Minnesota Gov. Dayton collapses during State of State speech

Gov. Mark Dayton paused toward the end of his speech and collapsed onto the dais, but walked to a back room under his own power after being helped up.
By Stephen Feller  |  Jan. 23, 2017 at 11:30 PM
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Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Minnesota's governor appeared to faint Monday evening while delivering his State of the State speech, but was helped away from the podium in the State Capitol and said to be alert.

Gov. Mark Dayton paused, slurred his words and fainted about 45 minutes into his annual address to state legislators and officials Monday before being helped out of the House of Representatives by staff, who said he was fine and would be delivering his biannual budget to the body on Tuesday.

Dayton had nearly completed the speech when he fainted, leading legislators to adjourn the session and escort him out of the room, though he reportedly did not go to the hospital.

"He fell and he lost his footing. Some of us just tried to brace him," Secretary of State Steve Simon, who was nearby, told The Pioneer Press. "The good news is, at the end, you saw he went out, with some assistance, under his own power."

The governor reportedly stumbled on his way up to the dais before the speech, joking that he "knew I should have shown up for the walk-through."

During his speech, Dayton took several long pauses, stopping late in the address and drinking water before slurring his words and leaning forward. Dayton fell forward, hitting his forehead on the lecturn started sinking to the floor before he was caught by nearby officials.

Dayton got up a minute later, waved and walked to a back room where he was given first aid while sitting up in a chair and appearing to be alright.

The governor, who turns 70 this week, has had previous health concerns, including a period when he walked with a cane and another fainting spell last year, when he collapsed during a speaking event.

The governor's son, Eric, tweeted that his father was "doing great" and doing a puzzle with his grandson, "so that has to be a good sign!"

"Thanks again, everyone, for the outpouring of support tonight," Eric Dayton tweeted. "It means a lot to me, my Dad and our family."

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