South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson is recovering from emergency brain surgery, while the incoming Democratic-controlled Congress is burning candles, reciting rosaries, and earnestly praying for his full recovery. They have a vested interest in the outcome.
The Senate Democrats have a razor-thin 51-49% majority…and if Senator Johnson cannot complete his term, his senate seat would be filled by gubernatorial appointment.
The governor of South Dakota, Mike Rounds, who is a Republican, would most likely appoint a politically-kindred spirit as Sen. Johnson’s replacement, evening the Senate scoreboard to 50-50 Democrat to Republican.
With Vice President Dick Cheney holding the tie-breaker vote, control of the Senate would revert to the Republicans.