It was being reported last night that Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson (South Dakota) may have suffered a stroke on Tuesday. A stroke is now being ruled out, but he was exhibiting "stroke-like symptoms" and has undergone brain surgery (aneurism?). He is now listed in critical condition and sources are saying the situation is "very serious"...
The January balance of power in the Senate was to be 51-49, and South Dakota's Governor( the one who would appoint any temporary replacement for Johnson) is a Republican.
"If the two-term senator, 59, is unable to serve when the 110th Congress convenes Jan. 4, South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds would appoint a replacement. Johnson had surgery for prostate cancer in 2004. He is up for re-election in 2008.
South Dakota Secretary of State Chris Nelson said there are no special restrictions on such an appointment and a replacement would not have to be from the same political party." (source)
Johnson is only 59 and seems like a decent guy. He has been described as "more of a work horse than a show horse". We do wish him and his family the best.
(H/T: Foxy Wizard)