Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), the ranking House Judiciary Committee Republican and one of President Donald Trump’s primary defenders amid the impeachment push, confirmed he is running for the Senate seat currently occupied by incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.)—drawing a swift rebuke from state GOP officials.
Collins made the announcement on “Fox & Friends,” saying: “We’re in for the Georgia Senate race down here. I’ve still got a lot of work left to do to help this president finish this impeachment out, and we’re going to make a bigger announcement down here in Georgia.”
Following the televised announcement, Collins, who has represented Georgia’s 9th Congressional District since 2013, confirmed the move on Twitter. “For months, I have given serious deliberation to the role I should serve that would best benefit GA, the country and @realDonaldTrump. Today, I have officially launched my campaign for Senate to do just that,” he wrote.
For months, I have given serious deliberation to the role I should serve that would best benefit GA, the country and @realDonaldTrump. Today, I have officially launched my campaign for Senate to do just that. I invite you to join our campaign here:https://t.co/xubaYUr5RP
— Doug Collins (@CollinsforGA) January 29, 2020
After his announcement, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, however, criticized Collins for being self-centered.
“The shortsightedness in this decision is stunning. Doug Collins’s selfishness will hurt David Perdue, Kelly Loeffler, and President Trump. Not to mention the people of Georgia who stand to bear the burden of it for years to come,” the GOP’s Senatorial Committee spokesman, Kevin McLaughlin, said in a statement. “All he has done is put two senate seats, multiple house seats, and Georgia’s 16 electoral votes in play. The NRSC stands firmly behind Sen. Kelly Loeffler and urges anyone who wants to reelect President Trump, hold the GOP senate majority, and stop socialism to do the same.”
Collins was asked on Fox News whether he thinks his bid will cause internal strife in the GOP and potentially help the Democrats flip the seat in November. Two Democrats are currently campaigning for the seat.
“We just need to have a process that lets [the voters] decide, lets them choose for themselves how they want to see this vision,” Collins told Fox.
Loeffler is the Senate’s newest member, having taken the seat held by former Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson, who departed in early January after suffering a series of health issues.
Loeffler, a business executive, was appointed to her seat last year by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican.
In a statement from Kemp’s office on Dec. 4, Loeffler made her stance known on the impeachment inquiry against Trump.
“With all of the important work to be done in DC and here in Georgia, I’m disgusted by the impeachment circus and strongly oppose it,” she said. “It’s a sideshow and partisan distraction. Democrats need to quit playing politics. We’re facing the fight of our generation—and that’s why I’m here.”
And during the Senate trial, Loeffler wrote on Twitter that Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who has told reporters that he believes former national security adviser John Bolton should be called to testify, “wants to appease the left by calling witnesses who will slander” Trump in “their 15 minutes of fame.”