The campaign of John Fetterman, the leading Democratic candidate in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race, announced Tuesday that he would be receiving a pacemaker.
Fetterman, the commonwealth’s current lieutenant governor, suffered a stroke on Friday and was hospitalized over the weekend. On Tuesday — the day of Pennsylvania’s primary elections — his campaign said in a statement that Fetterman would “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,” the campaign said.
Fetterman announced on Tuesday evening that the procedure was successful.
Before his stroke, polls showed Fetterman holding a significant lead over his closest challenger in the Democratic Senate primary. Distant second and third place contenders for the seat, U.S. Congressman Conor Lamb and State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, wished Fetterman a speedy recovery after his stroke.
Fetterman tweeted that he had cast an emergency absentee ballot from Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital.
In a Sunday afternoon statement, Fetterman revealed that his wife, Gisele, had spotted his stroke symptoms and encouraged him to seek medical attention.
“On Friday, I wasn’t feeling well, so I went to the hospital to get checked out,” he said. “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,” he continued. “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,” he concluded. “It’s a good reminder to listen to your body and be aware of the signs.”
Gisele Fetterman — the second lady of Pennsylvania — said on Tuesday that her husband’s health condition should not affect voters’ willingness to cast their ballots in his favor.
“It isn’t a concern for me. I think we should be talking about things like stroke. You know, we are a family like any other family that will have a health scare,” she said. “But strokes affect nearly a million people a year… We were lucky that we were in a location where we were very close to a stroke center, one of the best in the state.”
The May 17 election will determine the Democratic and Republican candidates who could succeed Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican retiring after two terms in the Senate. Democrats, therefore, have a chance to flip the seat in the November general election.
In the Republican primary, a survey from Susquehanna Polling & Research released on Monday shows Dr. Mehmet Oz with 28% of likely Republican voters, with commentator Kathy Barnette following closely behind at 27%. Barnett surged in the polls following a debate breakout performance on May 4, when she accused Oz of flip-flopping on his abortion stance. With 11% of the vote, former hedge fund CEO and Treasury Department official David McCormick follows Oz and Barnette. Oz surpassed McCormick in late April in some polling after receiving an endorsement from former President Donald Trump.