In less than two months, Georgia voters will decide whether U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler deserves a full six-year term. Her main Republican rival is U.S. Rep. Doug Collins of Gainesville, who’s hoping to unseat Gov. Brian Kemp’s appointee and secure a spot in a likely January runoff.
Collins hopped on a video call with the UGA College Republicans on Sept. 16, where he spent the bulk of his time calling out the “lies” told by Loeffler and fielding questions from students, which he said Loeffler is “afraid” to do.
“If I have something to say, I’m going to say it straight to the camera, unlike Sen. Loeffler, who chooses to use ads to do her bidding,” said Collins, who has spent far less on his campaign than the wealthy businesswoman. “There are some lies that have been told, mainly because, when you’re trying to hide something, that’s what you do.”
Both Collins and Loeffler have accused one another of not being a real conservative. Collins urged voters to look at his record. Or better yet, he told the students to ask prominent Democrats in the House of Representatives, like Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as they’ve had to “face me daily in doing battle against their liberal ideas.”
Collins also railed against Loeffler’s claim that he’s in cahoots with Democrats, mentioning one of her campaign ads that features a picture of Collins with Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate who ran against Kemp in 2018 and previously served with Collins in the Georgia House of Representatives. Bipartisanship is far more common in the Georgia General Assembly than in Congress, Collins said. And while they served in the Georgia House, Collins said Abrams went across the aisle and voted for conservative legislation.
“We need to work together and find real solutions for this country,” Collins said. “I’ll always do that without compromising my conservative background. I never have, I never will. If Democrats want to work with that, they can come to the table. But I’ll never sacrifice my conservative values simply to pass legislation.”
Collins then turned the tables and said Loeffler has donated to Democrats who support pro-abortion rights and anti-gun legislation. While Loeffler has made campaign contributions to Democrats, either directly or through the political action committee for Intercontinental Exchange—whose CEO is Loeffler’s husband, Jeff Sprecher—the overwhelming majority of her contributions went to Republicans.
In response to Loeffler’s attacks on his anti-abortion record, Collins said she’s trying to “smear” his “stellar history of life,” theorizing it’s to distract voters from an event in which the WNBA team she owns, the Atlanta Dream, supported Planned Parenthood two years ago.
In response to a student’s question, Collins said he believes students need to be on campus, albeit while social distancing with masks. He also said he’s concerned about the economy, as communities are too “scared” to reopen businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Collins and Loeffler are among 21 candidates vying for the seat Sen. Johnny Isakson resigned last January due to health concerns. All candidates will appear on a single ballot, which is known as a “jungle primary.” The most recent poll has Loeffler up five points over Collins, according to FiveThirtyEight.
A January 2021 runoff between one Republican and one Democrat is likely, Collins said. He said Democrats have told him they’d rather have Loeffler in the runoff, as “she’s very beatable in this process.”
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