Democrats to Retain Senate Majority Through Needling, Insults
If South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson dies ("critical condition" still), the guy who'd most likely have opposed him for reelection, SD Gov Mike Rounds, will appoint his replacement. Unfortunately, it is still not known at this time whether Governor Mike Grounds is or isn't a dick.
But while the "movement" to convince a Republican Governor to appoint a Democratic Senator just 'cause will probably turn out like most blog-based campaigns, there is still hope for the Democrats: It's really hard to get someone to leave the Senate.
Most recently, Sen. Karl Mundt (coincidentally, also from South Dakota) suffered a stroke in 1969 and was incapacitated, but he refused to step down. He remained in office until January 1973, when his term expired. Mundt was pressured repeatedly to step down during his illness, but he demanded that the governor promise to appoint his wife. The governor refused, and Mundt remained in office.
Another example was Sen. Carter Glass, D-Va. Glass had a heart condition that prevented him from working for most of his last term after his re-election in 1942. Yet Glass refused to resign, and finally died of congestive heart failure in May 1946, in his apartment at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington.
Both of these gentlemen sound totally awesome, frankly.
And hell, Byrd keeps showing up to work, a stroke victim probably can make it.