Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-New Mexico) suffered a stroke and was hospitalized last week, according to a statement from his office.
The 49-year-old checked himself into Christus St. Vincent Regional Hospital in Santa Fe after he began experiencing dizziness and fatigue. He was then transferred to UNM Hospital in Albuquerque for further evaluation.
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 2, 2022
The full statement from Carlos Sanchez, Chief of Staff to Senator Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), reads:
“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 Lujan 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 Lujan 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.”
BREAKING 🚨 US Senator Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico suffered a stroke: statement pic.twitter.com/mmP87PLU38
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) February 1, 2022
Senator Luján of New Mexico suffers stroke, expected to make ‘full recovery,’ office says https://t.co/yT3l4Eu79B
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) February 1, 2022
As noted by Reuters:
The statement said Lujan, 49, suffered a stroke last Thursday, underwent surgery to ease swelling and is hospitalized in Albuquerque in his home state of New Mexico.
“We are very grateful that he will have a full recovery,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a brief statement to reporters. “I believe the Senate will be able to carry forward with its business,” he added.
CNBC noted the potential consequences of Lujan’s absence in the 50-50 U.S. Senate:
President Joe Biden said he expects to announce his nominee by the end of this month. The president has vowed to pick a Black woman to replace Breyer.
Democrats hold a razor-thin majority in the Senate, which is in charge of confirming new justices to the high court. The chamber is split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, with Vice President Kamala Harris wielding the tie-breaking vote.
As long as Lujan is absent, Democrats do not have enough members to allow them to confirm a Supreme Court justice on a party-line vote.
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) told Politico in reaction to hearing about Lujan’s stroke:
“Jesus. He had a stroke? First I’ve heard of it.”
“Oh, my God. I’ll find out. I did not know that, wow. It makes me worried about him, he’s too young for that stuff.”
Sen. Lujan tweeted a picture of himself receiving his first COVID-19 shot in December of 2020:
As the first New Mexicans receive the coronavirus vaccine, I have a responsibility to lead by example and show my constituents that this vaccine is safe and effective. There is nothing to fear about getting vaccinated to protect yourself from this deadly disease. pic.twitter.com/1rQDJGbhb6
— Senator Ben Ray Luján (@SenatorLujan) December 19, 2020
He also enthusiastically tweeted about the COVID-19 booster:
Make sure you and your loved ones are protected this holiday season by getting vaccinated and your booster shots. https://t.co/ZzHGZjCqaL
— Senator Ben Ray Luján (@SenatorLujan) November 22, 2021
Lujan boasted about the COVID-19 jabs in additional tweets:
Our country is set to surpass 800,000 Covid-19 deaths. We have the science and the ability to end this pandemic – get vaccinated, everyone.
— Senator Ben Ray Luján (@SenatorLujan) December 13, 2021
As we approach the holidays, I want to extend my prayers to all the families who will have empty chairs at the table this year. I can’t stress how important it is to get vaccinated and boosted. Go to https://t.co/0psY0OB0kz to find an appointment.
— Senator Ben Ray Luján (@SenatorLujan) December 22, 2021
The COVID World added:
It is not clear when Luján will be able to return to the Senate for business.
On April 1st, 2019, Luján announced his intention to seek the United States Senate seat being vacated by two-term Democratic incumbent Tom Udall in the 2020 election. He defeated Republican Mark Ronchetti in the general election on November 3rd, 2020 and took office on January 3rd, 2021.