Doug Collins announces US Senate bid, setting up GOP divide in Georgia

ATLANTA — U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., made it official Wednesday that he is running for the U.S. Senate seat that Johnny Isakson had held.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler currently holds the seat after Gov. Brian Kemp’s handpicked her to fill it when Isakson resigned at the end of December.

Georgia evangelicals make up a big voting block in the Republican Party. Right now, the Faith and Freedom Coalition is keeping back and not taking an official stance on either candidate.

But that didn’t stop Kemp from asking them to support his pick for senator Wednesday.

Collins waiting until an appearance on "Fox and Friends" Wednesday morning to make the official announcement.


“I know there’s been some discussion about it, and I’ve been asked by y’all before about the Senate race down there, and I’m just going to confirm we’re in for the Georgia Senate race down here,” Collins said.

Collins is hoping for an endorsement from President Donald Trump.

A few hours later, Channel 2 political reporter Richard Elliot was there as Kemp appeared before the Faith and Freedom Coalition and appealed to them to support Loeffler.

He said she supports Trump’s agenda, too.

“She doesn’t owe anything, anybody anything in Washington, D.C. What she owes is her fighting for this state of Georgia, and that’s what I told her to do when she got up there,” Kemp said.

Meanwhile, a bill eliminating the free-for-all primary for that Senate seat and creating party primaries instead is still in a House committee.

The bill’s sponsor, Democrat Bob Trammel, said the bill is fair.

“We have time to address it, and ample time, and all the candidates will be in the same situation, so it doesn’t advantage one candidate or another, Trammel said.

Faith and Freedom’s founder, political veteran Ralph Reed, told Elliot that he knows both Collins and Loeffler well, so he’s not going to advise Georgia evangelicals how to vote.

“It’s going to be a hard decision for a lot of these voters, but it’s a decision we’re going to leave to them,” Reed said.

Meanwhile, the question remains of who’s going to run on the Democratic side.

Matt Lieberman, son of Joe Lieberman, a former U.S. senator from Connecticut and 2000 vice presidential candidate, has announced but others are expected to jump in the race soon.