Republican control of the Senate rests on the state’s runoff election.
GOP Sen. Kelly Löfler, running in a runoff in Georgia who can determine control of the Senate, tested positive for COVID-1
A Loeffler spokesman said Friday night was positive for the virus, but a follow-up test on Saturday was unconvincing. It is isolated as a precautionary measure “until retesting is final”. She passed two rapid tests for COVID on Friday morning before the start of the campaign day, but found at night that she tested positive in a PCR test that generated fewer false positives or false negatives.
“Senator Löfler took two tests for COVID on Friday morning. The results of her rapid tests were negative and she was released to attend Friday’s events,” campaign spokesman Stephen Lawson said late Saturday. “She was informed later in the evening after public events on Friday that her PCR test was positive, but she was re-tested on Saturday morning after consulting with medical staff and these results came back unconvincingly on Saturday night.
“Senator Löfler followed the CDC’s instructions, notifying those with whom she was in direct contact while awaiting further test results.”
She is not suffering from any symptoms, Lawson said.
Löfler, 49, appeared in a campaign with Vice President Mike Pence on Friday. The two appeared on stage next to each other without masks. Senator David Purdue, who is currently campaigning in Georgia’s other runoff, was also at the rally and in the immediate vicinity without a mask.
The runoff will take place on January 5.
With Democrats and the two left-wing independents with 48 seats and Republicans with 50 seats, the two seats in Georgia can determine the balance of the Senate during the first years of President-elect Biden’s term. Newly elected Vice President Kamala Harris will vote in any 50-50 vote.
Löfler, who has portrayed herself as a strong ally of President Donald Trump, is fighting the Rev. Raphael Warnock. The Democrat is the Reverend in the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the one-time congregation of Martin Luther King Jr.
Perdue is running against Democrat John Osoff, who at age 33 will become the youngest member of the Senate in seven years. It is not clear when Perdue was last tested.
Loeffler’s positive test also comes exactly one week after she appeared in a campaign with Florida Sen. Rick Scott. The couple appeared 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 be isolated for a positive test, following Scott and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley.
Löfler, who took office in January when she was appointed to replace retired Senator Johnny Isaacson, tested negative for the virus in late October, when two of her staff tested positive.
Brianna Stewart and Chris Donovan of ABC News contributed to this report.