Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler tests positive for COVID and goes into quarantine after campaign event with Mike Pence ahead of her Georgia run-off
- Sen Kelly Loeffler’s campaign confirmed she is self-isolating on Saturday
- The Republican took two rapid COVID tests on Friday morning which came back negative, her campaign said
- Then on Friday night a PCR test came back, indicating she was positive
- Loeffler was retested on Saturday and the results were inconclusive
- The senator, who is facing a run-off in January, appeared at two campaign events with Vice President Mike Pence and Sen David Perdue in Georgia on Friday
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Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler has gone into quarantine after receiving conflicting COVID-19 test results – including one that was positive.
Loeffler’s campaign said she took two rapid tests on Friday morning which both came back negative. She received the results of a PCR test – which is more accurate than rapid tests – that night, which showed she was positive.
The Republican, who has been hitting the campaign trail hard ahead of her run-off election in January, was retested on Saturday and the results were inconclusive, prompting her to isolate out of caution.
‘Senator Loeffler followed CDC guidelines by notifying those with whom she had sustained direct contact while she awaits further test results,’ her office said Saturday night.
‘She has no symptoms and she will continue to follow CDC guidelines by quarantining until retesting is conclusive and an update will be provided at that time.’
Loeffler appeared at two campaign events with Vice President Mike Pence and Sen David Perdue in Georgia on Friday.
She wore a mask for part of the day but did take it off when she was on stage with Pence and Perdue – sparking fears that they may have also been exposed to the virus.
Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler has gone into quarantine after receiving conflicting COVID-19 test results – including at least one that was positive
Loeffler is seen at a campaign event with Vice President Mike Pence (center) and fellow Georgia Sen David Perdue (right) on Friday in Marietta
Loeffler greets Pence with a fist-bump as he arrives at Dobbins Air Reserve Base on Friday
Loeffler is facing Democrat Raphael Warnock in a January 5 runoff election – one of two races that will determine which party has control of the US Senate.
She has held several rallies in recent weeks with crowds packed into close quarters and many audience members not wearing masks.
Two staff members for Loeffler tested positive for COVID-19 last month. At the time, a subsequent test for Loeffler came back negative, according to a statement from her office.
Warnock reacted to the news of Loeffler’s latest possible infection in a tweet on Saturday, writing: ‘Senator Loeffler is in my thoughts. I pray that her test results come back negative and that she is back on the campaign trail soon. Blessings.’
Pence, Loeffler and Perdue stand on stage without masks at a rally in Canton on Friday
Loeffler and Pence wave to a crowd at the Cherokee Conference Center in Canton
Raphael Warnock, Loeffler’s challenger in the January runoff, extended well wishes to her in a tweet on Saturday night
Going into isolation for the next two weeks would pose a significant challenge to Loeffler’s campaign as she seeks to keep the seat she was appointed to earlier this year after Sen Johnny Isakson retired.
Warnock came out ahead of the incumbent by nearly 350,000 votes in the November 3 special election that resulted in a runoff.
Sen Perdue is also facing a runoff in his race against Democrat Jon Ossoff in January.
Loeffler and Perdue have spent the past few weeks rallying support across the state, often at events together, as they seek to keep the Senate under Republican control.
A Democratic sweep of the Georgia runoffs would yield a 50-50 Senate, giving Vice President-elect Kamala Harris the tie-breaking vote to tilt the chamber to Democrats.
Pence joined Loeffler and Perdue on the trail on Friday to bolster support within his party.
It’s unclear if the trio kept their masks on while they were on a bus between events in Canton and Marietta.
Pence joined Loeffler and Perdue on the trail on Friday to bolster support within his party. 8 ‘We’re going to keep fighting until every legal vote is counted,’ he said in a prepared speech. ‘We’re going to keep fighting until every illegal vote is thrown out’
The campaign stops came on the same day that Georgia’s Republican secretary of state certified that Joe Biden is the first Democratic presidential nominee to carry the state since 1992.
Although Pence has joined President Donald Trump in not yet conceding to Biden, the vice president held fast Friday to more careful language than the president’s repeated and baseless claims of widespread voter fraud.
‘As our election contest continues, here in Georgia and in courts across the country, I’ll make you a promise,’ Pence said in a prepared speech he delivered in Canton and Gainesville, towns north of Atlanta.
‘We’re going to keep fighting until every legal vote is counted. We’re going to keep fighting until every illegal vote is thrown out.’
That position has grown increasingly fraught as more states certify election returns, and even federal judges appointed by Trump reject the president’s specious claims of a fraudulent election.
Pence, almost certainly a future presidential candidate himself, cannot yet afford to distance himself from Trump, but also must be careful not to attach himself to mistruths that undermine confidence in US elections.