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Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / State Sen. Todd Gardenhire speaks to the Hamilton County Republican Women's Club at Mountain Oaks Tea Room on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020 in Ooltewah, Tenn. He was not wearing a mask, nor were many of the attendees.

NASHVILLE — State Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, says he was forced to miss a Thursday political fundraiser in Bradley County due to his quarantining after possible exposure to the coronavirus.

"This has to be a FIRST in a political campaign," wrote Gardenhire in a Thursday post on his Facebook page. "Had a fundraiser all planned up in Bradley County today, Governor [Bill] Lee was the keynote draw, Lt. Governor McNally came to show support, Congressman Chuck Fleischmann and a host of Bradley County and Cleveland elected officials were in attendance.

"Senator's [sic] Mike Bell and Bo Watson stood in for me. What was so special about this? I could not attend my on event. I watched it on Zoom, thanks to Bo Watson. I'm at home quarantined after possibly being exposed to the COVID Virus Tuesday," added Gardenhire, who is in a fiercely contested Nov. 3 general election contest with Democrat Glenn Scruggs, a Chattanooga assistant chief of police, for the Senate District 10 seat.

The two-term senator said this is his fifth time being "exposed and quarantined. I wear a mask all the time. All it takes is a split second and Bam, you got it. Very GRATEFUL for all my friends and supporters. Thank you. Going to get tested Monday."

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

Contact Andy Sher at asher@timesfreepress.com or 615-255-0550. Follow on Twitter @AndySher1.

This has to be a FIRST in a political campaign. Had a fundraiser all planned up in Bradley County today, Governor Lee...

Posted by Todd Gardenhire on Thursday, October 29, 2020
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