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Tillis campaign staffers test negative for coronavirus after senator's diagnosis

Tillis campaign staffers test negative for coronavirus after senator's diagnosis
© Greg Nash

Staffers on Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisSenate hears from Biden's high-profile judicial nominees for first time Senate Democrats take aim at 'true lender' interest rate rule Former North Carolina chief justice launches Senate campaign MORE’s (R-N.C.) reelection campaign who came into contact with the senator last week before he was diagnosed with COVID-19 have all tested negative for the coronavirus as of Monday.

No staff members are currently showing symptoms of the coronavirus, Tillis’s campaign said in a statement, though the senator will keep his Charlotte campaign headquarters closed through the rest of the week “out of an abundance of caution.”

Tillis announced on Friday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, putting him among a handful of prominent Republicans, including President TrumpDonald TrumpFranklin Graham says Trump comeback would 'be a very tough thing to do' Man suspected in wife's disappearance accused of casting her ballot for Trump Stefanik: Cheney is 'looking backwards' MORE, to contract the virus. 

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The North Carolina senator, a member of the upper chamber's Judiciary Committee, attended a Supreme Court nomination ceremony for Judge Amy Coney Barrett at the White House late last month. Several attendees of the event, including Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Energy: Colonial Pipeline says it has restored full service | Biden urges people not to panic about gasoline shortages | EPA rescinds Trump-era cost-benefit rule Senate panel advances Biden's deputy Interior pick Hillicon Valley: Global cybersecurity leaders say they feel unprepared for attack | Senate Commerce Committee advances Biden's FTC nominee Lina Khan | Senate panel approves bill that would invest billions in tech MORE (R-Utah), tested positive for the coronavirus days later.

Tillis’s positive COVID-19 test also prompted his Democratic opponent Cal Cunningham to get tested for the disease. The two attended a Senate debate last Thursday, less than 24 hours before Tillis announced his diagnosis. Cunningham tested negative for the virus over the weekend.

The North Carolina Senate race is among the most competitive this year, and both parties see the state as critical to their efforts to control the chamber. Recent polls show Cunningham with a single-digit lead in the race, and his campaign announced earlier this month that it had raised a staggering $28.3 million in the third quarter of the year.

But the race also entered a chaotic new phase over the weekend, following news of Tillis’s COVID-19 diagnosis and Cunningham’s admission to exchanging romantic text messages with a woman who is not his wife. 

It’s not yet clear how either development will affect the contest, though a survey released on Monday from the Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling (PPP) showed Cunningham with a 6-point advantage over Tillis.