“Thanks for all the well wishes. I’m feeling good. I’m fortunate to have good health care and great doctors and nurses helping me to recover,” the 2020 presidential candidate said in a statement.
Sanders used the opportunity to signal his ongoing support for Medicare for All, or the government takeover of the healthcare industry.
Thanks for all the well wishes. I’m feeling good. I’m fortunate to have good health care and great doctors and nurses helping me to recover.
None of us know when a medical emergency might affect us. And no one should fear going bankrupt if it occurs. Medicare for All!
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) October 2, 2019
The 78-year-old’s presidential candidacy is widely seen as damaged if not destroyed by the medical emergency but neither Sanders nor his campaign have given any signs that he will drop out of the race.
The 2020 race features four septuagenarians: Sanders; former Vice President Joe Biden, 76; President Donald Trump, 73; and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), 70.
According to polls and surveys dating back to last year, they are the top contenders for president.
A doctor not involved in Sanders’s care said that the insertion of stents would actually give the candidate a boost if he did not suffer a heart attack before the blockage was opened.
“This will give him more energy,” said Dr. Ron Waksman, an interventional cardiologist at MedStar Heart Vascular Institute in Washington.
Sanders’s hospitalization came on a day of celebration for his campaign, which had earlier announced the Democratic field’s strongest quarterly fundraising numbers so far. On a telephone call with supporters, campaign manager Faiz Shakir said: “The state of our campaign, we feel, is strong and getting stronger. We’ve got work to do because our path is the most ambitious path of any candidate out there.” He also touted the first television ad, which the campaign was scheduled to launch in Iowa.
But those spots were suspended on Wednesday.
The health issue comes as Sanders has been trying to turn a corner after a summer that saw him eclipsed as the premier liberal in the field by Warren. Sanders has dropped well behind Warren and Biden in most polls.
“Given his recent stalls in the polls, the timing is pretty bad here,” Democratic strategist Jim Manley said of Sanders’s heart procedure. Sanders’s campaign hasn’t said when the candidate will be back on the trail.
Thinking of @BernieSanders today and wishing him a speedy recovery. If there’s one thing I know about him, he’s a fighter and I look forward to seeing him on the campaign trail soon.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) October 2, 2019
Fellow candidates sent well-wishes to Sanders, including Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Biden.
“Bruce, Team Warren, and I are sending all our best wishes for a speedy recovery to Bernie Sanders. I hope to see my friend back on the campaign trail very soon,” Warren wrote on Twitter.
“Thinking of Bernie Sanders today and wishing him a speedy recovery. If there’s one thing I know about him, he’s a fighter and I look forward to seeing him on the campaign trail soon,” added Harris.
“We want to send our best wishes for a quick recovery to Bernie Sanders today. Our whole team has you in their thoughts,” said Julian Castro, another 2020 contender.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.