Control of US Senate in balance after Democrat undergoes surgery

Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson’s collapse threatened to upset the new Democratic party’s 51-49 majority. Friday he is in stable condition. Failing Sen. Johnson’s recovery, Dakota’s Republican governor would likely appoint a Republican to replace him, shifting the balance of power in the next Senate back to the Republicans, with Vice President Dick Cheney having the tie-breaker vote.
But regardless of Sen. Johnson’s health, the president may be able to tip the balance by appointing Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., to serve as the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Should Lieberman be nominated and accept that position, Connecticut’s Republican Gov. Jodi Rell has the constitutional authority to name a new senator.

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