House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., speaks during his opening statement during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on the constitutional grounds for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Representative Doug Collins, a Republican from Georgia, announced this week that he will run in November against Senator Kelly Loeffler, who was just appointed to replace Senator Johnny Isakson earlier this month.
The announcement set off several Republican groups, including the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Club For Growth. An intra-party fight during a critical election like this, they argue, risks putting the seat in Democratic hands.
The demographics of Georgia have shifted, and the Republicans in the state are currently struggling with center-right suburban voters who have a dislike/distrust of President Trump. With many of these wavering voters being women, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp made the choice of Loeffler in order to expand the base in Georgia.
In choosing her, he appeals to Georgia women and he shows that he is his own man, and not beholden to Donald Trump (Trump’s inner circle and key supporters lobbied for Kemp to pick Collins to replace Isakson, which Kemp ultimately refused to do). Kemp’s popularity in Georgia is rising because he is seen as his own man and free of outside influence, as well as being an effective conservative governor. However, he’s not on the ballot in November, and Loeffler will have to show that she can win the seat.
If it were just her on the ballot, she has a really good chance, and her presence on the ticket will appeal to suburban women and draw out more of those votes, solidifying the Republican dominance of the state. Because these special elections are, under Georgia law, jungle primaries, Loeffler will be facing both Collins and one or two Democrats. If the Democrats come together in Georgia, they could push her out of a run-off scenario.
That sends suburban women back home in the run-off and leaves Collins facing a demographic coalition hellbent on turning Georgia blue. He’s popular in his district, but the whole state needs to hop on board, and there are several pockets of the state that will not be terribly happy with his over-enthusiastic support of the President, among other issues.
It is likely the Democrats in Georgia will solidify around one candidate, and that makes the Republicans’ job that much harder in a state where the Republicans have scraped by in recent statewide elections. Right now, it looks like their candidate might be this guy:
— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) January 30, 2020
And it definitely looks like he’ll have the Democratic charisma to get out his vote, while Loeffler and Collins split the GOP vote.
Add to that a movement to further erode Loeffler’s chances by changing this election from a jungle primary to a state primary.
That’s where corrupt Republican David Ralston comes in. Ralston is under fire from conservatives, including former RedState editor Erick Erickson, for using his position as House Speaker in Georgia to protect abusers and criminals.
Ralston, a lawyer, has been utilizing his spot to essentially get permanent delays of trials for his clients, some of whom have been accused of abusing women. The fact that he is still Speaker is a failure on the part of other legislative Republicans in the state, and there is absolutely no way the Democrats won’t hammer Republicans on that in November.
However, what’s just as pressing for Republicans is Ralston’s support of the legislation to change the special election for Loeffler’s seat to a party primary. It would make it tougher for Loeffler to hold her seat, benefit Democrats in the long run, and effectively serve as a challenge to Kemp’s power at a time when Ralston sees him as a threat.
And yet, Collins doesn’t seem to mind any of this. He would rather run for the Senate seat, perhaps just so he can be out of the minority party in the House and be part of the majority in the Senate. Maybe he’s running simply because he’s bitter over not being chosen by Kemp to replace Isakson. Either way, Collins is being selfish and allowing himself to be used by the scandal-ridden Ralston and Georgia Democrats, all the while effectively trying to ruin the political career of a self-made businesswoman and Georgia’s best shot at expanding the Republican base.
But, hey, so long as you get yours, Rep. Collins, I guess it’s all good.