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Former Rep. Doug Collins won't enter Georgia Senate race

Former Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsGeorgia agriculture commissioner launches Senate campaign against Warnock Poll shows tight GOP primary for Georgia governor The Hill's Morning Report - Census winners and losers; House GOP huddles MORE (R-Ga.) said Monday that he won't be running for any office this election cycle, ending speculation that he could mount another Senate bid after falling short in 2020.

Collins likely would have been the most prominent Republican to challenge Sen. Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockWhy the Democrats need Joe Manchin Bipartisan senators introduce bill to protect small businesses from cyberattacks MLB calls lawsuit over All-Star Game 'political theatrics' MORE (D-Ga.) had he chosen to run in the 2022 midterm cycle.

"I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for any office in the next election cycle," Collins said in a statement posted to social media.

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But Collins indicated he doesn't plan to leave politics altogether at this point.

"For those who may wonder, this is goodbye for now, but probably not forever. I do plan on staying involved in 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," Collins said.

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Collins fell short in his Senate campaign last year, coming in third place in the all-party primary behind Warnock and former Sen. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerHerschel Walker skips Georgia's GOP convention Georgia agriculture commissioner launches Senate campaign against Warnock 9 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2022 MORE (R-Ga.). Warnock went on to defeat Loeffler in one of two runoff elections that put both of Georgia's Senate seats in Democratic hands.

Before running for Senate, Collins served as the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee during former President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden prepares to confront Putin Biden aims to bolster troubled Turkey ties in first Erdoğan meeting Senate investigation of insurrection falls short MORE's first impeachment.

Georgia, a traditionally red state that went blue in 2020 for the first time in decades, is a focus for Republicans heading into 2022.

One poll conducted last month found that Collins had the most support for a Senate campaign among three potential rivals. Collins polled at 35 percent, over former NFL and University of Georgia running back Herschel Walker's 27 percent, Loeffler's 22 percent and Rep. Marjorie Taylor GreeneMarjorie Taylor GreeneGOP efforts to downplay danger of Capitol riot increase The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene says she's meeting with Trump 'soon' in Florida MORE's (R-Ga.) 7 percent. 

Warnock will be up for reelection again next year in a closely-watched race that will likely determine which party controls what's currently an evenly divided Senate.

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Trump also floated Collins as a potential GOP challenger against Georgia Gov. Brian KempBrian KempNorth Carolina county reverses course, ends coke machine ban MLB All-Star game to stay in Denver, judge rules MLB calls lawsuit over All-Star Game 'political theatrics' MORE in December. 

Trump repeatedly pressured Kemp and other Georgia GOP officials to challenge the election results in the state, which President BidenJoe BidenBiden prepares to confront Putin Ukrainian president thanks G-7 nations for statement of support Biden aims to bolster troubled Turkey ties in first Erdoğan meeting MORE won. Biden was the first Democratic presidential nominee to win Georgia in 28 years.

Updated at 11 a.m.