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The News: Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson, a Republican from Cobb County, announced today he will be resigning from the U.S. Senate in December.
Significance: Isakson’s senate term is up in 2022, so this is not an announcement that he isn’t seeking reelection. Isakson’s resignation means he will be leaving his seat before his term is up.
Why did he resign?: In a letter to Gov. Brian Kemp, Isakson cited “health challenges” that he had been battling for several years. Isakson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2015.
What’s Next?: According to state law, an election must be held during the next general election cycle to fill the vacant seat. That election date would be Nov. 3, 2020, which lines up with the next presidential election. Once Isakson leaves office in December, the governor will appoint someone to fill the senate seat until the election is held. That appointee will have the advantage of being the incumbent if they choose to run in the 2020 election.
What Does Isakson Say?: In his letter, Isakson said he believed his decision was best for Georgians. “While it pains me greatly to leave in the middle of my term, I know it is the right thing to do for the citizens of Georgia,” he wrote.
What Are Other Officials Saying?: Brian Kemp weighed in on the resignation immediately after the announcement was made Wednesday morning. ““No one embodies the heart and soul of Georgia more than Johnny Isakson,” Kemp said. “Our state and country have been immeasurably blessed by his leadership in the Georgia General Assembly, U.S. House, and U.S. Senate. Senator Isakson’s list of accomplishments on behalf of the state that he loves is long and revered, but what Georgia should be most thankful for is the high standard that Johnny held as a true gentleman, a fighter for his constituents, a trusted advocate for our nation’s veterans, and one of the greatest statesmen to ever answer the call of service to our country.”
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms also spoke highly of Isakson. “Senator Isakson is a statesman and a man of principle, and it is an honor to call him a friend. His retirement is a great loss for the U.S. Senate and the people of this great state,” she said.
More About Johnny Isakson: In addition to serving in the senate, Isakson is also a veteran of the Georgia Air National Guard, former member of the State School Board, and a graduate of the University of Georgia. Isakson has served in the senate since 2005. Prior to that he represented the 6th District in the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2005.
Isakson’s resignation letter is below: