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Senate GOP campaign arm rips Collins as selfish for entering Georgia race

The campaign arm for Senate Republicans on Wednesday slammed Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsMajority say they want GOP in control of Senate: poll The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump, Biden clash over transition holdup, pandemic plans Georgia secretary of state says wife has received threatening texts about recount MORE (R-Ga.) for launching a primary challenge against newly appointed GOP Sen. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerTrump set for precedent-breaking lame-duck period Feinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight House Democrat accuses Air Force of attempting to influence Georgia runoff races MORE.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) said they support Loeffler in the race and accused Collins of making it more difficult for Republicans to win across Georgia, including President TrumpDonald John TrumpVenezuela judge orders prison time for 6 American oil executives Trump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE in the 2020 presidential election.

“The shortsightedness in this decision is stunning,” NRSC Executive Director Kevin McLaughlin said in a statement, shortly after Collins’s official announcement he would run for the seat.

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“Doug Collins’ selfishness will hurt [Sen.] David Perdue, Kelly Loeffler, and President Trump. Not to mention the people of Georgia who stand to bear the burden of it for years to come. All he has done is put two senate seats, multiple house seats, and Georgia’s 16 electoral votes in play,” he added. 

Collins, one of Trump’s closest House allies, had sought an appointment to the seat vacated by Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonOssoff, Warnock to knock on doors in runoff campaigns Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff Democrats press Facebook, Twitter on misinformation efforts ahead of Georgia runoff MORE (R-Ga.) in December. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) instead appointed Loeffler, a wealthy finance executive and GOP mega-donor, on Dec. 4, and she was sworn in earlier this month. 

“The NRSC stands firmly behind Sen. Kelly Loeffler and urges anyone who wants to re-elect President Trump, hold the GOP senate majority, and stop socialism to do the same,” McLaughlin said. 

The Senate Leadership Fund (SLF), a super PAC aimed at expanding the GOP Senate majority, similarly slammed Collins for entering the race and backed Loeffler.

“It’s so selfish of Doug Collins to be promoting himself when President Trump needs a unified team and Senator Loeffler is such a warrior for the President,” SLF President Steven Law said in a statement. “As we’ve said before, Senator Loeffler is an outsider like Trump, not just another D.C. politician. We’ll have her back if she needs us.”

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The Cook Political Report rates the Georgia Senate race as “likely Republican,” but Collins’s challenge could give Democrats an advantage as it sets up a campaign in which the two Republicans could spend millions of dollars targeting each other.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) quickly celebrated the idea of an “expensive, protracted brawl” between the GOP candidates.

“At the start of this election cycle, Republicans believed they could take this state for granted, but not anymore,” DSCC spokeswoman Helena Kalla said in a statement released after Collins's announcement.

The intraparty contest will “force unelected mega-donor Senator Loeffler and Trump ally Congressman Collins into a race to the right that reveals just how out-of-touch both are with Georgia voters,” Kalla added. 

Georgia will hold a special jungle primary election on Nov. 3. The top two performers, regardless of party, will face off in a run-off election. Collins and his allies, however, are pushing for a change to state election law to create a more traditional primary in May.

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In announcing his campaign, Collins said he gave “serious deliberation” about the role he should serve to “best benefit [Georgia], the country and Donald Trump.” 

A spokesperson for Collins was not immediately available for comment in response to the NRSC.

Updated at 9:24 a.m.