Georgia’s Rep. Doug Collins Formally Announces Bid For Senate, Setting Up Republican Party Battle

“We just need to have a process that lets people decide. Lets them choose for themselves how they want to see this vision,” U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Georgia, said Wednesday on Fox News.

Matt Rourke / Associated Press file

North Georgia Congressman Doug Collins has formally announced he’s running against U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, setting up a Republican battle over the seat left vacant by former Sen. Johnny Isakson.

“We just need to have a process that lets people decide. Lets them choose for themselves how they want to see this vision,” Collins said Wednesday on Fox News.

“I look forward to a good exchange of ideas and am looking forward to this election.”

He was asked if this would create space for a Democrat to win the seat. Collins responded: “No we’re not concerned about that at all. I’m concerned about going to the people of Georgia. I’ve always run with three reasons in mind, that’s Jordan, Copelan and Cameron; those are my three kids.”

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which backs Loeffler, released a scathing statement saying, “The shortsightedness in this decision is stunning. Doug Collins’ selfishness will hurt David Perdue, Kelly Loeffler, and President Trump.”

“All he has done is put two senate seats, multiple house seats, and Georgia’s 16 electoral votes in play.”

Many Republicans, including President Donald Trump, tried to convince Gov. Brian Kemp to appoint Collins, not Loeffler, to the Senate, but Kemp ignored that advice.

Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of state House lawmakers has moved to change the rules of this very Senate race.

As it stands now, multiple Republicans and Democrats could all be together on one November ballot, without party primaries, but the bill would add a party primary.

Some argue the move would undercut Loeffler’s chances and favor Collins, whom House Speaker David Ralston calls a friend.

But Ralston said it’s not about politics.

“Absolutely not. Look, this is not about personalities. This is about making the elections more orderly … and anybody that’s running is going to have an equal shot at winning,” he said.

Kemp has threatened to veto this new primary idea, and a spokeswoman called it “attempts to undermine the rule of law for perceived political gain.”

It’s also worth noting it would require approval from the state Senate, which is run by Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, who stood behind Kemp at the press conference when he introduced Loeffler.