Bernie Sanders undergoes heart procedure after experiencing "chest discomfort," campaign says

The Democratic candidate was found to have a blockage in one artery, and two stents were successfully inserted

Published October 2, 2019 11:35AM (EDT)

Bernie Sanders (Getty/Saul Loeb)
Bernie Sanders (Getty/Saul Loeb)

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., underwent a heart procedure after he experienced some "chest discomfort" during a campaign event on Tuesday, his campaign said.

After a medical evaluation, Sanders was found to have a blockage in one artery, and two stents were successfully inserted, Jeff Weaver, the senator's campaign senior adviser, said in a statement.

"Sen. Sanders is conversing and in good spirits," Weaver said. "He will be resting up over the next few days. We are canceling his events and appearances until further notice, and we will continue to provide appropriate updates."

Sanders is a top-tier candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. He is also one of the oldest. Former Vice President Joe Biden is 76 ,and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is 70. President Donald Trump, who was the oldest elected president, is 73.

If he were to clinch the presidency, Sanders would become the oldest person to ever hold the nation's highest office.

Sanders was on a campaign swing through Nevada, where he was scheduled to host a town hall on his signature campaign proposal, "Medicare for All," and social security ahead of an appearance at the Giffords and March for Our Lives Presidential Gun Safety Forum on Wednesday.

The news of his hospitalization comes a day after Sanders announced that he had raised an eye-popping $25.3 million in the third-quarter of the year — more than any other Democratic presidential candidate has raised in any fundraising quarter so far this year.

The fundraising total suggests that while Sanders, who has slipped to third place behind Biden and Warren in polls of the 2020 race, remains a prolific fundraiser.

Sanders has established himself as a national figurehead for democratic socialist ideas by pushing bold proposals like Medicare for All, a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage, tuition-free college and university education, paid family leave, canceling the nation's outstanding $1.6 trillion of student debt and offsetting the cost with a tax on Wall Street transactions. He has also pledged not to accept money from special interests or corporate political action committees (PACs), which nearly every Democrat in the 2020 election cycle has vowed to do.

Some political analysts and pundits have expressed concern that the senator's age and health could be an issue for some voters. Sanders and his staff, however, have denied he is too old to be president.

In an interview with Salon last year, Weaver said, "Sanders is an extremely energetic and vigorous person, and has more energy, I would say, than people half his age."

"Anybody who follows Bernie Sanders for one day and sees his schedule, and how rigorous it is, and how he drives everybody around him, works them into the ground with the amount of work and energy he has, I think they would understand that his chronological age is just not really a measure of his true age," he added.

By Shira Tarlo

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