MARIETTA, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Following a series of health battles, Georgia's Senior U.S. Senator, Johnny Isakson, announced Wednesday he will step down from his senate seat at the end of the year.
The shocking announcement came in a news release, with Isakson saying "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."
His statement reads, “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.
“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."
“In my 40 years in elected office, I have always put my constituents and my state of Georgia first. 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. 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.
“I look forward to returning to Washington on September 9 when the Senate goes back into session. And after December 31, I look forward to continuing to help the people of Georgia in any way I can and also helping those who are working toward a cure for Parkinson’s.”
Isakson’s Senate term ends in 2022, and there will be three years left in the term when he vacates the seat in December.
Isakson, 74, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2013. In July, Isakson fell in his D.C. apartment and suffered four fracture ribs and a torn rotator cuff. On Monday, Isakson underwent surgery at WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta to remove a 2-centimeter renal cell carcinoma from one of his kidneys.
In 2016, Isakson won re-election with 54% of the vote and became the first Republican in Georgia to be elected to a third term in the U.S. Senate. After more than three decades in the real estate business, Isakson became the only elected official in Georgia to serve in the Georgia House, the Georgia Senate, the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate.
With the resignation, Governor Kemp would appoint a replacement for Isakson who would serve in the office until an election next November to serve out the remaining years of Isakson’s 2-year-term.
That will mean both of Georgia's U.S. Senate seats will be up for grabs in the November 2020 election.
This is a breaking story. Stay with FOX5Atlanta.com for more information.