LAS VEGAS — Sen. Bernie Sanders plans to return home to Vermont in the coming days before taking part in the next Democratic primary debate, his campaign said on Thursday, as he recovers in a Las Vegas hospital following a heart procedure.
Jane Sanders said in a statement Thursday afternoon that her husband is “up and about” and has not undergone any “additional procedures” since having two stents inserted after doctors discovered a blockage in one artery.
Speaking to reporters outside the hospital, she said the senator plans to leave the hospital this weekend.
“He’s been spending the last couple of days just having a good time, talking to people, friends and family and so many well wishers that have called and his friends and then of course the well wishers that have tweeted, emailed, called, all of our phones. And we just really want to thank them,” Jane Sanders said.
She added, “He had a blockage. I’m not a doctor. … He had a blockage in one artery and they put in two stints. It’s a very common procedure, so it wasn’t any problem whatsoever. So we are very happy and we are going to head back.”
There is no word yet on when Sanders will return to his busy 2020 stump schedule, but campaign surrogates will fan out across the country this weekend, headlining events in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Inside Sanders headquarters in Washington, the vibe is “business as usual” after a nerve-wracking 36 hours, an aide told CNN. Jane Sanders is with the senator in Las Vegas, along with campaign manager Faiz Shakir. Both flew out to join him in Nevada on Wednesday. Former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also visited Sanders in the hospital on Thursday.
News of Sanders’ health scare broke early Wednesday morning, with many staffers learning of the situation from senior adviser Jeff Weaver, who read them the same statement that the campaign subsequently released to the press.
The release revealed only that Sanders had, on Tuesday night, “experienced some chest discomfort” that doctors diagnosed as a blockage in one artery and treated by inserting two stents.
“We are canceling his events and appearances until further notice, and we will continue to provide appropriate updates,” Weaver said.
Around the same time, the campaign confirmed that it had postponed a $1.3 million Iowa television ad buy initially scheduled to begin on Thursday. The spot will now begin airing on Tuesday and run for two weeks.
Despite his age, Sanders has kept up one of the most active schedules of any 2020 Democratic primary candidate, often holding four or even five rallies and town halls in a single day.
He had been scheduled to headline three events on Wednesday and planned another four in California beginning on Thursday. Friday’s itinerary had him slated for three more, including a union forum.
Before traveling West, Sanders held three Sunday events in New Hampshire and another pair on Monday. A campaign aide told CNN that Sanders arrived in Las Vegas on Tuesday at around 5:30 p.m. local time. He then visited the Las Vegas Community Healing Garden to pay tribute on the second anniversary of the October 1, 2017, mass shooting there.
He began to show signs of unusual fatigue during a grassroots fundraiser later in the evening, asking a top aide to bring him a chair while he was speaking to supporters. He then left the event before taking part, as planned, in a “selfie line” with attendees.