WASHINGTON – Sen. Tim Johnson's campaign raised more than $660,000 in the first three months of the year, all while the senator has been recovering from a brain hemorrhage.
According to Johnson's office, about 30 senators have participated in fundraisers for the South Dakota senator, who is up for re-election in 2008, since he fell ill. Johnson has been in a private, undisclosed rehabilitation facility since February and has not announced whether he plans to run again.
"He is glad to know that things are moving forward, so he is in the best position possible to make that decision down the line," said Julianne Fisher, a spokeswoman for Johnson. "Tim remains busy at rehabilitation and is just so thankful to his colleagues for all of their help during this time."
The senator has been working from the rehabilitation facility but is not yet able to walk. His office will not put a timeline on his return to the Senate or a campaign announcement, saying his recovery is expected to take months.
Johnson's campaign has raised a total of $2.2 million since his last election in 2002. Since the beginning of the year, he has raised about $200,000 from individuals and more than $430,000 from political action committees. He has $1.2 million in the bank.
A few senators have held fundraisers for Johnson in the last few months, and many more participated. Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., held an event for Johnson, as did Democratic Sens. Max Baucus of Montana, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Evan Bayh of Indiana and Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts.
Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, created a joint fundraising committee with the Johnson campaign that transferred almost $30,000 to the South Dakota Democrat. Baucus is also up for re-election in 2008.
Johnson's illness and absence from the Senate have highlighted his party's tenuous, one-seat advantage in the chamber, and both parties are closely watching Johnson's progress. South Dakota is a Republican-leaning state and Johnson won by only 524 votes in his bruising 2002 re-election bid against John Thune. Thune defeated Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle in another contentious race in 2004.
The Democrat's 2007 numbers are similar to his fundraising six years ago. In July 2001, 16 months before he was re-elected, Johnson had raised $2.5 million. He raised a total of $5.6 million in that campaign.
Johnson was rushed to the hospital on Dec. 13 after becoming disoriented during a phone call with reporters. He underwent emergency surgery hours later. He was diagnosed with arteriovenous malformation, a condition that causes arteries and veins to grow abnormally large, become tangled and sometimes burst.