The 52-year-old Fetterman defeated US Rep. Conor Lamb and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta on Tuesday to advance to November’s general election. He will face the winner of a hotly contested Republican primary that includes Dr. Mehmet Oz, ex-hedge fund CEO David McCormick and community activist Kathy Barnette.
Fetterman suffered a stroke Friday, injecting uncertainty into the Democratic primary race that for weeks had been shaping up as a runaway. He said he is on his way to a “full recovery” but will remain in the hospital for a while.
Fetterman, a former mayor of Braddock, is a progressive who has vowed to be a reliable vote for organized labor and liberal causes in Washington. Democrats see the seat being vacated by retiring Republican US Sen. Pat Toomey as among their best pickup opportunities in the country.
PA — THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING ME AS YOUR DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE FOR US SENATE IN PENNSYLVANIA!!!!!!!! 😭😭
I’m *so* deeply honoured. pic.twitter.com/6sa7bC5Vrw
—John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) May 18, 2022
*** THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE … PREVIOUS STORY BELOW ***
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the leading contender in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for US Senate, underwent a successful procedure to implant a pacemaker following last week’s stroke.
“Doc just called me, Joo’s procedure is over and it was PERFECT!,” Fetterman’s wife, Gisele, tweeted.
According to Fetterman’s campaign, the pacemaker will help protect his heart and address the underlying cause of his stroke, atrial fibrillation (A-fib), by regulating his heart rate and rhythm.
The 52-year-old Fetterman, who has been hospitalized all weekend, previously insisted the health emergency wasn’t slowing his campaign.
On Friday morning, before Fetterman was to appear at a scheduled campaign event at Millersville University, Fetterman’s wife “noticed that John was not himself, and shortly after he started slurring his speech and he was taken to the hospital,” a campaign spokesperson said.
In a 16-second video released by his campaign, a seated Fetterman, speaking clearly, explained that he “just wasn’t feeling very well” on Friday and decided to go to the hospital at the urging of his wife. He detailed the situation further in a written statement.
On Friday, I wasn’t feeling well, so I went to the hospital to get checked out.
I didn’t want to go – I didn’t think I had to – but @giselefetterman insisted, and as usual, she was right.
The good news is I’m feeling much better + I’m well on my way to a full recovery. pic.twitter.com/WQ5X6QgQen
—John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) May 15, 2022
“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 the doctors were able to remove the clot, “reversing the stroke,” and got his heart under control.
“The good news is I’m feeling much better, and the doctors tell me I didn’t suffer any cognitive damage,” he said in the statement.
Questions about Fetterman’s 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.
Democrats see the race to replace Pennsylvania’s retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey has one of their best opportunities to pick up a Senate seat this fall. Voters are now deciding the general election nominees for both parties.
The GOP primary features celebrity heart surgeon Mehmet Oz, former hedge fund executive David McCormick and conservative commentator Kathy Barnette, among others. Democrats are picking from a four-person field that includes Fetterman, three-term US Rep. Conor Lamb and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta.
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