Lt. Gov. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, the front-runner for his state’s Democratic Senate nomination, said Sunday that he had a stroke on Friday and was recovering.
“I had a stroke caused by a clot in my heart that was in an atrial fibrillation rhythm for too long,” he said in a statement. “The amazing doctors here were able to quickly and completely remove the clot, reversing the stroke, they also got my heart under control.”
The incident it has kept him off the campaign trail over the final weekend before Tuesday’s primary election in one of the most closely watched Senate races in the nation. It was unclear when he would campaign in person again.
“The good news is that I feel much better and the doctors tell me that I did not suffer any cognitive damage,” he said in the statement from Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital. “I am well on my way to a full recovery.”
“I’m being kept here for now for observation, but I should be out of here soon,” he added.
Mr. Fetterman had been scheduled to host a meeting in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on Friday morning, but his spokesman, Joe Calvello, said at the time that the team decided to cancel the event because “John didn’t he was feeling good this morning, so we are taking the necessary precautions.”
The campaign canceled events across the state on Friday night, Saturday morning and again on Sunday, but provided little information about Fetterman’s health over the weekend.
In the statement and an attached videoMr. Fetterman said that he was not feeling well and that his wife, Gisele Barreto Fetterman, had insisted that he go to the hospital to be checked out.
The development upended his ability to engage voters in person during the race’s most intense stretch. Still, he has been leading his main Democratic rival, Rep. Conor Lamb, by double digits in scant public polls.
“I just found out on live television that Lt. Governor Fetterman had a stroke,” said Mr. Lamb. wrote on Twitter. Referring to his wife, he continued, “Hayley and I keep John and his family in our prayers and wish him a speedy and full recovery.”
Throughout the campaign, Fetterman’s outspoken liberal politics and penchant for wearing shorts and hoodies at public events seem to have resonated with much of the Democratic base.
“If anyone thinks I’m smarter in a suit, so be it,” Fetterman said in an interview Thursday at the event in his hometown of York, after giving a spirited speech and working in a crowded bar. . “I would rather people know what they are getting and this is who I am.”
Sen. Ben Ray Luján, a Democrat from New Mexico, suffered a stroke earlier this year and has spoken about his difficult road to recovery. It wasn’t immediately clear what Fetterman’s rehabilitation process would look like.
“The doctors have assured me that I will be able to get back on the road, but first I need to take a minute, get some rest and recover,” he said.