LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee in the state’s high-profile U.S. Senate contest, has been released from the hospital after a stay of more than a week following a stroke, his wife and his campaign said Sunday.
Fetterman, 52, won the Democratic nomination while in the hospital, easily beating U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, just hours after undergoing surgery to implant a pacemaker with a defibrillator to help him recover. Fetterman has said the stroke was caused by a heart condition called atrial fibrillation.
“João is headed home — time to rest and recover (and annoy me)!" tweeted his wife, Gisele Fetterman, who was born in Brazil and often refers to her husband with the Portuguese translation of John. “I’m so grateful for the amazing staff at Lancaster General for taking such good care of him from start to finish."
Fetterman said in a statement he was returning home to Braddock and “could not be happier to finally be heading home to be with my family."
“I am feeling great, but per my doctor’s orders, and Gisele’s orders, I am going to continue to rest and recover," he said. “Later this week I will have a follow-up visit with my doctors at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital. I am going to take the time I need now to rest and get to 100% so I can go full speed soon and flip this seat blue.”
Fetterman had been hospitalized since May 13. He was scheduled to appear that day at a campaign event at Millersville University, but his wife “noticed that John was not himself, and shortly after he started slurring his speech,” a campaign spokesperson said.
Fetterman said in a written statement he had a stroke “that was caused by a clot from my heart being in an A-fib rhythm for too long,” but that doctors were able to remove the clot “reversing the stroke,” and got his heart under control. Doctors told him that he “didn’t suffer any cognitive damage,” he said.
As for the Republican race, it remains too close to call and is likely headed for a statewide recount to decide the winner of the contest between heart surgeon-turned-TV celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick. The incumbent, Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, is retiring after serving two terms.
Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Oz, and takes heightened interest in Pennsylvania because it’s one of the most important presidential battlegrounds, and voters are split fairly evenly between Democrats and Republicans.