WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. Sen. John Fetterman, a Pennsylvania Democrat who suffered a stroke during his campaign last year, was hospitalized Wednesday night after feeling dizzy while attending a Senate Democratic rally, his office said.
Initial tests at George Washington University Hospital showed no evidence of another stroke, Fetterman’s communications director Joe Calvello said in a statement Wednesday night. The doctors performed more tests, and the senator remained in the hospital for observation, according to the statement.
“He is in good spirits and talks to his staff and family. We will provide more information when we have it,” Calvello said.
Fetterman, 53, succeeded Republican Sen. Pat Toomey after a tough contest against Republican candidate Mehmet Oz. He beat the famed heart surgeon by 5 percentage points and flipped a key seat for Democrats who held the Senate majority. More than $300 million was spent during the campaign, the most expensive for the 2022 Senate.
His campaign was cut short on May 13 when he suffered what he later called a near-fatal stroke. He refused to give up and spent much of the remaining months of the campaign in recovery, refusing to release his medical records or allow his doctors to answer questions from reporters.
Oz questioned whether his opponent had been honest about the effects of the stroke and whether Fetterman was fit to serve, but the Democrat insisted doctors had told him he could make a full recovery.
In an Associated Press profile just weeks after the win, Fetterman was described as still suffering from auditory processing disorders, a common consequence of a stroke. The disorder can leave a person unable to speak fluently and quickly translate spoken conversation into meaning.
The effects of the stroke were evident in Fetterman’s uneven performance during the only debate of the fall campaign. He struggled to complete sentences and garbled words, prompting concerns among Democrats that his election was doomed.
On election night, he told cheering supporters that he was running for “everyone who’s ever been knocked down and come back.”
Fetterman, 6-foot-8 with a clean-shaven head and goatee and known for wearing hoodies and shorts, served as the state’s lieutenant governor from 2019 to 2023. He was the mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania from 2006 to 2019.