By: New York Times
Senator Johnny Isakson, Republican of Georgia, announced on Wednesday that he will resign from his seat at the end of the year, citing health reasons for the decision.
Mr. Isakson cited the toll from a number of health complications, including the progression of his Parkinson’s disease, a fall last month and a surgery this week to remove a growth on his kidney, for “leaving a job I love” before the end of his term.
“It goes against every fiber of my being to leave in the middle of my Senate term,” Mr. Isakson said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that his “health challenges are taking their toll on me, my family and my staff.”
“But I know it’s the right thing to do on behalf of my state,” Mr. Isakson added.
Mr. Isakson, who won his third term in 2016, said he had already informed Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, of his decision to resign on December 31. He missed the last few votes before the August recess after falling in his Washington apartment and fracturing four ribs. Mr. Isakson said he intends to return to the Senate in September.
“No one is more respected by other members of the Senate than Johnny Isakson is,” said Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, in a statement. “I will miss his leadership and advice when he leaves the Senate.”
The Georgia Republican, who chairs both the Senate Select Committee on Ethics and the Veterans’ Affairs Committee,announced in 2015 that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease two years earlier, after visiting a neurologist about stiffness in his left arm.
Mr. Isakson’s Georgia colleague, Senator David Perdue, also a Republican, is up for reelection in 2020.
A spokesman for Stacey Abrams quickly tamped down speculation that the failed gubernatorial candidate and rising Democratic star, who previously passed on challenging Mr. Perdue, would run for the seat. “While she will not be a candidate herself, she is committed to helping Democratic candidates win both Senate races next year,” Seth Bringman, her spokesman, said.