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Former U.S. Rep. Doug Collins' radio show adds to 2022 election intrigue

Ex-congressman on-air this week as he weighs options

CLARKESVILLE, Ga. — Former Georgia Congressman Doug Collins launched a radio talk show this week, giving the likely 2022 candidate a platform that keeps him in the political game after his loss last November in the U.S. Senate race.

Collins would become a GOP frontrunner if he decides to challenge Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Georgia), who faces voters again next year.

Collins is also pondering a primary challenge to Gov. Brian Kemp, and would likely have the backing of former President Donald Trump, if he so chooses. Collins said he has spoken with Trump this year, and said their conversations have been "encouraging."

But in the meantime, Collins is practicing law at a firm in Clarkesville. And he now hosts "the Doug Collins Show" on a modest radio syndicate of five stations, including the recently-sold WMLB-AM in Atlanta.

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.

RELATED: Georgia Congressman Doug Collins named as part of Trump's trial defense team

Collins said the radio show gives him freedom to say what he wants and to keep it in context.  

"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. 

The Doug Collins Show combines his array of personas – lawyer, Baptist preacher, Air Force lieutenant colonel -- and at least for now, former politician.

Collins has a one-hour daily show that originates from a makeshift studio at his law office in Clarkesville. It may be a stopgap before he resurfaces to run for governor or the U.S. Senate next year. He hasn’t decided yet.

"There's a desire (among backers) to see that, so I think later this year you’ll definitely see it. And we’ve had conversations on the positive and negatives of" running for office again, Collins said.

Credit: WXIA

His one-time rival, former U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler has opted to stay visible by starting a conservative think tank. In addition to Loeffler, former football player Herschel Walker are among those reportedly pondering challenges to Warnock.

Collins may be taking his cue from former Vice President Mike Pence, who once had a radio show in Indiana.

Absent a career-ending on-air gaffe, the radio show can only help him says Republican consultant Brian Robinson. 

"It keeps him in the policy realm, it keeps him engaged. It makes people call him as opposed to him having to call them (for campaign donations)," Robinson said. "And allows him to say whatever he wants to say."

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.

While Trump blamed Kemp for failing to intervene in the Georgia vote count in 2020, Collins has remained on good terms with the former president. If Collins runs against Kemp, Trump would likely back the former congressman.

Collins said he'll decide before the end of this year whether to run in 2022.

    

 

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