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Democratic Senator undergoes surgery for prostate cancer

 February 16, 2023

The Senate Democratic majority will be short at least one member for the foreseeable future while that member rests and recovers from surgery.

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) successfully underwent surgery to address prostate cancer on Tuesday, according to his office, Fox News reported.

The Pennsylvania Democrat had only first revealed a little more than a month ago that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer late last year.

"The procedure went well"

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Sen. Casey, Mairéad Lynn, announced in a statement, "This afternoon, Senator Casey underwent scheduled surgery for prostate cancer. His doctor reports that, as expected, the procedure went well and he confirmed that the Senator should not require further treatment."

"Senator Casey and his family appreciate the well-wishes and extraordinary support from every corner of the Commonwealth, and he looks forward to getting back to a normal schedule after a period of rest and recovery," the spokesperson added.

Diagnosed with prostate cancer in December

It was on January 5 that Sen. Casey revealed the troubling health diagnosis he had received in a press release from his office.

"Last month, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. While this news came as a shock, I can report that I have an excellent prognosis, as well as the benefit of exceptional medical care and the unwavering support of my family," the senator said at that time.

He added, "In the coming months I will undergo surgery, after which I am expected to make a full recovery. I am confident that my recommended course of treatment will allow me to continue my service in the 118th Congress with minimal disruption, and I look forward to the work ahead."

Faces tough re-election fight next cycle

The Hill reported at the time of Sen. Casey's January announcement that it was widely expected that he would run for another term in the 2024 election, though his re-election was hardly considered to be guaranteed.

Though unlikely to face a primary challenge from other Democrats, it seems probable that Casey would face tough competition for his seat from David McCormick, a Republican hedge fund CEO who was narrowly defeated in the 2022 GOP primary by Dr. Mehmet Oz.

Oz, of course, went on to lose the general election in stunning fashion to Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) in the contest to replace retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) -- even after Fetterman suffered a serious and debilitating stroke and was unable to effectively campaign for office.

Casey's seat is just one of the 23 Senate seats that Democrats will have to defend in the 2024 cycle, several of which are considered vulnerable in toss-up or red-leaning states, while Republicans will only have to defend 10 seats, none of which are viewed as at risk of being lost.

Attorney turned politician

According to CNN, the Scranton, Pennsylvania-born Sen. Casey was first elected to the U.S. Senate in the 2006 election and has since been twice re-elected in 2012 and 2018.

Prior to his career in the Senate, Casey was first an attorney in the late 1980s and 90s before being elected in 1997 to serve as state auditor and later as state treasurer.

Hopefully, the senator's recovery will go as well as the procedure and he will be able to return to his duties in Washington D.C. in a timely fashion.