GOP Rep. Doug Collins to run for Senate in Georgia
Posted January 27, 2020 9:55 p.m. EST
CNN — Rep. Doug Collins, one of President Donald Trump's top allies in Congress, will announce a campaign against GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler, according to a Georgia Republican.
The decision would set up a fierce melee for the November 2020 race, as Democrats attempt to pick up at least one of two US Senate seats up in Georgia this year as Republican Sen. David Perdue is also up for reelection in the state.
Loeffler is a political newcomer, Atlanta businesswoman and co-owner of the WNBA's Atlanta Dream. GOP Gov. Brian Kemp appointed her to Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson's seat in December over Collins and other potential candidates.
Collins' move was first reported by The Atlanta Journal Constitution. When asked whether Collins would run, his spokeswoman Amanda Gonzalez Thompson said, "No comment."
If Collins runs, he would complicate the path for a Republican to hold onto the seat and increase the chances where no candidate gets a majority of the vote, forcing it to a two-person runoff. All of the Republicans and Democrats face each other in the special election as part of Georgia's election rules.
"A fractured primary puts Georgia's electoral votes, both Senate seats and multiple House seats in play," says one senior Senate campaign official. "Collins' vendetta against Kemp could be the straw that breaks the camel's back and finally flips Georgia blue."
Loeffler, who is married to New York Stock Exchange chairman Jeffrey Sprecher, has reportedly pledged to spend $20 million of her own money for her first political campaign. But Collins, a four-term congressman who worked as a chaplain in the Air Force Reserve before serving as a floor leader in the statehouse, has stronger ties to the base of the party in Georgia. Collins has also taken a high-profile role during the impeachment inquiry as the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee. His relationship with Trump could prove useful in any future race.
Earlier this month, Loeffler was sworn into the chamber. She was quickly swept up in the Senate impeachment trial and has also proved a durable defender of the President. On Monday, she targeted her fellow GOP colleague, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, over the issue of witnesses.
In a tweet, Loeffler leveled an accusation, saying, "After 2 weeks, it's clear that Democrats have no case for impeachment. Sadly, my colleague @SenatorRomney wants to appease the left by calling witnesses who will slander the @realDonaldTrump during their 15 minutes of fame. The circus is over. It's time to move on!"
As she left the Senate on Monday evening, Loeffler did not respond for comment.