Watch CBS News

Senator Ben Ray Luján undergoes surgery after a stroke

Biden reviewing more than a dozen SCOTUS candidates
Biden reviewing more than a dozen Supreme Court candidates 02:21

Senator Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico is recovering in a hospital after experiencing a stroke, according to his office. 

Luján, 49, underwent decompressive surgery to ease swelling after he was found to have suffered a stroke in his cerebellum that affected his balance, his chief of staff Carlos Sanchez said. Luján had checked himself into Christus St. Vincent Regional Hospital in Santa Fe after he felt dizzy and fatigued Thursday morning, and then was transferred to UNM Hospital in Albuquerque for further evaluation. 

How Ben Ray Luján's absence could affect the Senate's agenda

"He is currently being cared for at UNM Hospital, resting comfortably, and expected to make a full recovery," Sanchez said. "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 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."

Luján has only been in the Senate one year, having served in the House of Representatives prior to that. 

It's unclear how long the senator's recovery will take. 

Luján's absence means Democrats no longer have a majority on the Senate floor. 

"My thoughts are with Senator Ben Ray Luján and his family," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted. "I'm so glad to hear that he will make a full recovery. We look forward to his quick return to the Senate."

Luján's colleagues expressed surprise and concern at the news.

"Oh my God," Senator Jon Tester said when reporters told him the news about Luján. Asked if Luján's absence makes him worried about Democrats' agenda, Tester replied, "It makes me worried about him." 

Senator Cory Booker said he isn't thinking about the timeline for confirming a Biden nominee to the Supreme Court — he's only going to think about Luján's health. 

Senator Chris Coons said he's "very optimistic" his colleague will recover fully and quickly. 

"I am concerned about any of my colleagues who falls ill and is taken to the hospital," Coons told reporters. "I'm thinking of Ben Ray and reached out to him and praying for him. And it's just a reminder that in a 50-50 Senate, any unexpected development could be a challenge to our moving forward on an agenda that the Democratic caucus shares."

— Alan He contributed to this report. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.