KEY POINTS

  • Trump ally Rep. Collins will run for a senate seat from Georgia this fall
  • Republican groups have condemned Collins, worrying it will split the party
  • Democrats have said they hope the in-fighting will benefit their candidate

Rep. Doug Collins, R.-Ga., said he plans to make a bid for a seat in the U.S. Senate in Georgia this fall. The announcement was quickly met with condemnation from several Republican groups, though, as this means Collins will be to challenging Sen. Kelly Loeffer, R-Ga., for the seat and could split the party.

Collins has been a key ally to President Donald Trump since the beginning of the impeachment process, having defended the president in the House during its inquiry late last year.

After making his announcement on Fox News’ "Fox & Friends" on Wednesday, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, or NRSC, had only harsh words for Collins. In a press release, the NRSC Executive Director Kevin McLaughlin wrote that “the shortsightedness in this decision is stunning” and is an act of “selfishness” by Collins that will only serve to harm Georgia Republicans and the president. McLaughlin said his group will continue to support Loeffer.

Last year, the seat was vacated by Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., which was then filled in December after Republican Gov. Brian Kemp chose to appoint Loeffler, passing over Collins. At the time, Trump had endorsed Collins to replace Isakson.

Conservative super PAC Senate Leadership Fund also blasted Collins, describing his bid for the Senate seat as “selfish” and only aimed at “promoting himself when President Trump needs a unified team.” In their statement, they wrote that his campaign will hurt both Loeffler and incumbent Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., and the Republicans’ chances at keeping both seats.

Democrats in Georgia aren’t as troubled over Collins’ Senate ambitions, though. A spokesperson for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said, “Republicans believed they could take this state for granted, but not anymore” as it could well mean an “expensive, protracted brawl” between the Republican candidates.

Democrats are seeking to flip seats in the Senate this fall in the hopes of reclaiming the majority, and they need only four. The Georgia seat and the coming in-fighting among Republicans may present an enticing opening for Democrats to exploit. Democrats, however, have yet to put forth their Senate hopefuls, as no one in the party has yet thrown their hat in the ring.

Georgia lawmaker Doug Collins, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, accused Democrats of seeking to impeach President Donald Trump on the basis of "disputed facts Georgia lawmaker Doug Collins, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, accused Democrats of seeking to impeach President Donald Trump on the basis of "disputed facts" Photo: AFP / Olivier Douliery