Though Trump has lavished praise on both rivals since Loeffler took office, Collins has aggressively tried to position himself as the most loyal ally to the president ahead of the November special election.
That contest will feature Loeffler, Collins and 19 other contenders on the same ballot, a vote that will almost certainly result in a January runoff between the two top finishers. Several Democrats are running, including entrepreneur Matt Lieberman, former U.S. Attorney Ed Tarver and the Rev. Raphael Warnock of Ebenezer Baptist Church.
The governor has tried to rally the party's establishment around Loeffler, who quickly nabbed support from Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich. She also has the backing of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and several local conservative groups.
Collins, a favorite of the party’s grassroots base, can count on implicit help from House Speaker David Ralston, a longtime friend who has not formally endorsed anyone in the race.
But Ferguson's support makes him the first Georgia GOP congressman to publicly pick sides in a race that's divided state Republicans even as U.S. Sen. David Perdue, also on the November ballot, avoided a primary opponent. <br/>
A former West Point mayor, Ferguson has quickly moved up the U.S. House ranks since his 2016 election and is now the chamber’s chief deputy whip. He’s also long been an ally to Collins, whom he called Trump’s “No. 1 defender.”
“We knew with absolute certainty where Doug stood from day one, and we know with the same certainty where he will stand in the future,” Ferguson said. “That certainty is critical in these challenging times.”