Politics: U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson to resign on Dec. 31; cites mounting health issues. Kemp to appoint replacement. What’s next

Politics: U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson to resign on Dec. 31; cites mounting health issues. Kemp to appoint replacement. What’s next

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.



  • Kemp to appoint replacement to serve through Dec. 31, 2020.
  • AJC on who might run for Isakson’s seat in 2020 as the race will be different than most elections — all candidates will run in one race without a primary in November 2020, Democrat and Republican. A runoff would be held if needed. Senate
  • Our rant of the day on our newscast edition: Johnny Isakson, the state’s last real Republican. Click newscast


A stunner in the political world as Georgia’s senior U.S. senator announces he’ll resign from office on Dec. 31 with three years left in his term.

From U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.:

“After much prayer and consultation with my family and my doctors, I have made the very tough decision to leave the U.S. Senate at the end of this year. I have informed Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp today that I will resign my Senate seat effective Dec. 31, 2019.

“I am leaving a job I love because my health challenges are taking their toll on me, my family and my staff. My Parkinson’s has been progressing and I am continuing physical therapy to recover from a fall in July. In addition, this week I had surgery to remove a growth on my kidney.

“In my 40 years in elected office, I have always put my constituents and my state of Georgia first. With the mounting health challenges I am facing, I have concluded that I will not be able to do the job over the long term in the manner the citizens of Georgia deserve. It goes against every fiber of my being to leave in the middle of my Senate term, but I know it’s the right thing to do on behalf of my state.

“I look forward to returning to Washington on September 9 when the Senate goes back into session. And after December 31, I look forward to continuing to help the people of Georgia in any way I can and also helping those who are working toward a cure for Parkinson’s.”

Isakson’s Senate term ends in 2022, and there will be three years left in the term when he vacates the seat in December.

Isakson, 74, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2013. In July, Isakson fell in his D.C. apartment and suffered four fracture ribs and a torn rotator cuff. On Monday, Isakson underwent surgery at WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta to remove a 2-centimeter renal cell carcinoma from one of his kidneys.

 In 2016, Isakson won re-election with 54 percent of the vote and became the first Republican in Georgia to be elected to a third term in the U.S. Senate. After more than three decades in the real estate business, Isakson became the only elected official in Georgia to serve in the Georgia House, the Georgia Senate, the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate.

Sen. Isakson Letter to Gov. Kemp

From Gov. Brian Kemp: “No one embodies the heart and soul of Georgia more than Johnny Isakson. 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. Marty and I are forever grateful for the friendship that Johnny and Dianne have shown us over the years and wish them the very best in the years to come. I will appoint Senator Isakson’s replacement at the appropriate time.”

Said First Lady Marty Kemp: “Senator Isakson is a lifelong family friend, and we are deeply grateful for his dedicated service to our state and nation, including alongside my father in the Georgia General Assembly,” said First Lady Marty Kemp. “Georgia is incredibly blessed to have had Johnny on our side for all these years. Our family is praying for Johnny and Dianne as they embark on this new journey.”

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