Clearly, Senator Johnson’s condition is very serious. The New York Times reports this morning that the senator was in surgery as of 11 p.m. last night, “and was expected to be in the operating room until the early morning hours.” The Washington Post notes that, according to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, South Dakota Democratic congresswoman Stephanie Herseth “said she thought Johnson had suffered a severe stroke.” Ghoulishly or not, the Post recalls how in 2001 Democrats “were aware they could be a heartbeat away from the majority,” implying that now the tables might be reversed. The Times, meanwhile, injects a more hopeful note, pointing to nine previous instances since 1942 in which senators remained in office despite months and even years of incapacitation.
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