Top Trump ally in House announces Senate bid
Posted January 29, 2020 8:10 a.m. EST
CNN — GOP Rep. Doug Collins, one of President Donald Trump's top allies in Congress and an outspoken defender of the President, officially announced on Wednesday his campaign to run for Senate in Georgia, pitting him against Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler.
Collins first made the announcement on Fox News' "Fox & Friends" before further explaining on Twitter that his presence in the Senate would "best benefit GA, the country and @realDonaldTrump."
The decision sets up a fierce melee for the November 2020 race. Democrats are attempting 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.
Collins' decision to run increases the chances that no candidate receives a majority of the vote, which would force a two-person runoff since all candidates -- Republican and Democrat -- face each other in the special election as part of Georgia's rules.
Steven Law, the president of the pro-Mitch McConnell Senate Leadership Fund, said in a statement, "It's so selfish of Doug Collins to be promoting himself when President Trump needs a unified team and Senator Loeffler is such a warrior for the President. As we've said before, Senator Loeffler is an outsider like Trump, not just another DC politician. We'll have her back if she needs us."
Loeffler, a political newcomer who is also an Atlanta businesswoman and co-owner of the WNBA's Atlanta Dream, was appointed to the Senate last month by Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp over Collins, who was Trump's preference. The appointment was made to fill the seat of Sen. Johnny Isakson, who retired last month due to health concerns.
Loeffler is married to New York Stock Exchange chairman Jeffrey Sprecher and has reportedly pledged to spend $20 million of her own money for her first political campaign. But Collins, a four-term congressman and chaplain in the Air Force Reserve who previously worked 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.