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Rebeca Kleefisch Tests Positive For COVID-19 On Campaign Trail For Governor

Former Lt. Governor Was Exposed To Virus At Church Event Sept. 12, According To Spokesperson

People in the crowd hold up campaign signs as Rebecca Kleefisch points to them while speaking into a microphone.
Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch points at the crowd while announcing her campaign for governor Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, at Western States Envelope Company in Butler, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

Former Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch has tested positive for COVID-19 while on the road campaigning for governor.

Alec Zimmerman, a campaign spokesperson for Kleefisch, confirmed the news Monday. Zimmerman said Kleefisch was exposed to the virus Sept. 12 at a church event. Three days before, the Republican had announced her bid for governor at Western States Envelope Company in Butler.

Zimmerman said Kleefisch was informed of her exposure on Sept. 16 and received a positive test result the following day. Kleefisch got the COVID-19 vaccine in spring, Zimmerman said.

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During her campaign announcement, Kleefisch, her husband, Joel, and her daughters who were on stage with her were unmasked. So were nearly 200 people in attendance.

“She is feeling fine,” Zimmerman said in an email to WPR. “We have canceled all upcoming events and are notifying recent close contacts.”

The positive test was first reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Kleefisch, 46, has been open publicly about overcoming colorectal cancer a decade ago.

She is the first high-profile Republican to enter the race to challenge Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who is seeking reelection for another four-year term in 2022.

During her candidacy announcement Kleefisch said Wisconsin shouldn’t be a “nanny state” where health care choices are mandated — referencing recent COVID-19 vaccine mandates for certain groups like some public employees.