WASHINGTON – Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer offered praise for Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia on Wednesday after Isakson announced that he will resign at the end of this year.
“One of the many fine adjectives to describe Johnny Isakson is a word not used enough in the halls of Congress these days: kind. Not only is Johnny a diligent and successful legislator, he is one of the kindest, most thoughtful senators. Independent of any party or politics, everyone will miss Johnny,” Schumer (N.Y.) said in a statement.
Isakson, 74, announced his intention to resign in a statement on Wednesday morning.
“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 cited health concerns as the reason for his resignation. He said his Parkinson’s disease “has been progressing.” He said he is undergoing physical therapy following a fall that occurred last month and also noted that earlier this week he underwent surgery to remove a growth from his kidney.
Isakson is known for his friendly demeanor. At the U.S. Capitol he is often seen in a wheelchair being escorted by staff or walking with the assistance of a cane.
Isakson has served in the upper chamber since 2005. He is chair of both the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and the Senate Ethics Committee.
Isakson’s term ends in 2022. A replacement will be appointed to occupy the seat from January 2020 until November of that year when a special election will be held for the remainder of the term.
Some pundits have predicted that defeated Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacy Abrams (D) may run for the seat. However, Abrams has said she is not interested in running for Senate. Last year Abrams lost the governor’s race to Republican Brian Kemp by less than two percentage points. Abrams would have been Georgia’s first black governor and the nation’s first black female governor.
Georgia is a Republican-leaning state where Democrats have made strong inroads due to northern migration to the Atlanta metropolitan area.