Senator Johnny Isakson (R., Ga.) announced Wednesday that he will resign at the end of the year due to persistent health issues.
“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,” Isakson said in a statement. “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, 74, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2013 and suffered a fall in July that left him with a torn rotator cuff and four fractured ribs. He underwent surgery on Monday to remove a renal-cell carcinoma from his kidney, according to local ABC affiliate WJCL.
After a more than 30-year career in real estate, Isakson became the only Georgia elected official to serve in the Georgia House, the Georgia Senate, the U.S. House, and the U.S. Senate. He currently chairs the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and the Senate Select Committee on Ethics.
Republican governor Brian Kemp will be tasked with appointing Isakson’s successor. The appointee will be required to run in a special election in 2020 and again in 2022, when Isakson’s term was set to expire.
Stacey Abrams, who was bested by Kemp in last year’s gubernatorial contest, announced Wednesday that she will continue her voter registration efforts rather than running for Isakson’s seat in 2020.
Senator David Perdue (R., Ga.) will also be running for reelection in 2020.