August 5, 2021

Exclusive — Republican Doug Collins Mulling Bid Against Democrat Raphael Warnock in Georgia

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Former Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) is seriously considering running again for the U.S. Senate in Georgia in 2022, a source with knowledge of his plans told Breitbart News exclusively.

Collins would, if he runs, face off against Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), who was just sworn in after winning one of the two runoffs in Georgia on Jan. 5. Warnock, and his fellow Democrat Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA), were sworn in on Wednesday by Vice President Kamala Harris. Their wins handed control of the U.S. Senate to the Democrats for the first time since they lost it in 2014, during former President Barack Obama’s administration, albeit with a tight 50-50 split that becomes a majority because of Harris breaking the tie.

Warnock defeated former Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) in the high-octane runoff, which, combined with Ossoff’s win against former Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), was one of the most expensive races in American history. But in the lead-up to the Nov. 3 general election that sparked the runoffs, Collins ran in a jungle primary against both Loeffler and Warnock. While Collins did not finish in a strong enough position to go to the Jan. 5 runoff, he ran what his team considers an impressive campaign given the intense opposition he faced from inside the GOP, due to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell formally lined up against him by the mere fact he was facing off against a sitting senator in Loeffler, even though Loeffler was appointed to the position by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.

Collins was a fan favorite among supporters of now former President Donald Trump and the grassroots, raising $6 million on his own. Despite being outspent in aggregate, $54 million to $6 million, Collins still came in a strong third place with 20 percent of the vote to Loeffler’s 25.9 percent and Warnock’s 32.9 percent back on Nov. 3.

But now that Warnock has won the special election to fill out the remainder of the term of retired former Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Collins is looking at challenging Warnock in 2022 in the midterm elections—an election for a seat that again could determine majority control in the U.S. Senate.

“Doug is giving serious consideration to running against Warnock in 2022,” a source familiar with Collins’ thinking told Breitbart News. “He has name ID, a statewide grassroots organization and 22,000 donors that just invested in him last year. He can unite MAGA world and traditional Republicans and can win in November. He knows this decision has to come pretty quickly, so I would expect a public announcement to be made about his future no later than the end of February.”

Collins, many Republicans in Georgia believe, could energize Trump supporters who stayed home in the Jan. 5 runoff. At a rally in the lead-up to that runoff, Trump himself even floated the possibility of Collins challenging Kemp in a 2022 primary—the former president has a score to settle with the Georgia governor over the post-election battles over election integrity—but Collins is leaning much more towards another run for the Senate, sources familiar told Breitbart News. Nonetheless, they expect Trump would be supportive, and that Trump’s supporters in the state would quickly rally around him, as would traditional Republicans.

In an appearance on Breitbart News radio on SiriusXM 125 the Patriot Channel back in September, for instance, while discussing Trump’s then-looming eventual selection of Amy Coney Barrett to be a Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, Collins made a plea to the base to get out and fight for the conservative vision for the country.

“We’ve got to take conservatism seriously because the liberals take liberalism seriously,” Collins said. “Many times as conservatives we think we can just sit by and everybody will just come to our conclusions. We’ve got to take that fight to the American people, and the American people will side with us. I truly believe that.”

LISTEN TO DOUG COLLINS ON BREITBART NEWS RADIO ON SIRIUSXM: 

One thing Republicans want to avoid is another brutal primary that could end up benefitting Warnock and the Democrats, so that is a consideration by Collins as he mulls another bid for the Senate. But Collins, sources familiar with his thinking say, is fairly confident that Republicans in the state party will rally behind him, just as much as he is confident in his grassroots and Trump base support. That’s because after the brutal three-way race with Warnock and Loeffler in the lead-up to Nov. 3, as soon as the runoff came around, instead of sitting on the sidelines, Collins went all in behind Loeffler and Perdue to help them in the runoffs. Collins, the source said, did everything the Republicans asked him to do to help the cause.

If Collins does end up running, the source with knowledge of his plans said, expect him to announce early—by mid-to-late February of this year—to begin raising money and to clear the field of any potential primary challengers so he can focus nearly exclusively on Warnock.

Republicans hope to retake the U.S. Senate in November 2022, and they need to win only one net pickup to do so. Republicans will need to defend several battleground states, though, with Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Marco Rubio (R-FL) up for re-election and incumbent GOP senators retiring in Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who will be 89-years-old in November 2022, has not said yet whether he will run for re-election.

But the GOP does have some places they could flip seats in addition to this Georgia race. In Arizona, newly-elected Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) will face off against a GOP candidate for a full term after he won the special election in November. Democrats could also face losses in other states where Republicans have in recent years won Senate seats, like Nevada, Colorado, New Hampshire, Illinois, or perhaps a surprise in a more deeply blue state. But the map is tough for the GOP, and a Georgia win would be almost essential for the Republicans to retake the U.S. Senate in November 2022, so whatever Collins decides to do will be critical to the future of the party nationally.

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Breitbart News 2021-01-22 04:45:00

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