on track to win that primary on Tuesday and flip that Senate seat in November,” he said. “Thank you for all the support, and please come out and vote.”
People reported from New York.
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