decision 2022

Pa. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman Suffers Stroke; Off Campaign Trail

In a statement, Fetterman said he was hospitalized on Friday due to not feeling well. He then learned he suffered a stroke that was caused by a clot from his “heart being in an A-fib rhythm for too long” 

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Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor and Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate John Fetterman is recovering after suffering a stroke, he announced Sunday.

In a statement, the 52-year-old Fetterman said he was hospitalized on Friday due to not feeling well. He then learned he suffered a stroke that was caused by a clot from his “heart being in an A-fib rhythm for too long.” 

“The amazing doctors here were able to quickly and completely remove the clot, reversing the stroke, they got my heart under control as well,” Fetterman wrote. “It's a good reminder to listen to your body and be aware of the signs.”

Fetterman said he is feeling much better and that he didn’t suffer any “cognitive damage.” He is currently staying at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital. 

“They’re keeping me here for now for observation, but I should be out of here sometime soon,” Fetterman wrote. “The doctors have assured me that I’ll be able to get back on the trail, but first I need to take a minute, get some rest, and recover.”

Fetterman and his wife Gisele Barreto Fetterman also released a video from the hospital. 

Questions about Fetterman's health swirled throughout the weekend after he canceled scheduled public appearances Friday, Saturday and Sunday. His campaign cited a health issue but was not specific until Sunday.

Fetterman did not say how much longer he would be in the hospital.

Thousands of early votes have already been cast in the race, although Pennsylvania Democrats on Tuesday will finalize their general election nominee from a four-person field that features Fetterman, three-term U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta.

Fetterman has positioned himself as the choice for liberal voters in a four-way race in this week’s Democratic primary in Pennsylvania. A poll from Monmouth University last month showed he had the “very likely” support of 44% of Democratic voters and he was leading his fellow Democratic candidates.

NBC10's Lauren Mayk gets answers to questions about Democratic Candidate for US Senate, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman

Fetterman has led in polls and fundraising from the start, even as the party’s establishment rallied around Lamb. Despite such support, Lamb struggled to reach voters or even pierce Fetterman’s standing with primary voters.

Lamb tweeted that he was conducting a television interview when he learned of Fetterman’s stroke.

“Hayley and I are keeping John and his family in our prayers and wishing him a full and speedy recovery,” Lamb wrote.

Fetterman, who is 6-foot-8, has been open about his push to lose weight in the past. He weighed in at over 400 pounds before losing nearly 150 pounds in 2018.

His imposing stature has been a big part of his political appeal.

The former western Pennsylvania mayor has tattoos down his arms, a clean-shaven head and a goatee. He cusses on social media and wears shorts practically everywhere, even in the winter.

He vowed to press forward on Sunday despite the health setback.

“Our campaign isn’t slowing down one bit, and we are still on track to win this primary on Tuesday, and flip this Senate seat in November," he said. "Thanks for all the support, and please get out there and vote.”

Whoever wins their party's nomination in the May 17 primary will face off in the November general election to replace outgoing U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican who is resigning after two terms.

For all the candidates, issues and important dates that voters should know about in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, go to NBC10's Decision 2022 page. You'll find tools to help you navigate the midterm elections, including when to vote and who will be on your ballots in the primaries and November general elections.

The race to replace retiring Sen. Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania features three politicians seeking higher office: Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, U.S. Rep Conor Lamb. Hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick and TV's Dr. Mehmet Oz are the top polling candidates on the Republican side.
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