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Kelly Loeffler tests negative for the coronavirus but will keep isolating, campaign says

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) speaks during a campaign stop with Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Vice President Pence in Canton, Ga., on Friday. (Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg News)

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) has tested negative for the coronavirus but will keep isolating after getting a positive result Friday and then an inconclusive test the next day, a spokesman for her campaign said.

“Out of an abundance of caution, she will continue to self-isolate and be retested again to hopefully receive consecutive negative test results,” spokesman Stephen Lawson said in a statement Sunday. “We will share those results as they are made available.”

The potential disruption to Loeffler’s campaign comes as she and her Republican colleague, Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), try to fend off Democratic challengers in high-stakes runoff elections that will determine which party controls the Senate. Loeffler has no symptoms and is taking precautions “until retesting is conclusive,” Lawson said Saturday night.

Loeffler took two coronavirus tests Friday morning, according to Lawson. One of them, a rapid test, came back negative, and she was cleared to join Vice President Pence at events that day, he said.

Vice President Pence campaigned on Nov. 20 for Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R) and David Perdue (R), who both face a runoff election in Georgia on Jan. 5. (Video: The Washington Post)

The senator was on a bus with Pence most of the day on Friday and was standing close to Pence, Perdue and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue during some events. She wore a mask for part of the day, though it was unclear whether she wore one on the bus.

After those events, Lawson said, the senator learned Friday that her other test — a polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, test — came back positive. An additional test taken Saturday morning “came back inconclusive” that night, he said, and Loeffler notified “those with whom she had sustained direct contact.”

On Sunday, Lawson announced that the PCR result was rested overnight and this time returned a negative.

Loeffler is facing off against the Rev. Raphael Warnock (D), a pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, in a Jan. 5 runoff. Warnock led the incumbent senator by nearly 350,000 votes in the Nov. 3 special election, which followed Loeffler’s appointment to succeed Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson, who resigned for health reasons. Republican U.S. Rep. Douglas A. Collins received just over 980,000 votes.

Loeffler’s Friday appearance with Pence drew outdoor crowds as Republicans and Democrats have staked out very different approaches to campaigning amid the pandemic, with conservatives continuing to hold large gatherings. Loeffler typically wears a mask, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in contrast to many who flock to her events.

Josh Dawsey contributed to this report.