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New Mexico senator is recovering in a hospital after a stroke

Sen. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico, suffered a stroke that affected his balance

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Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., talks to reporters.

Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., talks to reporters on Election Day at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. The now-senator recently suffered a stroke.

J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press

Democratic New Mexico Sen. Ben Ray Luján is still recovering in the hospital after suffering a stroke, CBS News reports.

What happened: Lujan suffered a stroke in his cerebellum, which immediately impacted his balance.

  • He checked himself into the Christus St. Vincent Regional Hospital in Santa Fe, New Mexico, after experiencing dizziness and fatigue last Thursday.
  • Lujan was then sent to UNM Hospital in Albuquerque for a deeper evaluation.

What they’re saying: “He is currently being cared for at UNM Hospital, resting comfortably, and expected to make a full recovery,” chief of staff Carlos Sanchez told CBS News.“The senator’s offices remain open and will continue providing constituent services to all New Mexicans without any interruption.

  • “Sen. Luján 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.”
  • “It’s hard to evaluate what it means for here,” said Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., in reference to Washington, D.C., according to The New York Times. “On the human level, it’s scary. It just reminds all of us how good health is something we hope to be blessed by.”

What’s next: It’s currently unclear how long the Democratic senator will be out.

Why it matters: Health is clearly the main issue here. But from Democratic senators, the absence of Lujan could have a direct impact.

  • That’s because “a prolonged absence from a member who caucuses with Democrats is likely to imperil, or at least delay, Democratic legislation or presidential appointments that come to the Senate floor without Republican support,” according to The New York Times.

The bigger picture: More urgently, Senate Democrats need 51 votes to confirm a Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Stephen Breyer. That would require all the members of the caucus — including Lujan — with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie.