U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson, Democrat of South Dakota, had an apparent stroke on Wednesday at his office in Washington and has been hospitalized, NBC News reported.
The condition of the 59-year-old Johnson was unknown, the network said.
When the 110th Congress convenes on Jan. 4, there will be 49 Democrats in the Senate, 49 Republicans and two independents. But the two independents will align themselves with the Democrats, giving them majority control of the Senate.
South Dakota's governor, Michael Rounds, who would appoint any successor if there is a vacancy, is a Republican.
"Senator Tim Johnson was taken to George Washington University Hospital this afternoon suffering from a possible stroke," read a statement from his Senate office. "At this stage, he is undergoing a comprehensive evaluation by the stroke team."
Johnson had become disoriented during a call with reporters, stuttering in response to a question. He appeared to recover, asking if there were any additional questions and then signing off.
I hope he comes out of it safely.
A good place for updates, here.
Rep. Stephanie Herseth, at the conclusion of a meeting with board members of the Lewis and Clark Rural Water Project about 3 p.m., called the group back together and announced Sen. Johnson had been taken to a hospital.
In a shaking voice, she called on South Dakotans for their prayers.
Herseth said she believed it was a severe stroke.
Sioux Falls Mayor Dave Munson, who was at the meeting, said “I’m really saddened by this. Our prayers go out to the senator and his family. This has really taken me by surprise.”
Gov. Mike Rounds said “our prayers are with Tim, Barbara and their family."
"We are hopeful of good news for our friend and colleague,” Rounds said.
As this stage, Johnson is undergoing a comprehensive evaluation by the stroke team.
Keep him and his family in your prayers.
Update: There's some dispute as to what would happen should Johnson be unable to serve. The initial reports said the Governor appoints someone, but many are saying, on both liberal and conservative sites, that the law seems to dictate a special election.
Update: It is times like this that I'm proud to be part of this side of the blogosphere and not the other. I swear, there are more well-wishes and fewer political calculations about Johnson in the Free Republic thread than in the DU thread. And, I'm not gonna even bother looking up a DU response to one of Cheney's or fellow Republicans' health scares, because we all know what those look like.