Lt. Gov. McKee in quarantine as he begins transition planning

Local News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Lt. Gov. Dan McKee announced Saturday he will be in quarantine through Tuesday after being exposed to someone who has contracted coronavirus, just as he is beginning transition planning to take over as governor from Gina Raimondo.

McKee’s office said he was notified Saturday morning “that he had been in close contact with someone who later tested positive for COVID-19.” The lieutenant governor tested negative this morning and currently has no symptoms, according to his aides.

“No one is above the rules of quarantine,” McKee, a second-term Democrat, said in a statement. “As a state official, I am committed to modeling the kind of response to this virus that I hope all Rhode Islanders would have.”

McKee, 69, said he will remain in quarantine at his home in Cumberland until midnight on Jan. 12 and work remotely in the meantime.

“I will continue to meet with public health leaders and receive other critical briefings remotely,” he said. “Once I’ve reached the end of my quarantine, I look forward to speaking with Rhode Islanders and members of the media about our vision for a seamless transition and strong COVID response.”

The unexpected quarantine is a curveball for McKee and his advisers, who only received official word on Thursday night that Raimondo would be nominated as President-elect Biden’s pick for commerce secretary, triggering McKee’s ascension to the governor’s office in the coming weeks.

Raimondo will be able to sympathize with McKee: the governor has had to quarantine twice herself, including just last week, after a coronavirus exposure. Attorney General Peter Neronha also went into quarantine recently after he came in contact with someone who had tested positive.

There is no official timeline yet for when McKee will take over as governor, since the timing of Raimondo’s departure is dependent on how quickly the U.S. Senate acts on her nomination. He will serve out the remaining two years of Raimondo’s current term, and has indicated he intends to run for governor in his own right in the November 2022 election.

Raimondo’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) is WPRI 12’s politics and business editor and a Target 12 investigative reporter. He is a weekly panelist on Newsmakers and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook

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