Democratic Senator Ben Ray Luján Hospitalized For Stroke

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 13: Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) has been hospitalized for a stroke but is expected to make a full recovery, according to a statement from his office.

Last week, after he started experiencing dizziness and fatigue, the statement said, he checked himself into a hospital in Santa Fe.

“He was then transferred to UNM Hospital in Albuquerque for further evaluation,” it continued. “Senator Luján was found to have suffered a stroke in the cerebellum, affecting his balance. As part of his treatment plan, he subsequently underwent decompressive surgery to ease swelling.”

While Luján recovers, there will be just 49 members available to vote in the Senate Democratic caucus.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), a member of Senate leadership, was candid with reporters Tuesday about the precariousness of the Democrats’ bare Senate majority, thrown into sharp relief by Luján’s illness.

“That’s just what we live with every day in a 50-50 Senate,” she said. “We’re all human beings and something could happen to someone at any time.”

Luján, age 49, is incredibly young by Senate standards, where the median age is 64.3 years old.

Democrats’ slim Senate majority has often been mentioned in tandem with its members’ advanced age, particularly as the chamber rushes to confirm whomever President Joe Biden nominates to fill Justice Stephen Breyer’s seat on the Supreme Court.

Stabenow added that she doesn’t expect Luján’s recovery to disrupt the confirmation.

“It’s not like we’re going to be voting in the next couple of weeks on the floor,” she said, pointing to the time it takes to get a nominee through the process.

“We look forward to his speedy return to the Senate and I believe the Senate will be able to carry forward in its business,” added Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) later in the day.

Read the full statement from Luján’s office here:

Early Thursday morning, Senator Luján began experiencing dizziness and fatigue. He checked himself into Christus St. Vincent Regional Hospital in Santa Fe. He was then transferred to UNM Hospital in Albuquerque for further evaluation. Senator Luján was found to have suffered a stroke in the cerebellum, affecting his balance. As part of his treatment plan, he subsequently underwent decompressive surgery to ease swelling.

He is currently being cared for at UNM Hospital, resting comfortably, and expected to make a full recovery. The Senator’s offices remain open and will continue providing constituent services to all New Mexicans without any interruption. The Senator and his family would like to thank the wonderful doctors and staff at both UNM Hospital and Christus St. Vincent Regional Hospital for their excellent care during this time. Senator Luján looks forward to getting back to work for the people of New Mexico. At this time, he and his family would appreciate their privacy, and ask for your continued prayers and well wishes.

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