The Argus-Leader reports that Senator Tim Johnson is in critical condition after surgery to repair a brain hemorrhage. Johnson apparently had a condition called congenital arteriovenous malformation – the Mayo Clinic has some background information on the condition.
It is unclear how long Sen. Johnson may be out of commission, but it could be a long while. His condition is better than initially feared, but the process of recovery could take days, weeks, or even months.
It still seems quite premature to think about the political consequences at this time, there may be plenty of time for that later, and let us all hope that such considerations become unnecessary when Sen. Johnson recovers from his illness.
UPDATE: Apparently there is a 20-30% chance of some brain damage with these bleeding events, depending on where on the brain the bleeding was located. There has been no word on where the bleeding event occurred, although it will take some time for Senator Johnson to recover regardless. I still think it’s early to start speculating about the political consequences, although South Dakota law does allow the governor to appoint a Senator to fill a vacancy. It hasn’t come to that yet, and God willing it won’t.