US Rep. Nunnelee's speech hurt from brain surgery

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Brain surgery on a Republican congressman from north Mississippi has at least temporarily harmed his ability to talk and move the left side of his body, his staff said.

Rep. Alan Nunnelee of Tupelo had surgery Monday at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston to remove a small mass on his brain. Thursday, Nunnelee's office said he is "experiencing difficulty" with speech and movement. The statement said Nunnelee will remain hospitalized until next week and then be moved to a rehabilitation facility in Houston. It says physicians believe Nunnelee's speech and mobility will be restored with rehabilitation.

Spokeswoman Elizabeth Parks said she did not know if the mass removed from Nunnelee's brain was cancerous. "Pathology results are not in yet," Parks told The Associated Press in a phone interview Thursday.

Nunnelee will undergo rehabilitation at TIRR Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston, Texas — the same place then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords underwent rehab after she was shot. Doctors told Nunnelee's wife that his recovery could take weeks.

"He's pretty determined to get better sooner rather than later," Parks said. Nunnelee, 55, was first elected to the U.S. House in 2010 and is seeking re-election. Nunnelee was unopposed for the Republican nomination. He is set to face Democrat Ron Dickey of Horn Lake, Libertarian Danny Bedwell of Columbus and the Reform Party's Lajena Walley in the general election.

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