Harrisburg, Pa. ( Associated Press) — Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, the leading Democrat in the state’s high-profile Senate contest, suffered a stroke just days before the primary election, but was on his way to a “full recovery.” 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 surprising revelation, two days before Pennsylvania’s primary, 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.
“Looks good, all things considered,” Fetterman said in a text message to the Associated Press.
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In a 16-second video released by his campaign, a seated fatterman, speaking frankly, explained clearly that he “just wasn’t feeling well” on Friday and that he went to the hospital at his wife’s insistence. decided to. He elaborated on the situation in a written statement.
“I had a stroke that was caused by my heart being in an A-fib rhythm for too long,” Fetterman said. He said doctors were able to remove the clot by “reversing the stroke” and got his heart under control.
“The good news is I feel much better, and the doctors told me I didn’t have any cognitive damage,” he said in the statement.
Questions about Fetterman’s health swirled throughout the weekend after public events scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday were canceled. His campaign cited a health problem but was not specific as of Sunday.
Fetterman did not say how long he would be in the hospital.
“They are keeping me here under observation for now, but I should leave soon,” he said in a statement. “The doctors have assured me I’ll be able to get back on track, but first I need to take a minute, get some rest, and recover.”
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Democrats see the race to replace retired Republican Senator Pat Tommy of Pennsylvania as one of his best chances for a Senate seat this fall. Voters will decide the general election candidates for both parties on Tuesday.
GOP primaries include celebrity heart surgeon Mehmet Oz, former hedge fund executive David McCormick and conservative commentator Kathy Barnett. Democrats are choosing from a four-person field 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 favorite. He has taken the lead in elections and fundraising from the beginning, even though the party’s founding has centered around Lamb. Despite such support, Lamb struggled to reach voters or even distinguish Fetterman’s position with that of primary voters.
Lamb tweeted that he was conducting a television interview when he learned of Fetterman’s stroke.
“Hayley and I are keeping John and his family in our prayers and wishing 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 trauma,” he tweeted. “I look forward to seeing him back on the campaign trail soon.”
And on the Republican side, Oz notes that he has experience treating Fetterman’s condition.
Oz tweeted, “I’ve cared for atrial fibrillation patients and witnessed the wonders of modern medicine in treating stroke, so I’m grateful you found care so early.” “My whole family is praying for your speedy recovery.”
Fetterman’s heart condition, atrial fibrillation, occurs when the top chambers of the heart, called the atria, become out of sync with the pumping action of the chambers below. Sometimes patients feel a pulsing or racing heart, but sometimes they are not aware of an episode.
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A-fib is most common in older adults, 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 US
Fetterman, who is 6-foot-8, has been open about his push to lose weight in the past. He weighed over 400 pounds before losing about 150 pounds in 2018.
His impressive stature has been a large part of his political appeal.
The former western Pennsylvania mayor has tattooed the bottom of his arms, a clean shaven head and a goatee. He takes bashing on social media and wears shorts practically everywhere, even in winters.
He vowed to go ahead on Sunday despite the health setbacks.
“Our campaign is not slowing down a bit, and we are still on track to win this primary on Tuesday, and flip this Senate seat in November,” he said. “Thanks for all the support, and please get out there and vote.”