Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson resigns, citing ‘health challenges’

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Yet another top Republican lawmaker has announced that he’s calling it quits.

Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson revealed on Wednesday that due to his worsening case of Parkinson’s disease and other ongoing health issues, he will be resigning from his seat in the Senate at the end of the year, the Daily Caller reports.

“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,” Isakson said in a statement released by his office. “I have informed Georgia Governor Brian Kemp today that I will resign my Senate seat effective Dec. 31, 2019.”

The senator explained: “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.”

“Mounting health challenges”

The 74-year-old was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2013, according to his office’s release. In addition, the senator suffered a fall in his Washington apartment in July that resulted in four fractured ribs and a torn rotator cuff.

Isakson also underwent surgery on Monday to remove a small carcinoma cell from one of his kidneys at a hospital near his home in Georgia, according to the senator’s statement.

“In my 40 years in elected office, I have always put my constituents and my state of Georgia first,” Isakson said of his departure. “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.”

He went on to say that “it goes against every fiber of my being to leave in the middle of my Senate term,” but, he says, “I know it’s the right thing to do on behalf of my state.”

Isakson said he looks forward to serving out the remainder of the year in the Senate and vowed to continue to aid the people of Georgia upon his return home “in any way [he] can.” He also said he wants to help “those who are working toward a cure for Parkinson’s.”

Looking forward

Sen. Isakson was re-elected to a third term in 2016 with 54% of the vote — the first Republican senator in the state to achieve a third term. He is also the only elected official ever from Georgia to have served in both the House and the Senate at both the state and federal level.

Given that his term in office doesn’t end until after the 2022 election, there will be a full three years remaining in the senator’s term when he exits office on Dec. 31.

The Daily Caller reported that Gov. Kemp will be tasked with appointing a replacement for Isakson, who will then have to run for the office in 2020 for the right to serve the remainder of Isakson’s term. If that appointee wins in 2020, they would then have to run again in 2022 to win a full term of their own.

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