HELENA - Lt. Governor Mike Cooney temporarily suspended in-person campaign events for his run for governor while he was awaiting a COVID-19 test result. His campaign confirmed a negative test result late Friday afternoon.
Cooney raised concerns after his opponent, Congressman Greg Gianforte, attended an October 3 event in Lewis and Clark County that was later linked to several cased of COVID-19. Three days after that event, both Cooney and Gianforte attended at televised debate hosted by Montana PBS.
While both men were not wearing masks on the stage, during the debate, we have confirmed that they were standing more than 6 feet apart and plexiglass was placed between the two candidates.
Gianforte's camp also tells MRN that he followed all guidelines when it comes to wearing masks inside that building.
According to the Associated Press, Cooney's campaign, demanded that Gianforte suspend all in-person activities until he tests negative for the virus.
Gianforte has not been tested since the event in Helena earlier this month. His campaign manager, Jake Eaton, sent out the following statement:
“As Montanans confront this virus and economic crisis, it’s a shame that career politician Mike Cooney is so desperate that he’s politicizing public health for his personal, partisan gain. Since leading the Pledge of Allegiance at the event, Greg has shown no symptoms and continues to follow public health guidelines.”
Democrats were set to be in Great Falls this weekend for a drive-up voting event.
Gianforte will be in Hamilton, Kalispell and Great Falls on Monday as former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley will be in Montana in support of Gianforte, Steve Daines and several other republican candidates.