Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota had a stroke yesterday while giving a press conference to reporters. Initial reports indicated that it was minor, but now the Washington Post is reporting that he went through emergency brain surgery overnight and his condition is critical.
Unfortunately, the politics of his illness may have a major role in shaping the Senate for the next term. Presently, the Democrats hold a 51–49 edge in the Senate. If Johnson is too ill to serve, then the Governor of South Dakota, who is a Republican, can name his replacement. Odds are that the replacement would be a Republican, thus bringing the Senate to a 50–50 tie, with Vice President Dick Cheney having the deciding vote and control of the Senate would revert back to the Republicans.
While we would love to see the Republicans take back control of the Senate, we also recognize that this a persons life and health we are talking about. So from all of us at Scared Monkeys, our thoughts and prayers go out to Senator Johnson and his family for a full recovery from his illness.
Nursing supervisor Quinn Collins said early today that the senator was out of surgery and in critical condition. Hospital officials and Johnson aides offered no further comment or details; a more complete statement was expected later this morning.
The two-term senator’s illness — which sent Senate Democratic leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) rushing to the hospital to check on Johnson — underscored the fragility of Democrats’ hold on the next Senate, which they won by the narrowest of margins in the Nov. 7 elections. Should Johnson be unable to complete his term, South Dakota’s Republican governor, Michael Rounds, would name a replacement for the next two years.via washingtonpost.com.