The Ten Sickest Senators*


Senator Tim Johnson (D) is still on the mend after his brain surgery last week. Though his doctors say he's doing well, there's still no telling how long he'll be "out of the office."

But as you've probably heard, he really can't be fired for taking too many sick days. Nine Senators have had to take extended leaves of absence since 1942.

From, we get the skinny on all of them (and it's kind of interesting to note how many are democrats):

  1. Styles Bridges - 1942: The New Hampshire Republican broke his hip when he fell December 31, 1941. He returned to office after missing several months.
  2. Carter Glass 1942-1946: Despite being president pro tempore and chairman of the Appropriations Committee, the Virginia Democrat missed almost four years because of various age-related ailments. He died before he could return to office.
  3. Robert F. Wagner 1947-1949: Wagner, a Democrat from New York, resigned after a heart problem caused him to miss more than two years. He couldn't attend any session in the 80th or 81st Congresses.
  4. Arthur H. Vandenberg 1949-1951: The Michigan Republican came back for two months after having a tumor removed from his lung in October 1949. He left to have surgery again in April 1950, and he returned briefly the next month. But he left a third time and never returned. He died in April 1951.
  5. Clair Engle 1963-1964: Brain cancer left this California Democrat partially paralyzed, and he missed various periods because of his operations. In June 1964, he was carried into the Senate chamber to cast his vote on the Civil Rights Act. He had to signal "affirmative" because he couldn't talk. He died the next month.
  6. Karl Earl Mundt 1969-1973: Mundt suffered a stroke in November 1969 but didn't resign until his term ended in January 1973. The South Dakota Republican wanted his wife to serve in his stead, but the state's governor refused to appoint her.
  7. Joseph R. Biden Jr. "“ 1988: The Democrat from Delaware had a brain aneurysm in February 1988. Almost seven months later, he returned to office.
  8. Albert Gore Jr. "“ 1989: Gore took almost a full month off when his 4-year-old son was seriously injured in a car accident. The Tennessee Democrat and his wife stayed with their son until he was released from the hospital.
  9. David Pryor "“ 1991: The Democrat from Arkansas had a heart attack in April 1991. He returned in September.

*since 1942