Kelly Loeffler’s positive coronavirus test creates new cloud over Georgia Senate double runoff


Senator Kelly Loeffler shakes hands with a supporter Thursday during a “Defend the Majority” rally at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agriculture Center in Perry, Georgia. She tested positive for COVID-19 a day later. Jessica McGowan / Getty Images

ATLANTA (AP) – US Senator Kelly Loeffler is in quarantine after receiving mixed results from recent coronavirus tests, a day after campaigning with Vice President Mike Pence and US Senator David Perdue in twin Senate races hotly contested.

Loeffler had already appeared in recent days at campaign events alongside several Republican colleagues in the Senate – including Rick Scott of Florida, who also subsequently tested positive for the coronavirus disease COVID-19 – as expected, 2024 presidential candidates have sought to raise their national profile through direct participation in the second round of Georgia’s high-stakes Senate.

The Georgia Republican had two quick COVID tests Friday morning that came back negative, a spokesperson for her campaign said in a statement Saturday night.

She received another test on Friday evening and the results came back positive, the statement said. Loeffler tested again on Saturday morning and the results were inconclusive.

Her campaign says she has no symptoms. Loeffler is following CDC guidelines and advising those with whom she was in direct contact, the statement said.

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Loeffler appeared at a campaign event with Pence and Perdue in Georgia on Friday. She has held several rallies in recent weeks with crowded crowds and many members of the public not wearing masks.

Loeffler, appointed in December 2019 to fill a vacant Senate seat by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, reportedly against the wishes of President Donald Trump and his close allies, faces Democrat Raphael Warnock in the second round of January 5 elections – one of two second-round races that determine which party has control of the Senate.

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The other race will feature Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff. Having won 50 Senate seats in the new Congress, Republicans need one more for control. A Democratic second-round sweep in Georgia would result in a 50-50 Senate, giving Vice President-elect Kamala Harris the decisive vote to tip the chamber over to the Democrats.

With just over a month to go to the run-off election and all of the candidates campaigning intensely, it wasn’t immediately clear what impact the tests would have on Loeffler’s ability to campaign. Warnock tweeted on Saturday night that he was praying for his test results to be negative.

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Two Loeffler staff tested positive for COVID-19 last month. At the time, a subsequent test for Loeffler came back negative, according to a statement from his office.

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MarketWatch contributed.