Republican control of the Senate rests in the state’s runoff election.
GOP Senator Kelly Loeffler, locked in a run-off fight in Georgia that could determine control of the Senate, has tested positive for COVID-1
Loeffler’s spokeswoman said she tested positive for the virus Friday night, but a follow-up test on Saturday came back unknown. She isolates herself as a precaution “until retest is crucial.” She passed two quick COVID tests Friday morning before starting a day of campaigns, but found out at night that she had tested positive in a PCR test that generates fewer false positives or false negatives.
“Senator Loeffler took two COVID tests Friday morning. Her quick test results were negative and she was approved to attend Friday’s events,” spokesman Stephen Lawson said late Saturday. “She was informed later in the evening after public events on Friday that her PCR test came back positive, but she was tested again on Saturday morning after conferring with medical officials, and these results came back unclear on Saturday night.
“Senator Loeffler followed the CDC’s guidelines by notifying those with whom she had direct contact while awaiting further test results.”
She has no symptoms, Lawson said.
Loeffler, 49, played a campaign with Vice President Mike Pence on Friday. The two appeared on stage in the immediate vicinity without masks. Senator David Perdue, who is currently campaigning in the second runoff in Georgia, was also at the demonstration and in the immediate vicinity without a mask.
The runoff will take place on January 5th.
With Democrats and two left-wing independents with 48 seats and Republicans with 50 seats, the two Georgia seats could determine the balance in the Senate in President-elect Biden’s first year in office. Elected Vice President Kamala Harris would decide a decisive vote in 50-50 ties.
Loeffler, who has painted himself as a strong ally of President Donald Trump, is running against the pastor Raphael Warnock. The Democrat is the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Martin Luther King Jr.’s one-time congregation.
Perdue is running against Democrat Jon Ossoff, who at the age of 33 would become the youngest member of the Senate at seven years old. It is not clear when Perdue was last tested.
Loeffler’s positive test also comes exactly one week after she appeared in a campaign event with Florida Senator Rick Scott. The couple showed up in a crowded sports bar with hundreds of fans and very few wearing masks, including the candidate. Scott tested positive for COVID days later.
She is the third GOP senator to go into isolation over a positive test after Scott and the Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley.
Loeffler, who took office in January when she was appointed to replace retired Senator Johnny Isakson, tested negative for the virus in late October, when two of her staff tested positive.
ABC News’ Briana Stewart and Chris Donovan contributed to this report.