U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson announced Aug. 28 his retirement due to his deteriorating health (Isakson suffers from Parkinson’s disease) after serving three terms.

Two weeks have passed since the three-term U.S. Senator called it a career, Georgia governor Brian P. Kemp has a plethora of scenarios to consider as the respective political machines prepare for the 2020 gauntlet.

Candidates that could be named to Isakson’s seat are state attorney general Chris Carr (who previously served as Isakson’s Chief of Staff, Rep. Doug Collins, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, Tom Graves, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, Attorney General Chris Carr and U.S. Attorney BJay Pak and Georgia’s current lieutenant governor, Geoff Duncan.

Georgia is on the tipping point of becoming a purple state due to the growth of the state’s non-white population, coupled with U.S. Senator David Perdue running for re-election, 2020 is shaping up to be a pivotal election for Republicans and Democrats because of the following scenarios:

  1. Kemp’s appointment for Isakson’s seat will have to run for election in 2020 to serve out the final two years of Isakson’s term; without a party primary preceding it.
  2. If no candidate wins the majority of the vote in the special election, a Jan. 5, 2021 runoff election will take place.
  3. The winning candidate will run another election in 2022 for the full six-year U.S. Senate term.

After Monday’s proclamation by Stacey Abrams which gave the green light for progressives and all Democrats to treat Georgia as a battleground state in 2020, expect millions of dollars to be spent on these two seats.

“Democrats, let’s do better and go big,” Abrams wrote, arguing that her historic bid to be the first black female governor in U.S. history wasn’t the sole driver of her near-win. “I am not the only candidate who can create a coalition and a strategy to win this state.” She added that “any decision less than full investment in Georgia would amount to strategic malpractice” and argued that her 2018 coalition of nonwhites and whites from the cities and suburbs is the blueprint “to compete in the changing landscape of the Sun Belt.”

Speaking of Dems, the candidates that have formally announced their intentions to challenge Perdue are Clarkston mayor Ted Terry, businesswoman Sarah Riggs Amico (who previously ran for Lieutenant Governor in 2018 and was defeated by Republican Geoff Duncan), former congressional candidate Jon Ossoff (who became famous after challenging former U.S. Rep Karen Handel for Georgia’s sixth congressional district in 2017), and former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson.

“One of the things I learned from my race in ’17 is a fight well fought – even if you lose it – can be worth what you build in the process,” Ossoff said. “That’s how I look back on my race in 2017 and that’s certainly how I look at Stacey Abrams’ historic, extraordinary performance in 2018.”

During a recent town hall, the current U.S. Representative from Georgia’s Sixth District, Lucy McBath, did not rule out a bid for Perdue’s U.S. Senate seat. On Sept. 8, she told a crowd in Sandy Springs, “What I will tell you is that I’m invested in your future,” when asked about running for re-election.

Meanwhile, it is rumored Michelle Nunn, the Democrat that lost to David Perdue in 2014, State Senators Jen Jordan and Nikema Williams in addition to Dekalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston are considering jumping into the races.

“We are making sure the party infrastructure is strong for whoever runs. We are going to sit down with candidates to make sure they know what it takes to run,” said Williams, who serves as chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Georgia. “I want to make sure we’re set up for the best outcome for the party. What happens in Georgia will shape the 2020 election.”

From left to right: Teresa Tomlinson and Jon Ossoff are leading Georgia Democrats that have formally announced their intentions to run for U.S. Senator David Perdue’s seat and Johnny Isakson’s vacated seat. Photos: Associated Press. Graphic: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...

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