Senator David Perdue is quarantining having been exposed to COVID-19, sidelining the Republican incumbent just days before the crucial January 5 runoffs in Georgia, when he will face off against Democrat Jon Ossoff. Perdue’s campaign said in a statement Thursday that he and his wife had been in close contact with a COVID-infected staff member, and have both tested negative on Thursday morning, but will be quarantining regardless. Perdue had been scheduled to make a joint appearance on Thursday night with Senator Kelly Loeffler, who is also up for reelection on Tuesday. He was also set to appear with President Trump at a get-out-the-vote event in Dalton, Georgia on Monday night, but at this point it’s not clear when or if Perdue will return to the campaign trail.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that “campaign spokesman John Burke wouldn’t say whether Perdue plans to attend the [Trump] rally, whether he will need to request an absentee ballot to vote, or offer any additional details about the staffer who contracted the disease.”
The Perdue campaign said that Perdue and his wife would follow CDC guidelines regarding their quarantine, which depending on when they were exposed to the infected staffer, could keep him off the trail through Tuesday. The CDC recommends a seven to ten day quarantine following exposure, depending on whether or not the exposed person tests negative and/or develops any symptoms. Senator Loeffler self-quarantined for a few days in late November after she tested positive for COVID-19, then returned to the trail after twice testing negative. Both senators regularly wear face masks while appearing at campaign events, though neither mask use nor social distancing is widespread among rally-goers.
Tuesday’s runoffs will decide which party controls the Senate once President-elect Joe Biden, who narrowly won Georgia this year, takes office on January 20.