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

Former Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsLobbying world Sunday shows preview: Biden administration confronts inflation spike Jan. 6 panel weighs contempt charges for former Trump DOJ official Clark 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 WarnockWarnock: 'True justice' is a Black man not having to worry about being killed while jogging Parnell exit threatens to hurt Trump's political clout Cook Political Report shifts three Senate races toward Republicans 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 LoefflerSenate GOP worries Trump could derail bid for majority Perdue mulling primary challenge against Kemp in Georgia: report McConnell backs Herschel Walker in Georgia Senate race 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 TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves 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 KempAll 3 men in Arbery killing found guilty of murder Arbery jury asks to see videos, hear 911 call Arbery case goes to jury MORE in December. 

Trump repeatedly pressured Kemp and other Georgia GOP officials to challenge the election results in the state, which President BidenJoe BidenSouth Africa health minister calls travel bans over new COVID variant 'unjustified' Biden attends tree lighting ceremony after day out in Nantucket Senior US diplomat visiting Southeast Asia to 'reaffirm' relations MORE won. Biden was the first Democratic presidential nominee to win Georgia in 28 years.

Updated at 11 a.m.