Senator Tim Johnson In Hospital After Reported Stroke
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WASHINGTON, Dec 13 (Reuters) - U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson, a South Dakota Democrat, was hospitalized on Wednesday after suffering a possible stroke, Johnson's office said.
The 59-year-old Johnson, now serving his second term in the U.S. Senate, is in George Washington University Hospital.
A video report is available at MSNBC.com.
Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S. D., has been hospitalized with symptoms described as stroke-like. The seriousness of his illness has not been disclosed.
A statement released by Johnson's office said, "Senator Tim Johnson was taken to George Washington University Hospital this afternoon suffering from a possible stroke. As this stage, he is undergoing a comprehensive evaluation by the stroke team. Further details will be forthcoming when more is known."
While concerns for Senator Johnson, his family, and his speedy recovery are primary, the story also has an unavoidable political component.
In addition to concern about Johnson's immediate health, his illness draws political concern in that the Democrats currently hold a 51-49 advantage in seats, giving them control of the Senate.
Should Johnson, 59, not be healthy enough to be resign from the Senate, according to the South Dakota Secretary of State, the governor of South Dakota may appoint a replacement. The appointment would last until the next general election -- in this case, 2008. Johnson's term happens to expire in 2008.
The governor of South Dakota is Republican Mike Rounds. Should there be a vacancy as a consequence of Johnson's illness and Rounds appoints a Republican to fill the term, that would make the count 50 Demorats and 50 Republicans. Under the rules of the Senate, ties votes are settled by the vote of the vice president - currently Republican Dick Cheney - effectively giving control of the Senate to the Republicans.
There's some disagreement on the Democratic Underground thread about what would happen if Senator Johnson (or any Democratic Senator in a Republican-Governed state for that matter) were to step down. This handy guide to filling Senate vacancies, which was linked (and, it seems, improperly interpreted) by one of the commenters suggests the common practice is for the Governor's appointee to serve until a special election can be held, unless the term is in its final two years (as Johnson's is), in which case the appointee typically serves the balance of the term.
Update: WorldNetDaily reports on Tom DeLay's comments on today's Your World With Neil Cavuto.
"Let's just keep him in our prayers and hope that he's going to be all right," said former House Speaker Tom DeLay told host Neal [sic] Cavuto on the Fox News Channel.
Asked about why a senator's health is getting the scrutiny it does, DeLay said: "Because this town is so eat-up with power. That's all they think about. It doesn't matter [the subject]. You go and ask somebody for a cup of coffee, they question why you asked. There must be an ulterior motive to you asking somebdoy [sic] for a cup of coffee in this town. It's a pretty mean town."
Update: Happily, WaPo reports a Johnson spokeswoman has said the stroke was caught "very early."
Update: Blogger News Network confirms that South Dakota law would call for the Governor's appointee to serve until the next general election, as detailed in the state's Special Congressional Elections, Chapter 12-11.
Special election to fill senate vacancy. The special election to fill the vacancy of a senator shall be held at the same time as the next general election. The general election laws shall apply unless inconsistent with this chapter.
If a vacancy occurs in the office of a senator or representative in the United States Congress it shall be the duty of the Governor within ten days of the occurrence, to issue a proclamation setting the date of and calling for a special election for the purpose of filling such vacancy. If either a primary or general election is to be held within six months, an election to fill a vacancy in the office of representative in the United States Congress shall be held in conjunction with that election, otherwise the election shall be held not less than eighty nor more than ninety days after the vacancy occurs.
Who knows. Hopefully, the stroke was caught early enough that it's a moot point. But if it does come into play, the weight of the national political calculus that hinges on that chapter of SD's election law can't be overstated.
The significance isn't lost on our buddies at DU, who - now that a couple hours have passed - have decided it's time to don their tinfoil apparel.
Any chance that he was poisioned...
...or otherwise incapacitated by the Repugs?
it is a rather naive question
The possibility also exists that his brain was zapped by Moon men. Shall we throw that hat into the ring as well?
... while there is no evidence of Moon Men, there is evidence that Repugs will pull dirty tricks to remain in power. So, again, I think that, granted, the probability is that this is natural, but the other *reasonable* possibilities need to be looked into as well (as Repug malfeasance is a reasonable, if small possibility).
That thought popped into my mind, too
I hope it was a natural event and the Senator makes a speedy recovery. We cannot, however, put anything past this power hungry pack of jackals. They've proven time and time again that they will go to any lengths to "remove" anyone who gets in their way.
Update: Johnson did not suffer a stroke or a heart attack, according to a spokesman for the Senator.
Handcrafted by Flip on December 13, 2006 |
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» Democratic Senator Tim Johnson Hospitalized After Possible Stroke from Blogs of War
Its an unfortunate event for the Senator and it could have profound implications: Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota suffered a possible stroke Wednesday and was taken to a Washington hospital, his office said. Johnson became disoriente... [Read More]
Tracked on Dec 13, 2006 5:23:53 PM