Politics

Sen. David Perdue quarantines after contact with someone infected with Covid, days before Georgia runoff

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Key Points
  • Sen. David Perdue of Georgia is quarantining after contact with a person positive for Covid.
  • The Georgia runoff between Republican Perdue, who is negative for coronavirus, and Democrat Jon Ossoff is one of two Senate races that will determine which party controls the chamber in 2021.
  • Sen. Kelly Loeffler faces Raphael Warnock in her own runoff in Georgia.
  • President Donald Trump will campaign in the state for both GOP senators next week.
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Georgia Sen. David Perdue in quarantine after close Covid contact

Sen. David Perdue of Georgia entered quarantine after contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19, his campaign said Thursday, less than a week before the Republican's runoff election against Democrat Jon Ossoff.

Perdue and his wife Bonnie have tested negative for the coronavirus, according to his campaign, which did not say how long the 71-year-old incumbent senator would remain in quarantine.

His contest against Ossoff is one of two runoffs in Georgia on Tuesday that will determine whether Republicans or Democrats have majority control over the U.S. Senate starting next month.

In the other race, incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler, Perdue's fellow Republican, faces Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock. Recent polling suggests tight races in each runoff.

Perdue had been scheduled to appear with Loeffler at a New Year's Eve campaign rally and concert in Gainesville on Thursday afternoon.

Guidelines issued by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention call for people exposed to someone with Covid to stay home for 14 days after their last contact with an infected person.

"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 statement.

"Both Senator Perdue and his wife tested negative today, but following his doctor's recommendations and in accordance with CDC guidelines, they will quarantine," the campaign said.

"The Senator and his wife have been tested regularly throughout the campaign, and the team will continue to follow CDC guidelines. Further information will be provided when available."

Ossoff later tweeted, "I hope David, Bonnie, the campaign staff and supporters remain healthy and COVID-negative."

Loeffler self-quarantined earlier in the race after receiving inconclusive Covid test results on Nov. 21. She did not test positive for the virus.

Senator David Perdue (R-GA) speaks during a campaign event as he runs for reelection at the Olde Blind Dog Irish Pub, in Milton, Georgia, December 21, 2020.
Al Drago | Reuters

In the final days before Tuesday's runoffs, Republicans have been ramping up get-out-the-vote efforts as data show Democrats have had an advantage in early voting turnout.

When asked during a Fox News interview how closely she and Perdue were coordinating their runoff efforts, Loeffler said, "Our campaigns have combined to form a 1,000 person state-wide operation with 40,000 volunteers plus 8,000 poll watchers. So we're working hard every single day to get out across Georgia, work with Georgia voters, make sure that they know what's at stake. They know, they're turning out."

"The future of the country is on the line," Loeffler said of the runoffs.

President Donald Trump is scheduled to campaign in Georgia for Perdue and Loeffler on Monday.

President-elect Joe Biden is set to travel to Atlanta on Monday and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris plans to visit Savannah on Sunday to stump for Ossoff and Warnock in the final push before Election Day.

If Perdue and Loeffler both win their runoffs, Republicans will hold a majority of 52 seats in the Senate. The Democratic caucus, which includes two independents, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Maine's Angus King, would have 48 seats.

If Ossoff and Warnock win, the Democratic caucus would have 50 seats. With the tie-breaking vote from Vice President-elect Harris, that would give Democrats control of the Senate. Democrats currently hold the House of Representatives, and will continue doing so in 2021 despite losing a number of seats in that chamber.

The Covid crisis has been a prominent issue on the campaign trail. Perdue in particular has come under scrutiny from Democrats over accusations of improper stock trades occurring at the start of the pandemic.

Ossoff and Warnock have criticized Perdue and Loeffler's handling of the crisis, while the incumbent senators have blamed Democrats for stalling efforts to pass a relief package.

More recently, Ossoff and Warnock seized Trump's push for $2,000 stimulus checks as an opportunity to criticize Senate Republicans for opposing a larger direct payment earlier in the Covid relief negotiation process. Perdue and Loeffler, who have strongly allied themselves with Trump, later broke from many Senate Republicans to back the president's request for larger direct payments.

Georgia this year has reported more than 647,800 cases of Covid, with 10,846 deaths attributed to the coronavirus in the state.

More than 2.8 million Georgians have already voted in the runoff election as of Wednesday, a record high turnout for such a contest in the state.