ATLANTA (AP) — Former Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, a favorite of former President Donald Trump, says he doesn’t plan to run for governor or U.S. Senate in Georgia in 2022.
Collins’ announcement Monday makes it less likely there will be a top-drawer Republican primary challenger to Gov. Brian Kemp. In the separate U.S. Senate race, it could open the way for other Republicans who have been considering a run for the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, who will also be up for reelection in 2022.
Collins ran unsuccessfully for the seat Warnock ultimately won last year. He was Trump’s choice to succeed U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, who retired. But Kemp instead appointed business executive Kelly Loeffler.
Collins finished third in an all-party special election in November, with Loeffler and Warnock advancing to a January runoff that Warnock won. His victory, along with Democrat Jon Ossoff’s runoff victory over incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue tipped control of the Senate to Democrats.
Collins didn’t rule out a future run, saying he would continue “shaping our conservative message to help Republicans win back the House and the Senate and help more strong conservative candidates get elected here in Georgia.”
“For those who may wonder, this is goodbye for now, but probably not forever,” Collins wrote.
Former Democrat Vernon Jones and Appling County teacher Kandiss Taylor have announced Republican primary bids against Kemp. Navy veteran Latham Saddler and Cobb County contractor Kelvin King have announced Republican Senate bids, with U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter of Pooler acknowledging he’s considering it. Trump has been urging former University of Georgia football great Herschel Walker to run for Senate.