US Senator Ben Ray Lujan recovering after stroke

The 49-year-old Democrat checked himself into a hospital in Santa Fe on Thursday

Ben Ray Lujan, a senator from New Mexico, speaks at a hearing on September 30, 2021, in Washington. AP
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Ben Ray Lujan, a US senator from New Mexico, is expected to make a full recovery after suffering a stroke and being admitted to hospital last week, when he began to experience dizziness and fatigue, his chief of staff said.

The 49-year-old Democrat checked himself into a hospital in Santa Fe on Thursday.

His chief of staff, Carlos Sanchez, said the senator was then transferred to a hospital in Albuquerque for further evaluation.

“Senator Lujan was found to have suffered a stroke in the cerebellum, affecting his balance,” the statement released on Tuesday said. “As part of his treatment plan, he subsequently underwent decompressive surgery to ease swelling.”

A decompressive craniectomy temporarily removes a piece of the skull to allow a swelling brain room to expand.

His office added that Mr Lujan is still in hospital but is expected to make a full recovery.

“At this time, he and his family would appreciate their privacy, and ask for your continued prayers and well wishes,” Mr Sanchez said. His office did not provide a timeline for his return to Washington.

A 50-50 split of the Senate has given Democrats control of the chamber, with Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tiebreaking vote. Democrats will retain control while Mr Lujan is recovering, but will have only 49 voting members on their side of the aisle.

“My thoughts are with Senator Ben Ray Lujan and his family. I’m so glad to hear that he will make a full recovery,” Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a tweet on Tuesday.

Mr Schumer told reporters: “I believe the Senate will be able to carry forward with its business.”

New Mexico’s other senator, Democrat Martin Heinrich, also sent regards.

“I know that all of my fellow senators and our constituents in New Mexico join me in sending our best wishes to him, his family, and his staff,” he wrote in a tweet.

Mr Lujan won the Senate seat in 2020 after serving six terms in the House, where he was a trusted ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. As one of the highest-ranking Latinos in Congress, Mr Lujan led the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the party’s arm that supports House candidates, in the 2016 and 2018 elections.

Updated: February 02, 2022, 12:33 AM