- Sen. Rand Paul is raising concerns over the health of his party’s top Senate recruit in West Virginia.
- He said that Gov. Jim Justice has “a lot of health issues” and questioned “how he’ll be able to serve.”
- It comes amid a spate of recent health-related incidents among members of the US Senate.
Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is raising concerns over whether his party leadership’s favored US Senate candidate in West Virginia is healthy enough to serve.
Jim Justice, the state’s governor since 2017, was recruited by Republican leaders to run for Senate in 2024 and launched his campaign earlier this year. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who currently holds the seat, has not yet announced whether he will seek re-election.
But Justice, who will first have to defeat Rep. Alex Mooney in the GOP primary, has well-documented issues with mobility owing to his weight and height, and recently underwent a gallbladder removal surgery. The 72-year-old also sought treatment in Maryland for an unknown viral illness in 2017, and had to postpone his State of the State address in 2022 due to a serious case of COVID-19.
“The governor has got a lot of health issues and is not very mobile,” Paul, who’s backing Mooney in the primary, told POLITICO. “There’s a question of how he’ll be able to serve given his health.”
In 2018, the governor even issued an official press release regarding rumors about his health.
“Could the false rumors please stop,” said Justice in that statement. “Instead of celebrating and concentrating on the wonderful achievements that have been taking place in our great state, some people are questioning my health. In no way, shape, form or fashion are these rumors true.”
A spokesman for Justice’s Senate campaign did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment regarding Sen. Paul’s comments.
The concern raised by Paul about Justice’s health comes as the Senate is grappling with a series of health-related issues among senators.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell recently froze up for several seconds in front of reporters after feeling “light headed,” according to an aide. It was then revealed that the Kentucky Republican has suffered numerous falls this year, beyond the concussion in March that kept McConnell away from the Senate for several weeks as he recovered.
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the oldest lawmaker on Capitol Hill at age 90, continues to experience public moments of confusion after returning from a months-long absence due to a shingles infection. Recently, it came to light that her daughter exercises “power of attorney” over her legal affairs, a designation typically used for elderly people who are unable to make certain decisions.
And Democratic Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, who suffered a stroke last year during his campaign, was absent from the Senate for several weeks earlier this year due to a bout of severe depression. Though now recovered, he continues to rely on assistive technology to allow him to carry on with his duties.