Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) shocked the political world by announcing that he is planning on retiring at the end of the year. His last election was in 2016, meaning his term in the Senate was not to expire until January 2023. Unlike some, Isakson is not retiring because of President Donald Trump, but due to health problems that he says is preventing him from serving.
Isakson will turn 75 in late December, but he is considered by many as being a career politician and part of the Swamp. He was elected to the Georgia Senate in 1992 and served until January 1997, after winning the 1996 election for the US House of Representatives from Georgia’s 6th district (covering many of Atlanta’s northern suburbs. He served in the House until January 2005, when he won the Senate seat vacated by Democrat Zell Miller. He has served in the Senate ever since.
Democrats are salivating over the opportunity of reclaiming a valuable Senate seat formerly held by Miller. Currently, Republicans hold the majority in the Senate with 53 seats, to 45 seats held by Democrats, 2 seats held by Independents (1 of whom is running for the White House as a Democrat). While not giving Democrats a majority, it would put them 1 step closer to gaining control of the Senate in the 2020 election. If they can somehow secure Isakson’s seat, it would mean that they would only have to win 3 seats away from the Republicans in 2020 to gain control of the Senate.
So, what are the chances that Democrats could reclaim this important seat?
First, you need to know that Georgia’s other Senator, David Perdue, a Republican, is up for re-election in 2020. With 2 Senate seats available, Democrats are hoping to further narrow the Republican majority by winning both seats.
But again, what will happen when Isakson retires?
To begin with, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp will be tasked to appoint a replacement for Isakson. This replacement will serve in Isakson’s stead until a special election can be held with the 2020 general election, where an elected person will fill the remainder (2 years) of Isakson’s term.
It helps to know that Gov. Kemp is a Republican and will most likely appointment a fellow Republican to serve until the 2020 special election. Last year, Kemp won the election for governor by a very narrow margin over Democrat Stacey Abrams. In 2016, Trump took Georgia with only a 5% margin over Hillary Clinton.
Democrats are already at Kemp’s door, trying their best to convince him to appointing a Democrat to fill Isakson’s seat. They would love to see the ever popular Abrams to ascend to the US Senate.
If somehow Democrats could win both of Georgia’s seats in the US Senate, it would mean that they would only have to win just 2 other seats in the 2020 elections to take control of the Senate and become the proverbial burr under Trump’s saddle, providing he is re-elected, which I am certain he will be.
With Isakson’s announcement, Georgia has now become THE most important state for the 2020 elections and could well determine the direction of our nation until 2024.