Tim Johnson Starts Working, May Run for Re-Election

Senator Tim Johnson is slowly getting back to work, reports Faith Bremner of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

Two months after he was rushed to the hospital with a brain hemorrhage, U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota is easing back into his legislative work, an aide said Friday. The Democratic senator has been asking that work be sent to him at George Washington University Hospital, where he is undergoing physical, speech and occupational therapy six days a week, spokeswoman Julianne Fisher said. Johnson has been watching CNN, and for several weeks now, his staff has been sending him a daily packet of news clips from South Dakota newspapers and TV stations, Fisher said. “(The work) won’t be much to begin with,” she said, noting that the therapy is his top priority. “We’ll keep it light. We don’t want to flood him with too much.”

The senator is still weak on his right side, and his speech is slow, she said. It’s too early to say when Johnson will be discharged from the hospital, she said. Johnson, however, now is actively making decisions about his health care and expressing opinions about his daily activities, Dr. Philip Marion, medical director of the hospital’s Department of Rehabilitative Medicine, said Friday. “He continues to initiate more conversations and questions,” Marion said. “His therapy now includes computer exercises and problem-solving activities.”

Excellent news. In our current political climate, statements from staff on such matters must unfortunately be viewed with skepticism. It’s unlikely that the GWU medical staff would participate in a charade, however.

Even more encouraging is a report in Roll Call from Erin Billings and Tory Newmyer that “seven of his Democratic Senate colleagues are organizing big-ticket fundraisers in the coming weeks to help him fill his campaign coffers as he continues to recover from emergency brain surgery.” He’ll likely face stiff opposition again, given that he won last time by the grace of a handful of incredibly dubious votes from Indian Reservations. But it’s good to read that he he’ll be well enough to make a run.

Hat tip: Political Wire

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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.