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Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota suffered a possible stroke Wednesday and was taken to a Washington hospital, his office said.
Johnson became disoriented during a call with reporters at midday, stuttering in response to a question. He appeared to recover, asking if there were any additional questions before ending the call.
If he should be unable to continue to serve, it could halt the scheduled Democratic takeover of the Senate. Democrats won a 51-49 majority in the November election. South Dakota's governor, who would appoint any temporary replacement, is a Republican.
Johnson spokeswoman Julianne Fisher said he had walked back to his Capitol office after the call with reporters but appeared to not be feeling well. The Capitol physician came to his office and examined him, and it decided he needed to go to the hospital.
He was taken by ambulance to George Washington University Hospital around noon, Fisher said.
"It was caught very early," she said.
Johnson's office released a statement saying he had suffered a possible stroke.
"At this stage, he is undergoing a comprehensive evaluation by the stroke team," the statement read.
Several hours after Johnson was admitted to George Washington University Hospital, a spokeswoman for him said doctors had determined the 59-year-old senator did not suffer a stroke. But she provided no additional details.