Doug Collins

House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., speaks during a House Judiciary Committee debate to subpoena Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Earlier this week, Doug Collins made official his incredibly selfish decision to side with a corrupt Republicans and the Georgia Democratic Party and challenge Kelly Loeffler for the Senate seat she was recently appointed to.

Collins is trying to portray himself as the true disciple of Trump in the race – a belief that stems from the fact that he was pushed for the Senate appointment by the Trump administration, though Georgia Governor Brian Kemp eventually went with Loeffler instead – and as such, it seems like he might have to answer for the fact that he and House Impeachment Manager Hakeem Jeffries are really close friends.

Our sister site, Townhall, has a piece up today about Collins’ previous work on a criminal justice bill with Jeffries that would probably have gone a bit too far in letting violent criminals go free.

Rep. Collins has worked closely with Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) on radical criminal justice reform legislation. The Prison Reform and Redemption Act reaches further than President Trump’s First Step Act; it endangers communities with dangerous provisions.

Criminal Justice Reform is gaining popularity with Republicans, which is long overdue; but critics consistently note that CJR legislation often prioritizes goals like reducing the number of people incarcerated over actually decreasing violent crime.

Collins’ legislation is loosely based on legislation enacted in Collins’ home state of Georgia, and would have allowed violent criminals to roam free.

Now, you could fairly say that Collins and Jeffries just had similar views on criminal justice reform, and that sometimes these bi-partisan crossovers happen.

Except… these crossovers have happened well over a dozen times with these two. Jeffries has co-sponsored these bills by Collins…

  • HR 5682, Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person (FIRST STEP) Act
  • HR 4943, Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act
  • HR 4706, Music Modernization Act
  • HR 3718, International Communications Privacy Act
  • HR 3356, Prison Reform and Redemption Act
  • HR 3326, Defend Trade Secrets Act
  • HR 1854, Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act
  • HR 1283, A bill to amend title 17, United States Code, to ensure fairness in the establishment of certain rates and fees under sections 114 and 115 of such title, and for other purposes.
  • HR 4079, Songwriter Equity Act

…while Collins has co-sponsored these bills by Jeffries…

  • HR 5546, Effective Assistance of Counsel in the Digital Era Act
  • HR 3199, Terminating the Extension of Rights Misappropriated (Term) Act
  • HR 2426, Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act
  • HR 3979, Keep America’s Refuges Operational Act
  • HR 3945, Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act
  • HR 956, Effective Assistance of Counsel in the Digital Era Act
  • HR 4324, Effective Assistance of Counsel in the Digital Era Act
  • HR 3864, Effective Assistance of Counsel in the Digital Era Act

…and Collins has in the past called Jeffries “one of my closest friends.”

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As we are coming to the end here, it is amazing to me especially from hearing from one of my frankly either side of the aisle one of my closest friends on this dais Mr. Jeffries make a statement that said that the only thing we had to offer was a process argument all day I–I–he may have had to come in and out I am not sure but for the most part for over 12 hours we have ordered the fact and argue the facts that there is over and over again that the call, the–me aid was released, there was nothing done. And that has been our argument and we have a process argument because the process argument has a lot to do with where we are at right now but the facts have been taken on and rebuffed every single hour of this day since 9 o’clock.”

The pair has even been called a “Political Odd Couple” by POLITICO, where Collins had this to say about Jeffries.

And Collins said he was confident their relationship could withstand an impeachment-fueled storm. “Our friendship is based on a respect that is deeper than legislation,” he said. “I think that’s some of the things that actually will get us through any of those times.”

I am fine with, and even applaud Collins for, having friends on both sides of the political aisle. Frankly, society could use a bit more understanding and friendship between political opposites.

But, we also know that voters, especially deeply partisan members of the base, are less forgiving of fraternizing with the enemy, and that association, when played up by the right people, can be damaging enough to keep them at home on election day, should the election come down to Collins versus a Democrat in a state with a demographic base that is slowly becoming more hostile to conservative Republicans.

The reason Kemp went with Loeffler in the first place was to try to grow the Republican base in Georgia (by bringing in center-right, suburban women), and Collins’ close affiliation with Trump keeps them at home, while his friendship with Jeffries could possibly leave the base scratching their heads and staying home.

It’s bad strategy. At the end of the day, Collins wanting to leave the House and jump to the Senate puts Georgia in a bind, and he is being hit from all sides over his decision. Any of this can be manipulated to keep Republicans at home on election day, and that’s exactly why so many Republicans in the Senate are furious at Collins for his decision.

Joe Cunningham
Joe Cunningham is a Senior Editor at RedState. You can find his commentary on Louisiana issues at The Hayride. You can also follow him on Twitter at @JoePCunningham and Like his page on Facebook.
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