Senate Candidate Has a Stroke

John Fetterman says he's still in Pennsylvania Democratic primary on Tuesday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 15, 2022 3:45 PM CDT
Top Democrat in Senate Race Has Stroke but Isn't Quitting
John Fetterman arrives Thursday at the Holy Hound Tap Room in York, Pa.   (Mark Pynes/The Patriot-News via AP)

(Newser) – Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the leading Democrat in the state's high-profile Senate contest, has suffered a stroke but is on his way to a "full recovery," his campaign said on Sunday. Fetterman, 52, said in a statement that he wasn't feeling well Friday and went to the hospital at the urging of his wife. "I had a stroke that was caused by a clot from my heart being in an A-fib rhythm for too long," Fetterman said in a statement. He said the doctors were able to remove the clot, "reversing the stroke," and got his heart under control, the AP reports.

"The good news is I'm feeling much better," the statement says, "and the doctors tell me I didn't suffer any cognitive damage." The stunning revelation, two days before Pennsylvania’s primary election, creates deep uncertainty for Democrats in a state that represents one of their best opportunities in the nation to add a Senate seat. Fetterman said he will stay in the race. "Our campaign isn’t slowing down one bit, and we are still on track to win this primary on Tuesday, and flip this Senate seat in November," the statement said. "Thanks for all the support, and please get out there and vote."

Questions about Fetterman health swirled throughout the weekend after he canceled scheduled public appearances Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. His campaign cited a health issue but was not specific until Sunday. While thousands of early votes have already been cast, Pennsylvania Democrats on Tuesday will pick their general election nominee from a four-person field that features Fetterman, three-term Rep. Conor Lamb, and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta. Fetterman is the strong favorite. He has led polls and fundraising from the start, even as the party's establishment rallied around Lamb. Fetterman, who is 6-foot-8, has been open about his push to lose weight. He weighed over 400 pounds before losing nearly 150 pounds in 2018.

(Read more John Fetterman stories.)

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