US senator from Georgia enters 14-day quarantine before key runoff race
Washington, Dec 31 (efe-epa).- Republican Senator from Georgia David Perdue on Thursday began a 14-day quarantine after having contact with someone who had tested positive for Covid-19, a situation that complicates his party’s campaign to retain his Senate seat five days before key runoff elections in his state.
Perdue is one of two GOP senators from the southeastern conservative state seeking reelection in runoff votes on Jan. 5, elections that will determine which party controls the Senate during the first two years of Joe Biden’s presidency.
The senator and his wife have tested negative for Covid-19 but even so they decided to quarantine themselves to abide by the directives of health experts after learning that a member of his campaign had tested positive for the highly contagious and sometimes deadly coronavirus, his campaign team reported in a statement.
The news complicates Perdue’s campaign given that now he will not be able to hold his last-minute campaign rallies at a time when voter surveys indicate he is in a very tight runoff race with Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff.
Also up for reelection on Jan. 5 is the other US senator from Georgia, also from the GOP, Kelly Loeffler, who is running against Democrat Raphael Warnock.
The Republicans, who currently control the Senate, need to win just one of the two races to retain control of the upper house of Congress a scenario that would enable them to block much legislation that Democrats might want Biden to sign.
The Democrats, meanwhile, currently hold 46 seats in the Senate, and two of the 100 seats are held by independents who normally vote with them – in particular, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders – and so they need to win both Georgia seats to get to the 50-seat mark, at which incoming Vice President Kamala Harris, who will also serve as head of the Senate, would be able to cast a tiebreaking vote.
Biden won the Nov. 3 election in Georgia, which has voted Republican in presidential races ever since the early 1990s, but his victory margin was very narrow and it remains to be seen whether his party can wrest the two Senate seats from the GOP.
The president-elect will campaign on Monday in Georgia in favor of Ossoff and Warnock, while President Donald Trump will also hold a rally in the state to promote the campaigns of Perdue and Loeffler.
Meanwhile, in Washington, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked for the third consecutive day the attempt by Democrats, on which paradoxically they are aligned with Trump’s stated desire, to increase from $600 to $2,000 the direct stimulus payments to US citizens to help ameliorate the economic impact on families and individuals of the Covid-19 crisis, which has thrown millions of Americans out of work.