Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (D) hopes the Democratic presidential nominee can compete for Georgia in 2016 — but he doesn't think his party has the same chance against Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohn (Johnny) Hardy IsaksonSenate ethics panel wants details on sexual harassment allegations Senate leaders push tax debate into Friday Senate Ethics Committee opens 'preliminary inquiry' into Franken allegations MORE (R-Ga.).

"I think 2016 will be very difficult to attract one of the leading Democrats to take on Sen. Isakson because of the reputation that he has in the state and the affection folks have for him," Reed, a rising star in Georgia politics, tells The Associated Press. "I would not run against him."

Isakson has already announced his bid for reelection with a show of force from dozens of GOP elected officials — a move apparently intended to scare off any primary challenge. He has also won both of his previous Senate bids by comfortable margins. Strategists in both parties say he's likely Georgia's most popular politician and would be all but impossible to defeat this election cycle.

Reed says, however, that he hopes Democrats can compete for Georgia at the presidential level. Strong Democratic candidates fell short in the state's gubernatorial race and an open-seat Senate bid this cycle, but he thinks Georgia's fast-shifting demographics could help his party in spite of those disappointing results.

"There is no path mathematically for Republicans if they lose Georgia," Reed said.