ATLANTA — With days to go before a decisive runoff election, incumbent Sen. David Perdue is in quarantine after coming in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
“This morning, Senator Perdue was notified that he came into close contact with someone on the campaign who tested positive for COVID-19,” Perdue’s campaign said in a Thursday statement. “Both Senator Perdue and his wife tested negative [Thursday], but following his doctor’s recommendations and in accordance with CDC guidelines, they will quarantine. The Senator and his wife have been tested regularly throughout the campaign, and the team will continue to follow CDC guidelines.”
The quarantine comes at a particularly crucial time for Perdue, who is locked in a tight battle with Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff for one of Georgia’s two Senate seats. The Perdue-Ossoff runoff election, as well as the concurrent race between Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler and Democratic challenger Raphael Warnock, will determine the composition of the U.S. Senate for the first two years of President-elect Joe Biden’s term.
Perdue has spent the last few weeks barnstorming across the state to rally support, and his campaign Twitter feed indicates that the senator has been present at numerous events, many of them indoors, where a significant percentage of attendees were not wearing masks. The CDC strongly advises against gathering in large numbers, particularly indoors, because of the possibility of virus transmission.
Current CDC guidelines also call for a 14-day quarantine for anyone who may have been in contact with a person with COVID-19, although there can be mitigating circumstances based on negative tests. Regardless, the quarantine will likely sideline Perdue for most if not all of the remainder of the campaign.
Perdue is scheduled to campaign with President Trump at a rally in Dalton, Ga., on Monday night. It’s unclear whether he will be able to attend. Early voting in Georgia ended on Thursday, and the runoff will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 5.
Both Senate runoff races appear incredibly close. FiveThirtyEight’s average of all polls analyzing the Georgia runoffs puts Ossoff ahead by 0.9 percentage points. Perdue was ahead by 0.4 points as recently as Dec. 29. Neither candidate has held a lead greater than 1 percentage point since November.
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