McGovern Rushed To Hospital After SD Fall

McGovern -George McGovern, a former South Dakota senator and 1972 Democratic presidential candidate, was flown to Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D., after falling and hitting his head in Mitchell.

McGovern, 89, was scheduled to appear on a live C-SPAN broadcast of his presidential campaign when the accident occurred Friday, shortly before 7 p.m. CT. McGovern was walking to the set at Dakota Wesleyan University when he tripped, according to his daughter, Ann.

“It could be very serious,” she said. “He went down very hard outside on the cement.”

Don Simmons, the executive director of the McGovern Center at Dakota Wesleyan University, said the fall was not just “a minor spill.”

“About 10 feet from the door he slipped and fell and hit his head,” Simmons said. “He was bleeding pretty heavily.”

McGovern was taken to a hospital in Mitchell, and then transported by helicopter to a trauma unit at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls. His condition is listed as stable as of 4:14 a.m. Sunday.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Sen. George McGovern and his family as he receives treatment in Sioux Falls,” said state Democratic Chairman Ben Nesselhuf.

C-SPAN has been airing a series called The Contenders, which has highlighted 14 presidential candidates who lost, but who influenced the nation’s history. McGovern lost to Richard Nixon in a landslide, winning just Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. However, his candidacy inspired a generation of Democrats.

“In the storied history of American politics, I believe no other presidential candidate ever had such an enduring impact in defeat,” said Bill Clinton, who was speaking in 2006 at the opening of the McGovern Center for Leadership and Public Service at Dakota Wesleyan.

McGovern’s latest book, What it Means to be a Democrat, was published last month, and the former senator had been traveling to promote his 12th, and what he considered, one of his best books. McGovern is also writing his memoirs, a history which he expected to have completed by this time next year.