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Senator Johnson’s Condition Improves

We’ve been following the condition of United States Senator Tim Johnson (D – SD) since he fell suddenly ill in mid-December. Because the Democratic majority in the Senate is so very slim, his illness affects not only him and his family, but the entire country. Should he need to resign his seat in the Senate, his replacement would be appointed by the Republican Governor of South Dakota. This would effectively hand control of the Senate back to the Republicans, who were overwhelmingly dismissed from power in November’s elections. Of the 33 seats up for election, 6 Republican incumbents were defeated, while no Democratic incumbents lost their seat. Only 9 Republicans were elected to the Senate.

The will of the people was made crystal clear, and yet it is in jeopardy of being overturned by political fiat reminiscent of the 2000 general election for President.

While our first concern is of course for the Senator and his family, we cannot help but also be worried about the ramifications of his illness on the political landscape of the country.

In a statement released yesterday, the office of Senator Johnson announced that his condition has been upgraded from critical to fair.

“Senator Tim Johnson has been upgraded from critical condition to fair condition. He is breathing independently and no longer requires the assistance of a ventilator,” said Vivek Deshmukh, MD, neurosurgeon at the George Washington University Hospital.

He’ll be moved from intensive care sometime this week.

All our best wishes go out to the Senator and his family.

Filed under: Politics

4 Responses

  1. Darmok says:

    It was only recently the election of senators was turned over to the general public; having the governor choose replacements is left over from that time, I believe.

  2. vino of wil says:

    Hi Janie,
    The Republicans no doubt are itching to payback for the 2002 defection of a senator that cost them the majority for two years. They would love to see a turnabout. But as long as Johnson is alive and not comatose, think Ariel Sharon, he is not obligated to give up his seat.

    Darmak,
    No, the change was from selection by the state legislatures. Governors never had a had in the initial selection of senators, though the selection of replacements during the interregnums between elections has varied and governors were one of the methods used by states.

    vino

  3. Darmok says:

    Vino, I’m quite aware that state legislatures used to select senators, but thanks for your comment.

  4. […] (Our previous post on Senator Johnson’s condition can be found here.) […]

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