WASHINGTON (Dec. 15) — Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., was in critical but stable condition Dec. 14 after suffering a brain aneurysm a day earlier.
Johnson, who will be 60 on Dec. 28, suffers from a congenital condition that allows cranial veins and arteries to grow abnormally large and become tangled, according to doctors who performed emergency surgery.
If Johnson is rendered unable to serve by his illness, Senate Democrats probably would lose the one-vote majority they won in the November election, since South Dakota´s Republican governor, Mike Rounds, would be likely to appoint a Republican to serve out Johnson´s term.
If this happens, however, it probably would not make a serious change in the Senate´s agenda or actions in the 110th Congress, according to Paul Fiore, director of government and business affairs for the Tire Industry Association.
"Historically, when the majority is this close, it´s very difficult to get any one-sided legislation out of the Senate," Fiore said. Both he and a spokesman for the Rubber Manufacturers Association said they hoped for Johnson's complete recovery.