Collins May Be Seeking Comeback

Posted July 16, 2007 at 6:06pm

Former Rep. Mac Collins (R-Ga.) loaned his campaign committee $130,000 at the end of last month, further fueling speculation that he will run again for the 8th district seat held by Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Ga.).

Collins, who lost to Marshall last year by fewer than 2,000 votes, has made clear he is considering running again. However, many observers have believed — or better yet hoped — that ultimately Collins would pass after seeing much of the state and national Republican establishment coalesce behind retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Rick Goddard (R), who already is in the race.

Goddard, on paper at least, appears to be the GOP’s dream candidate in a district that tilts heavily toward Republicans in national elections. Goddard has been recruited to run before, and party leaders were ecstatic when he decided to get in the race this time.

But if Collins were to enter the race, there is little doubt the move would cause a debilitating primary — one that would produce a battered and cash-strapped nominee.

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.) has said the committee will not intervene in primaries this cycle, a departure from the practices of previous chairmen.

Collins could not be reached for comment Monday.

Members of the Georgia Congressional delegation, as well as Republican leaders such as Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), have made clear it that Goddard is the GOP’s desired nominee.

Boehner hosted a fundraiser for Goddard in Washington, D.C., last month, which all of the Republican House Members from Georgia attended.

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.), who succeeded Collins in the House, already has hosted a fundraiser back in the state for Goddard, who reported raising $152,000 in a little less than a month prior to the June 30 reporting deadline.

Marshall, meanwhile, raised $301,000 in the second quarter, a larger-than-usual haul for the perennially targeted Congressman. He also showed $631,000 in the bank.

Collins raised $160,000 in the period and ended June with $135,000 on hand. Aside from the personal loan, the only other money the ex-lawmaker received in the second quarter was a $20,900 refund from the Republican National Committee and a $9,000 refund from his media consulting firm.

In February, Collins transferred $104,000 from his campaign committee to his Senate campaign fund, which still carries debt from his unsuccessful 2004 Senate primary bid, when he finished third in a race won by now-Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.). Collins then used the money he transferred into the Senate account to repay himself $105,000 in personal loans he made to that campaign.

In May, he transferred another $25,000 from his Congressional account to his Senate account, which listed $25,000 in remaining personal loan debt as of March 31.