Wednesday, February 17, 2010

More bad news for Democratic senate hopes

Long-serving U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg's office says a bleeding ulcer was what put him in the hospital this week.

Chief of staff Dan Katz said that no discharge date is set, but that he expects the 86-year-old Democrat to be released soon.

The senator was taken to a hospital Monday after becoming lightheaded and falling at his Cliffside Park home. He later underwent a successful endoscopy procedure, spokesman Caley Gray said.

. . . Any health decline for the Senate's second-oldest member would be a serious concern for the party, because Republicans won control of the governor's office in November. If Lautenberg were unable to finish his term, Gov. Chris Christie would appoint an interim successor. That could give a Republican candidate the added advantage of incumbency at a time the GOP already enjoys a favorable political environment.

The best case scenario for senate Democrats is that an ailing 86 year old senator hangs onto the seat for 4 more years, unable to do his job or reliably cast his vote.

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