MARIETTA, Ga. (CBS46) – Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) announced Wednesday that he will resign his U.S. Senate seat at the end of 2019.
The senator said in a statement:
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 Governor Brian Kemp today that I will resign my Senate seat effective December 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.
Isakson sent a letter to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, announcing his resignation. Read that letter here.
After much prayer and consultation with my family and doctors, I have made the very tough decision to leave the U.S. Senate at the end of 2019. It has been the honor of a lifetime serving the state of Georgia. This decision pains me greatly but I know it is the right thing to do.— Johnny Isakson (@SenatorIsakson) August 28, 2019
Isakson, 74, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2013. In July, he fell in his D.C. apartment and suffered four fractured ribs and a torn rotator cuff.
The senator recently underwent surgery at WellStar Kennestone Hospital to remove a renal cell carcinoma from one of his kidneys.
Governor Kemp released a statement about Isakson's resignation that reads in part:
No one embodies the heart and soul of Georgia more than Johnny Isakson," said Governor Kemp. "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.
Isakson’s Senate term ends in 2022, and there will be three years left in the term when he vacates the seat in December.
Georgia state law states that Governor Kemp will select a temporary replacement to Isakson who will hold the seat until next year. At that point, Georgia state law requires a special election be held for the remaining two years of Isakson's term.
That means in 2020, both U.S. Senate seats in Georgia will be up for grabs in the general election.
Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for Georgia governor in 2018, issued this statement on Isakson's resignation and also said she will not be seeking his seat in 2020.
Statement from my spokesman: pic.twitter.com/0smIAb5ptA— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) August 28, 2019