Doug Collins Visits Vidalia On Campaign Swing Through South Georgia
U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, RLaGrange, stopped in Vidalia last week as his senatorial campaign swung through South Georgia. He addressed a combined group of the Vidalia Kiwanis, Rotary and Lions clubs at the city’s community center. Later that day, he attended a privately-sponsored meet and greet event at the Pal Theater in downtown Vidalia.
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Collins was given a standing ovation as he took the podium at the Kiwanis Club luncheon meeting. He was introduced by Sen. Blake Tillery, D-19, who referenced Collins’ consistent support of the President and “our conservative ideals.”
Collins has served in elected office since 2007, first in the Georgia House for three terms and from 2013 until now as a representative of the 9th Congressional District. It is in this role that he became one of President Trump’s staunchest defenders. Collins was a familiar face on TV as the top-ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee during the televised impeachment investigation.
Collins opted not to seek reelection to his District 9 post and is instead seeking the seat left vacant with the resignation of long-time congressional representative Johnny Isakson in December 2019. A special election will be held on November 3 and features 19 other candidates, including Collins’ most prominent Republican opposition, wealthy Buckhead businesswoman Kelly Loeffler.
In commenting on his tenure in the U.S. House, the first part of which was served under the Obama administration with the latter part served under the Trump administration, Collins noted, “It is interesting how different the first half of my time in Washington was from the last half.” He referenced the months spent on issues that delayed legislators in accomplishing their duties. “I believe you are actually elected to legislate, to actually get something done, and to move the ball.” He urged, “Find some common ground whether you agree or disagree. I will never back up on being conservative, but I will always be willing to look across the table and ask if we can find common ground.” He added, “There is a political price for reaching across the aisle, but that does not mean that you should not do it,” he said, noting that in Washington 89% to 90% of the voting is completely along party lines.
When asked about his stand on term limits, Collins said, “It is the embedded staff and bureaucracy that has to be changed. These folks think they run the government even though they are not elected.” Collins said, “You could change everyone of us (Congress) every four years but it won’t get better unless you change the whole culture of why we’re there.” Collins referenced the last 19 months he has been dealing with 15-term Congressman Jerry Nadler, who is chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary on which Collins sits. “From January 3 until now, the only thing Jerry Nadler and (Speaker Nancy) Pelosi were willing to do is talk about the November 3 election. When you start off with the premise that someone has done something wrong, nothing else matters. I have watched it up close and personal. It took us away from doing what we needed to do.” He said he has been asked whether Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler “are really that way off camera? Yes. Schiff can’t spell truth much less tell it. He has a problem there. It has divided us in ways that are very detrimental.”
Collins said that on January 19, 2020, the big story across America was The (Robert) Mueller Report. “When it came out, it was going to be the be-all and end-all, but when it came out it was frankly nothing. No collusion no obstruction.”
He said of the famous April 21 phone call between President Trump and the then Ukranian Presidentelect that caused such an uproar, “We went through the longest three months parsing a phone conversation. We ended up spending the rest of the year not doing what America called us to do.”
He noted, “The President was never afforded an adequate defense; that is more than true. They never wanted to hear the other side. They had an agenda and the calendar became the master. It was not about finding real result” but running out the clock ahead of Election Day.
The actions in Congress set a dangerous precedent. “If you could impeach someone over this, all we would do in Congress is impeach people for political beliefs that we don’t like.” He added, “What are the lessons we learned? Speaker Pelosi won’t call us back in and here we are waiting for Election Day.”
He called on Americans to get out and go back to work as safely as possible despite the pandemic. “Our economy needs you.” He said that some people think America is no longer the shining city on the hill and the country is in a sunset mentality where the focus is on “what could have been, should have been, might have been.” He advocated a sunrise outlook. “This is the attitude I would encourage you to bring to the table every time you sit in a chair to represent the people who put you there,” he said to the politicians in the room. “There is still potential, still a future, still things that matter. We can be better than we are.”
While Collins’ relationship with the President made him a popular choice among conservatives once Isakson announced his retirement on December 31, 2019, Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Loeffler to fill Isakson’s unexpired term from January 6, 2020 until the special election.
With 19 candidates on the ballot and no primaries to filter out nominees, if no one gets a majority of the vote, the two top finishers will face each other in a January runoff. Because of the dynamics, it means there’s likely to be one Republican and one Democrat in a January matchup.
Polls have shown Collins and Loeffler in a close race. Raphael Warnock, the establishment-backed Democrat, faces competition from educator Matt Lieberman and former federal prosecutor Ed Tarver. Answering a question about why is this election being conducted sans the primary process, Collins said, “The governor chose to do this. We could have done it with primary process. lt would look more normal and it would have pared down (the field). There will be a runoff.”