The Republican senator David Perdue of Georgia will quarantine after being exposed to someone infected with Covid-19, taking him off the campaign trail just days before a fiercely-contested runoff election to keep his seat.
The senator was notified on Thursday that he had come into “close contact with someone on the campaign who tested positive for Covid-19”, according to a statement released by his campaign.
“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 statement said.
The campaign did not specify how long the senator planned to quarantine. Donald Trump is expected to hold a rally in support of the Republican candidates in Georgia on Monday, the eve of the runoff elections that will determine control of the Senate.
Perdue is being challenged by Jon Ossoff while the senator Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed to her seat last December, faces Raphael Warnock. Neither Perdue or Loeffler cleared the 50% threshold required to win their seats outright, triggering the runoffs on 5 January.
If Perdue and Loeffler lose their races, the Senate chamber would be evenly divided between the parties, with Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote when she takes up her office of vice-president. Polling suggests the contests are close and that the candidates’ fates are likely bound up together.
The twin elections have drawn a surge of national attention after Joe Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate since 1992 to carry the state. In a sign of that enthusiasm, more than 2.8 million voters in Georgia have already cast their ballots – record participation for a runoff election.
Harris will visit Georgia to campaign for the Democrats on Sunday, while Biden will hold an event on Monday.