Bernie Sanders—the 78-year-old three-term senator from Vermont who is the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history (he also served in the House of Representatives for 16 years)—was hospitalized after experiencing “chest discomfort” during a campaign event Tuesday evening.
According to the New York Times, Jeff Weaver, a longtime adviser to Sanders, read the following statement “in measured tones” to staffers on a 10:30 Eastern conference call Wednesday morning:
During a campaign event yesterday evening, Senator Sanders experienced some chest discomfort. Following medical evaluation and testing he was found to have a blockage in one artery and two stents were successfully inserted. Senator Sanders is conversing and in good spirits. He will be resting up over the next few days. We are canceling his events and appearances until further notice, and we will continue to provide appropriate updates.
Sanders has canceled several events he was scheduled to attend, including a gun policy forum in Las Vegas on Wednesday and a trip to California later in the week.
The Times also reports that the Sanders campaign was set to have campaign ads begin airing on television in Iowa this week, but according to ad tracking service Medium Buying, those ads have been canceled.
Sanders is not currently leading in any of the first four competitive states. He’s in third place in Iowa (12 percent), South Carolina (13 percent) and New Hampshire (17 percent), and in second place in Nevada (21 percent). Nationally, he’s at 16.7 percent, trailing behind former Vice President Joe Biden (26.1 percent) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (24.4 percent).
The Root’s Politics Editor Jason Johnson said Wednesday morning, “We don’t know if this the end of the Sanders campaign or not, but the fact that he is canceling ad buys three months out suggests to me that bare minimum, he does not think that he’s going to be back on the campaign trail in a serious way for at least the next month.
“Next, the biggest challenge his campaign faces right now is Sanders was already losing ground to Elizabeth Warren. It is highly unlikely that he will make the next debate, and if he as a 78-year-old candidate misses the next debate because of heart trouble, that’s going to be extremely damaging to him on the campaign trail should he return,” Johnson continued.