LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor and leading Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman was admitted to Lancaster General Hospital after suffering a stroke on Friday.
In an updated statement on Tuesday, primary general election day, the candidate’s campaign announced he would be undergoing a procedure to implant a pacemaker with a defibrillator.
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.Fetterman’s Campaign team
Fetterman has since been released from the surgery and has reported that the operation was a success. As of 9:08 p.m. on May 17, 2022, Fetterman is resting in the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.
In a statement, Fetterman’s campaign said on Friday he was not feeling well and had a stroke caused by a clot from his “heart being in an A-fib rhythm for too long.”
Fetterman says his wife Gisele spotted the symptoms and got him to the hospital where they removed the clot, reversed the stroke, and got his heart under control.
Fetterman says doctors believe he didn’t “suffer any cognitive damage” and that he’s “feeling much better.”
As of Monday morning, Fetterman’s campaign says he remains admitted at Lancaster General.
“I’m well on my way to a full recovery. So I have a lot to be thankful for. They’re keeping me here for now for observation, but I should be out of here sometime soon. 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.”John Fetterman
Fetterman, 52, released a video on social media appearing to be in good spirits at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital a day prior.
Fetterman’s wife Gisele released another video on social media with more details on Fetterman’s condition. She said he is taking some time to rest and thanked the doctors at Lancaster General Hospital for their care.
“I guess when your heart is that big and it carries so much love for his state, sometimes it asks for a rest,” she said in the video.
Fetterman said his hospital stay is not slowing down his campaign and that he is on track to win Tuesday’s primary and the Senate seat in November.
Questions about Fetterman’s health swirled throughout the weekend after he canceled scheduled public appearances Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. His campaign cited a health issue but was not specific until Sunday.
Fetterman, who is 6-foot-8, has been open about his push to lose weight in the past. He weighed in at over 400 pounds before losing nearly 150 pounds in 2018.
A vehicle believed to be Fetterman’s remained at the hospital early Sunday evening.
Democratic political analyst Danielle Gross told abc27 she does not believe the news is going to change many voters’ minds heading into Tuesday’s primary election.
“A lot of folks generally choose their candidate a long way out,” Gross said.
Fetterman has consistently led the Democratic race for Senate. He received support from over half of Democratic voters in a poll released in early May.
“The lieutenant governor is very popular,” Gross said.
As the frontrunner, Fetterman is expected to win the Democratic primary and go on to the general election in the fall, which could change the conversation around his health.
“His health will be something that the Republicans will hammer him on,” Gross said.
Governor Tom Wolf was one of many Pennsylvania lawmakers offering support for Fetterman, tweeting “Sending well wishes for a speedy recovery to Lieutenant Governor @FettermanLT. Frances and I are praying for you, Gisele, Grace, Karl, and August.”
Congressman Conor Lamb, one of three other Democratic candidates in the U.S. Senate race, tweeted “I just found out on live TV that Lieutenant Governor Fetterman suffered a stroke. Hayley and I are keeping John and his family in our prayers and wishing him a full and speedy recovery.”
State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta, also a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, tweeted “as I said at the first debate, John Fetterman is an incredible family man. My prayers are with him and his family as he recovers from this stroke. I look forward to seeing him back on the campaign trail soon.”
Pennsylvania’s Democratic Party tweeted “Our thoughts and prayers go out to our Lieutenant Governor @JohnFetterman. Wishing you a full and speedy recovery.”
Republican Senate candidate and former heart surgeon Mehmet Oz reacted to the news Sunday saying “I have cared for atrial fibrillation patients and witnessed the miracles of modern medicine in the treatment of strokes, so I am thankful that you received care so quickly. My whole family is praying for your speedy recovery.”
Dave McCormick, one of the three leading candidates on the Republican side of the race, tweeted Fetterman’s video and said “Glad to hear you’re doing well, John. Wishing you a fast recovery.”
Kathy Barnette, who has been virtually tied with Oz and McCormick in recent polls, tweeted “Praying for John Fetterman after hearing he had a stroke. We want you healthy for our race this fall. Get well soon!”
Republican Senate candidate Jeff Bartos tweeted he and his wife are “praying for a full and speedy recovery” for Fetterman. Fellow Republican Senate candidate Carla Sands tweeted “My thoughts are with John Fetterman and his family. Praying for a full recovery!”
Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s Attorney General and lone Democratic candidate in Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial race, tweeted “John, Gisele, and the Fetterman family are in my prayers today — we’re wishing John a full and speedy recovery.”
U.S. Senator Bob Casey tweeted “Terese and I are wishing Lt. Gov John Fetterman a full and speedy recovery. We’re sending our best to him, Gisele, and their children, and we look forward to seeing him back at work soon, fighting for Pennsylvania.”
Fetterman received 53% support among Pennsylvania Democrats in a Franklin & Marshall poll for the U.S. Senate race earlier this month.
Congressman Lamb finished with 14% and State Representative Kenyatta with 4% in the poll, respectively. Kevin Baumlin, who has dropped out of the race, and Alex Khalil each received 1% and 22% were still undecided.
Support for Fetterman is up from 41% in the April Franklin & Marshall College Poll, while Lamb is down 3%.
Pennsylvania’s primary election is May 17.
The Associated Press contributed to this report