Georgia has two U.S. Senate elections in November—and three serious Republican candidates, leading to some angst for their party. Sen. David Perdue is running for re-election, while appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Rep. Doug Collins will be facing off in a special election. The big concern for Republicans is that the special election won’t have primaries. All of the candidates will compete in November, and if no one gets more than 50% of the vote, the election will go to a runoff in January, with Republicans worried that Loeffler and Collins could provide an opening for Democrats by splitting the vote.
Collins was a major presence in the Republican fight against the House impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump, but that isn’t preventing the Republican establishment from going all-out against him. “Collins is everything Georgians hate about Washington,” according to the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s executive director. “He is a swamp creature that claims to be conservative. ... Now, having made an emotional, ill-informed and selfish decision, he finds himself at a crossroads. Republicans who are working to reelect President Trump and retain the Senate majority hope he has a moment of clarity, does the right thing and walks away from this poor decision. Otherwise, voters will make it for him.”
With the NRSC—and the Trump campaign—pressuring consultants and vendors not to work for Collins, his spokesman said, “we are forming a group of grizzled freedom fighters taking on the establishment.” The Collins campaign also accused Loeffler of being a “Romney Republican,” which is actually fair, since part of how she bought her way onto the list of people who might be appointed to a Senate seat was by giving a lot of money to a Romney-backing super PAC in 2012.
So Collins and Loeffler will be duking it out over who is the true conservative, while Loeffler’s establishment supporters work to strategically erase all of the question marks the far right might have about her, like that past Romney support. Perdue and his allies, meanwhile, are worried that the Loeffler-Collins fight might divide Republicans enough to weaken Perdue himself. We can hope …
Georgia is going to be lit this year, with these Senate races, several competitive House races, and the Democrat presidential nominee likely making a play for the state.