A scheduled debate between 1st Congressional District Rep. Jim Hagedorn and his Democrat election rival Dan Feehan has been canceled amid concerns about COVID-19.
Olson reported that the cancellation was due to concerns over Rep. Hagedorn's possible exposure to COVID-19 following President Trump's visit to Minnesota last Wednesday.
The debate was due to be broadcast on WCCO-AM and KAAL TV in Rochester, and in a comment to BMTN, Feehan's campaign said that it had offered to do the debate via Zoom in the wake of Rep. Hagedorn's possible exposure to the virus, and claims that the congressman had rejected the notion.
"After Congressman Hagedorn's exposure to COVID-19, we were disappointed that he was unwilling to follow CDC and Minnesota Department of Health guidelines and debate us tonight in a virtual format," the campaign said.
It added: "While we are disappointed about the outcome, we are incredibly thankful for KAAL's efforts to salvage tonight's debate and their commitment to public health and the safety of all those involved."
BMTN has reached out to Rep.Hagedorn's campaign, and was told by a spokesperson we would receive a comment "if and when" one is issued.
The cancelation comes despite Hagedorn announcing Tuesday that he would be returning to the campaign trail having received a second negative test result for COVID-19.
Hagedorn, who has Stage 4 kidney cancer, traveled with the president on Air Force One to Minnesota and attended his rally in Duluth.
A day later, it was announced that presidential adviser Hope Hicks – who was also on Air Force One – had tested positive for COVID-19 and developed symptoms on Wednesday, with President Trump then testing positive Thursday evening.
Hagedorn and his fellow members of the Minnesota Republican House Caucus, Reps. Tom Emmer and Pete Stauber, were criticized for traveling on a Delta flight from D.C. to Minnesota on Friday, after the president had confirmed his diagnosis.
The guidance from various public health bodies including the Minnesota Department of Health is that someone who has been in close contact with a known, positive COVID-19 case – described as less than 6 feet away for 15 minutes or more – should quarantine for 14 days.
That's because the incubation period for COVID-19 ranges from 2-14 days, so someone who tests negative after an exposure may still test positive days later.
But Hagedorn said on his Facebook page that returning to the trail "tracks with the way Joe Biden handled himself" following his debate with Trump last Tuesday, a day before the president traveled to Minnesota.