Leading Pennsylvania Democratic candidate John Fetterman hospitalized for stroke days before primary

"Our campaign isn't slowing down one bit, and we are still on track to win," Fetterman said

Published May 16, 2022 11:31AM (EDT)

John Fetterman (Getty Images)
John Fetterman (Getty Images)

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John Fetterman, the Democratic Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania who is also running for the open U.S. Senate seat in the state, announced Sunday afternoon that he suffered a stroke over the weekend but was already feeling better after the medical condition was treated at a local hospital.

In a statement put out by his campaign, Fetterman said there had been warning signs but ultimately credited his wife, Gisele, for being on top of the situation as it unfolded:

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 Gisele insisted, and as usual, she was right. I hadn't been feeling well, but was so focused on the campaign that I ignored the signs and just kept going. On Friday it finally caught up with me. I had a stroke that was caused by a clot from my heart being in an A-fib rhythm for too long. Fortunately, Gisele spotted the symptoms and got me to the hospital within minutes. The amazing doctors here were able to quickly and completely remove the clot, reversing the stroke, they got my heart under control as well. It's a good reminder to listen to your body and be aware of the signs.

With the primary set for Tuesday, there are just days left in the Democratic race and Fetterman has been making headlines for his popularity compared to his rivals in the field.

Recent polls show Fetterman, the most progressive candidate in the race, outpacing corporate-friendly Congressman Conor Lamb and State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, also more aligned with the party's establishment wing.

Both Lamb and Kenyatta tweeted their sympathies and well-wishes to Fetterman following the news.

"As I said at the first debate, John Fetterman is an incredible family man," said Kenyatta, "My prayers are with him and his family as he recovers from this stroke. I look forward to seeing him back on the campaign trail soon."

And Lamb tweeted, "I just found out on live TV that Lieutenant Governor Fetterman suffered a stroke. Hayley and I are keeping John and his family in our prayers and wishing him a full and speedy recovery."

Fetterman and Gisele also posted a video Sunday afternoon which was filmed at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital where Fetterman received treatment from what he described as "the kick-ass staff and doctors":

"The good news is I'm feeling much better, and the doctors tell me I didn't suffer any cognitive damage," Fetterman added in his statement. "I'm well on my way to a full recovery. So I have a lot to be thankful for. They're keeping me here for now for observation, but I should be out of here sometime soon. The doctors have assured me that I'll be able to get back on the trail, but first I need to take a minute, get some rest, and recover. There's so much at stake in this race, and I'm going to be ready for the hard fight ahead."

Despite acknowledging the need for some rest, Fetterman said "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. Thanks for all the support, and please get out there and vote."

By Jon Queally

Jon Queally is managing editor for Common Dreams. Follow him on Twitter: @jonqueally

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