ATLANTA — Former Congressman Doug Collins announced Monday that he will not run for office in 2022 -- silencing the rumors that he could possibly challenge fellow Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in a primary or go after Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock's seat.
Collins gave up his seat in Congress, where he served in the 9th district, to run in the special election for then Sen. Kelly Loeffler's seat.
Collins backed Kemp's successful run for governor in 2018, but when Kemp bypassed Collins and appointed Loeffler, a GOP megadonor, to fill Sen. Johnny Isakson's unexpired term, Collins challenged Loeffler (and about 20 other candidates) in a so-called "jungle primary" special election.
Collins finished third behind Warnock and Loeffler.
"It has been a joy to serve in both the Georgia Legislature and the United States Congress," Collins said on Twitter.
He may not be gone for good, though.
"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 Senate and help more strong conservative candidates get elected here in Georgia."
Collins started a radio talk show last month, which many believed gave him a platform to become a likely GOP frontrunner if he decided to challenge Warnock, who faces re-election to a full six-year term next year.
A close ally to former President Donald Trump, Collins told 11Alive that he has spoken to the former President and said their conversations have been "encouraging" in reference to a possible run at governor.
Collins gained a national following during Trump's impeachment, when the Gainesville congressman was the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee and a vocal defender of the embattled GOP president.
The Doug Collins Show combines his array of personas – lawyer, Baptist preacher, Air Force lieutenant colonel -- and at least for now, former politician.
"In radio and being syndicated in Georgia and in Virginia and online – it gives me a chance to – and others to listen – in non-soundbites. It gives us a chance to talk in longer term," Collins told 11Alive in an interview.