Senator Tim Johnson in Critical Condition after Brain Surgery

Overnight brain surgery on South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson, who was admitted to the hospital yesterday after suffering “stroke-like” symptoms, was reportedly successful, doctors told CNN this morning:


“Johnson, 59, was out of surgery at 12:30 a.m. Thursday, a source close to the senator told CNN. He was hospitalized Wednesday morning after he appeared to suffer stroke-like symptoms.

Adm. John Eisold, attending physician of the U.S. Capitol, told CNN that Johnson had ‘an intracerebral bleed caused by a congenital arteriovenous malformation. He underwent successful surgery to evacuate the blood and stabilize the malformation.’

‘It is premature to determine whether further surgery will be required or to assess any long term prognosis,’ Eisold said.”

Johnson remains in critical condition.

Johnson, a Democrat, was elected to the Senate in 1996 after serving five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. He serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Senate Budget Committee, the Senate Banking Committee, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.

If Johnson were unable to serve the rest of his term, South Dakota’s Republican Governor Mike Rounds would nominate his replacement which would shift the balance of power in the Senate, giving parties a 50-50 split. The GOP would then retain control with Dick Cheney’s tie-breaking vote.


  1. says

    It was detected early, the surgery was successful, lets hope he makes a full recovery soon.

    Sometimes it feels like we’re all living in a horror film; just when you think a new day has come Heeeeeeeeeeeeer’s Johnny…

  2. James says

    How ghoulish the previous 3 posters are. A man’s life may be in the balance and all the posters are worried about is the DNC loosing the Senate.

    Another example of why politics in this country are screwed up and why it is not solely due to the GOP.


  3. Bryce says

    Actually James, two of the three previous posters have expressed concern that he is ok. Though an expression of concern over the politican outcome was expressed, there’s nothing wrong about that, as that is the point of the article to begin with.

    As far as your comment, “Another example of why politics in this country are screwed up and why it is not solely due to the GOP.”

    There has been NOTHING expressed that even remotely explains why politics in this country is screwed up. Get a grib.

  4. adam says

    I really hope he’s OK, he’s really a wonderful person, intensely committed to the people of South Dakota, and a great Statesman. He is the most popular Senator in the country in the eyes of his constituents, and has never tried to be out in front of the cameras for political advantage–preferring instead to be a workhorse.

    I feel most for his family, though. Especially his son, who is currently serving in Iraq. Imagine being in a war zone thousands of miles from home when your Dad gets rushed to the hospital for brain surgery. Horrible. My thoughts are with him.

  5. Jon Cameron says

    You should have heard Rush Limbaugh this morning as he gleefully discussed the possibility of death.

    He did say that the result would be that the wishes of SD and the U.S. would not be retained.

    It appears it is time to change a few laws.

  6. adve says

    I don’t know anything abou this man beside what I’ve read here, but, having lost one of my closest friends (who was my 1st cousin) to this exact condition, it’s wonderful that they were able to rescue him. Unfortunately, most people with congenital arteriovenous malformation in the brain go undiagnosed until a blood vessel bursts.

  7. Zeke says

    If you want to see why politics in this country is so screwed up hop on over to the Drudge Report or FreeRepublic or any one of the other leading conservative blogs and see what they’re saying about this. They are absolutely salivating over the possibility that this man might die.

    On a lighter note, does anyone else think Senator Johnson looks like he could be Ted Haggard’s older brother? Every picture I’ve seen of him looks to me like an older version of Rev. Haggard.

    Maybe it’s the hair.

  8. burnssuit says

    What makes me even more upset is the “Pinochet was actually a hero” crap that so many of these conservative sites are posting. It is incredibly sick how uninformed or just plain stupid some of these people are.

    As for Senator Johnson – I hope he makes a safe recovery. Spontaneous medical emergencies like that are scary as hell, and the ICU is not a nice place to be.

  9. Anon says

    Zeke: He looks like a cross between Haggard and Foley! Not that there is anything wrong with that…

  10. rudy says

    Sen. Johnson is well respected as a hard working non-showboating representative of his constituents’ interests. He is not your typical DC politico. As Zeke noted, the shellacked-into-place TV evangilist hair is the only stereotypical aspect of this good man. Unfortunately, it is a condition one often sees in our nation’s capital. The women have their power helmets and the men have their play-doh barbershop wet-look plastered down hair-don’ts. They look suspiciously like comb-overs even if the wearer is not going bald. Don’t look to DC for style tips. The well dressed, well groomed, well coiffed, good looking man is a rarity in these parts. To paraphrase Richard Nixon: DC is the final resting place of every high school senior class vice-president in the country. (As tricky Dick himself exemplified.)

  11. JOE 2 says


    Even if your assessment of the first three posts were correct (which, as others have pointed out, it is not), it might have been more accurate to say, “How goulish the previous three POSTS are.” Because making judgments about people based on a single behavior is another example of why politics in this country are screwed up.

  12. Seattle says

    The mainstream media has the story all wrong. South Dakota law specifically calls for a special election within 90 days if there’s a congressional vacancy. The governor gets to appoint someone only to fill in for the interim.

    The SD statute is 12-11-1 and reads: “If a vacancy occurs in the office of a senator or representative in the United States Congress it shall be the duty of the Governor within ten days of the occurrence, to issue a proclamation setting the date of and calling for a special election for the purpose of filling such vacancy. If either a primary or general election is to be held within six months, an election to fill a vacancy in the office of representative in the United States Congress shall be held in conjunction with that election, otherwise the election shall be held not less than eighty nor more than ninety days after the vacancy occurs.” Go to

  13. jimmyboyo says


    yes I is disgusting how the vultures are circling.

    Ironicaly these self same vultures thought it completly ok for Strom Thurmond to be wheeled into the senate and an aid to lift his arm by the sleeve so a vote could registered….though it is unprovale that Strom was even coherent enough to know what his aid was lifting strom’s arm to vote for or against

  14. Tom says

    I’m afraid I’m just paranoid enough to find myself wondering if there’s some way that the GOP Forces of Darkness could have found out about this condition and done something to bring it on. I certainly wouldn’t put it past them. How likely is it that the recently elected Democratic chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee turns out to have a congenital brain problem that leads him to need emergency brain surgery so soon after Congress adjourns for the year?

  15. brett says

    The fact this story wa posted has nothing to do with the mans health but everything to do with the fringe gays on here worrying the GOP may gain a seat!!! Hypocrites!