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UPDATE: Sen. Johnson in critical condition; Senate Dems hold breath

December 14, 2006

[SECOND UPDATE: The AP is reporting that Sen. Johnson is in critical condition after receiving emergency surgery overnight, according to a hospital source.

Sen. Tim JOhnson (AP)Johnson’s doctors are rebutting statements previously made that the senator did not suffer a heart attack or stroke:

But several hours after [Johnson’s spokesman] spoke, Dr. John Eisold, the Capitol physician, called that into question with a statement of his own.

“Senator Tim Johnson was admitted to the George Washington University Hospital today with the symptoms of a stroke. He is currently under the care of physicians at the George Washington University Hospital.”]

[UPDATE: A spokesman for Sen. Johnson’s office has told the press tonight that the senator did not suffer a heart attack or stroke, according to an AP report. Though, the illness he’s hospitalized with is yet unknown to the press.

It’s been a bad week for senators health-wise. Republican Sen. Craig Thomas (Wyoming) was diagnoised with leukemia earlier this week. His is still at work. Our best wishes go out to both of them and their families.]

I know it sounds horrible, but somewhere, deep inside the souls of Senate Republicans, they have to be thinking, “pleaseohpleaseohplease” when they heard the news of South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson’s possible stroke today.

Democrats must be thinking, “Damn, we didn’t ban trans-fats fast enough!Oh, and get well soon Tim.

Johnson, a Democrat, was rushed to the hospital today after falling ill in his Washington, D.C. office. MSNBC reports the following:

A statement released by Johnson’s office said, “Senator Tim Johnson was taken to George Washington University Hospital this afternoon suffering from a possible stroke. As this stage, he is undergoing a comprehensive evaluation by the stroke team. Further details will be forthcoming when more is known.”

Right now, post-election, the Democrats will control the Senate with a 51-49 majority. If Johnson can not serve his term, a replacement Senator would be appointed by South Dakota’s governor, Mike Rounds, a Republican.

You see where this is going? 

The replacement, likely a Republican, would give the Senate an even 50/50 split, and then, ties would go to the Vice-President Dick Cheney’s vote, which gives the GOP the 51-50 tiebreaker.

No official word from either caucus. While you’d never want to hang on to your majority this way, I’m sure the GOP will take it.

And I’m guessing the Democrats will push for the GOP to share the committee chairman posts as they did earlier this decade. I can’t see that flying well with the GOP leadership or the President, especially after they had to eat so much crow post-election.

I wonder if anyone will switch parties to ruin the 50/50 split? Lieberman? I’m looking in your direction.

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