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Tommy Tuberville, Alabama U.S. Senate candidate, defies D.C. quarantine order on fundraising visit

Former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville speaks to supporters in Montgomery, Ala., after his primary win over former attorney general Jeff Sessions earlier this month. (Butch Dill/AP)

Alabama GOP Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville is fundraising and holding face-to-face meetings in Washington this week, defying orders from the city that visitors from certain coronavirus hot spots quarantine upon arrival.

Tuberville spent at least some of his time in D.C. at the Trump International Hotel, according to a photo posted to Facebook by Arkansas GOP Rep. Bruce Westerman showing the two men in the hotel lobby on Tuesday night. In the photo, neither man is wearing a mask.

Alabama is among the states identified by D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) as a coronavirus hot spot, and any “nonessential” visitors from there are expected to self-quarantine for 14 days. Alabama’s coronavirus cases are surging, with more than 25 percent of its total cases appearing in the past two weeks, according to state data.

A photo posted to Tuberville’s Facebook page on Tuesday before he arrived in D.C. shows him in a cramped room with close to 25 people seated shoulder-to-shoulder around a conference table without masks.

The former Auburn University football coach, who is running to unseat incumbent Sen. Doug Jones (D), is taking a victory lap following his primary victory on July 14 over former Trump administration attorney general Jeff Sessions.

Alexandra Kendrick, president of High Cotton Consulting, a D.C.-based GOP fundraising operation, emailed contacts after Tuberville’s win, offering in-person meetings with the candidate while he was in D.C. from early afternoon Tuesday through Thursday.

“We are accepting in-person meetings during that time frame. Let me know if you and your group are interested in sitting down with the NEXT Senator from Alabama just let me know and we will put you on the schedule,” Kendrick wrote, according to a copy of the email obtained by The Washington Post.

The Tuberville campaign, Kendrick, Westerman and a National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman did not respond to requests for comment about Tuberville’s visit.

Senate Democrats slammed Tuberville over the move.

“Just like when he opposed the statewide mask order from Alabama’s Republican governor, Tommy Tuberville is ignoring medical experts because he’s more focused on raising campaign cash in Washington than doing what’s right,” said Helen Kalla, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

With Alabama in the throes of a major outbreak, Gov. Kay Ivey (R) implemented a statewide mask mandate two weeks ago. Tuberville has come out against Ivey’s order but told he supports mask-wearing around other people.

“I believe that right now, in the time that we’re in, if you’re around other people, probably it’s good that you wear them,” Tuberville said. “But I’m not for government — I think our government’s gone overboard on this entire pandemic because we don’t know the facts. Every time you turn around you hear different doctors say different things. I just want them to let us determine our own fate.”

The local news article noted that Tuberville did not wear a mask when he made his election night victory speech, or after when he greeted supporters in the crowd with hugs and handshakes.