Georgia Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson announced Wednesday that he’ll be stepping down from his office at the end of the year due to health concerns.
URGENT — Sen Johnny Isakson R-GA to resign at the end of 2019
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) August 28, 2019
“I am leaving a job I love because my health challenges are taking their toll on me, my family and my staff,” Isakson said in a statement, according to CNN.
“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.”
Those “health challenges” include a growth on his kidney that Isakson recently had surgery to remove, a July fall that led to four fractured ribs and the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
“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,” he said.
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
“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,” Isakson added on Twitter.
As CNBC noted, Isakson has represented Georgia in the Senate since 2005.
He currently serves as the chairman of both the Senate Ethics and Veterans Affairs committees.
Isakson, who was most recently re-elected in 2016, is not up for re-election again until 2022.
But his looming retirement means there will be a special election to determine who will serve out the remainder of his term in November 2020.
In the meantime, Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp will get to appoint a temporary replacement who will serve until then.
Both Georgia Senate seats are now up for grabs in 2020.
According to the New York Post, three Democrats are already looking to challenge GOP. Sen David Perdue, who holds the other seat.
There was immediate speculation following Isakson’s retirement announcement that failed Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams might run for his seat next November.
But a spokesman for Abrams said she has no plans to do so.
“Our thoughts are with Senator Isakson and his family. Leader Abrams’ focus will not change: she will lead voter protection efforts in key states across the country, and make sure Democrats are successful in Georgia in 2020,” the spokesman said.
Statement from my spokesman: pic.twitter.com/0smIAb5ptA
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) August 28, 2019
“While she will not be a candidate herself, she is committed to helping Democratic candidates win both Senate races next year.”
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