Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, the leading candidate in his state’s Senate Democratic primary, announced on Sunday afternoon that he had suffered a stroke.
The progressive populist is running a highly-publicized race against moderate Democratic House Rep. Conor Lamb, with voters heading to the polls just days from now on May 17.
‘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 [his wife Gisele Fetterman] insisted, and as usual, she was right,’ Fetterman said in an official campaign statement.
‘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.’
The state official found out he had suffered a stroke caused by a blood clot from his heart. Doctors completely removed it and were able to reverse the stroke, he said.
‘The good news is I’m feeling much better, and the doctors tell me I didn’t suffer any cognitive damage. I’m well on my way to a full recovery,’ Fetterman continued.
He will remain hospitalized but said he would be released ‘sometime soon.’ It’s not clear if the candidate will be out of the hospital in time for his Tuesday race.
Fetterman and his wife Gisele put out a short video from the hospital to show the Democrat candidate is well and recovering
‘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.’
Fetterman pointed out that he was still the top candidate in the polls and vowed his campaign ‘isn’t slowing down one bit.’
Fetterman is facing off against Rep. Conor Lamb, a moderate Democrat, in Pennsylvania’s Tuesday primaries
He and his wife posted a video of themselves side-by-side at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital on Sunday afternoon.
‘Hey everybody, it’s John and Gisele. As you can see, we hit a little bump on the campaign trail,’ Gisele Fetterman said in the short clip.
Her husband chimed in, ‘Yeah, it was on Friday, I just wasn’t feeling very well so I decided “You know, I need to get checked out, so I -“‘
‘Um, I made you get checked out,’ Gisele interjects.
Fetterman agreed, his wife adding: ‘Because I was right, as always.’
The medical incident is a dramatic twist in a tense primary race between two factions of the Democratic party.
Lamb rose to national prominence as a blue dog Democrat who flipped a Republican House seat in a 2018 special election. He won re-election against a fellow military veteran, pro-Trump candidate Sean Parnell.
The moderate lawmaker released a statement upon hearing of Fetterman’s hospitalization.
Lamb released a statement wishing Fetterman a speedy recovery on Sunday afternoon
‘I just found out on live TV that Lieutenant Governor Fetterman suffered a stroke,’ Lamb wrote on Twitter.
‘Hayley and I are keeping John and his family in our prayers and wishing him a full and speedy recovery.’
Recent polls from April through the beginning of May show Fetterman with a commanding lead of more than 30 points over Lamb.
Some moderate Democrats are concerned how the progressive former mayor of Braddock would fare in November’s general election.
Biden managed to scrape out a victory in the battleground state in 2020 that was key to his White House win. He bested Donald Trump by less than two points.
The Republican ex-president had narrowly beat Hillary Clinton in the state in 2016.
But this year, both parties in Pennsylvania are witnessing competitive primaries to fill retiring GOP Senator Pat Toomey’s seat in November.
On the Republican side is a tight three-way race between hedge fund manager David McCormick, military veteran Kathy Barnette and television host Dr. Mehmet Oz.