Pennsylvania Senate hopeful John Fetterman has primary day surgery after stroke
Written by Libby Cathey ABC News on May 17, 2022
(WASHINGTON) — Pennsylvania’s Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination in the state’s Senate race, was scheduled to undergo surgery for a pacemaker and defibrillator on Tuesday after suffering a stroke late last week.
“John Fetterman is about to undergo a standard procedure to implant a pacemaker with a defibrillator. It should be a short procedure that will help protect his heart and address the underlying cause of his stroke, atrial fibrillation (A-fib), by regulating his heart rate and rhythm,” his campaign announced in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.
A day after Fetterman announced his stroke, his team also said that he would not be attending his election night party and would remain in the hospital. His wife, Gisele, will speak in his place.
Fetterman’s campaign released a photo of him Tuesday morning voting with an emergency absentee ballot from the hospital, where he is recovering.
The lieutenant governor since 2019, Fetterman entered the national spotlight when he launched his campaign for the Senate last February. A progressive, he is vying for the Democratic Party nomination against the more moderate Rep. Conor Lamb and others. The general election there, later this year, could help decide the balance of power in Congress.
Fetterman doesn’t fit the mold for what a typical senator looks like: Standing 6-foot-8, he is bald, goateed and tattooed and frequently eschews traditional suits and ties in favor of shorts and Dickies shirts.
He earned his master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University but has campaigned with a blue-collar approach, having served as the mayor of the small borough of Braddock, just outside Pittsburgh, for 16 years before being elected alongside Gov. Tom Wolf, a fellow Democrat, four years ago.
Fetterman previously ran for Senate in 2016, but lost in the primary.
Speaking with ABC News outside a polling place in his district on Tuesday, Lamb said of Fetterman amid his health challenges, “I wish him well.”
Lamb called their race a choice between “two very different paths based on two different sets of experience and two different personalities.”
The three leading candidates to watch in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary race are Fetterman and Lamb as well as state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta. Polls close at 8 p.m. ET.
ABC News’ Hannah Demissie, Devin Dwyer and Oren Oppenheim contributed to this report.
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