5 Republicans who could replace Isakson in Georgia's Senate race

5 Republicans who could replace Isakson in Georgia's Senate race

Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonMatt Lieberman faces calls to drop out of Georgia Senate race over 'racist and discriminatory' tropes in 2018 book Sabato's Crystal Ball shifts Iowa Senate race to 'toss-up,' Georgia toward GOP WNBA players wear 'Vote Warnock' shirts in support of Loeffler Democratic challenger MORE's (R-Ga.) upcoming departure from the Senate has sparked a behind-the-scenes scramble among Republicans hoping to be named as his replacement by GOP Gov. Brian Kemp (R). 

So far, Republicans have floated a handful of names, including Agriculture Secretary Sonny PerdueGeorge (Sonny) Ervin PerdueTrump's pitch to Maine lobstermen falls flat The ethanol industry is essential — it deserves a boost from Congress US trade policy milks America's dairy farmers MORE and Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsMatt Lieberman faces calls to drop out of Georgia Senate race over 'racist and discriminatory' tropes in 2018 book Sabato's Crystal Ball shifts Iowa Senate race to 'toss-up,' Georgia toward GOP Loeffler knocks WNBA players for wearing shirts backing Democratic challenger MORE, to replace Isakson when he steps down at the end of the year because of health reasons.

Whoever Kemp picks would run in a special election during the next regularly scheduled election in November 2020, meaning Georgia voters will cast ballots for both of the state's Senate seats next year given that Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) is up for reelection.

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Here are 5 Republicans seen as leading contenders to replace Isakson – and a handful of others who are also believed to be possibilities.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr 

Carr was first appointed to the job by former Republican Gov. Nathan Deal in 2016 to fill a vacancy. He then won election by narrowly defeating Democrat Charlie Bailey by 2.5 points in 2018. 

Carr served as Isakson’s senatorial campaign manager in 2003.  He went on to work as the senator’s chief of staff until 2013, when then-Gov. Deal appointed him commissioner of the Department of Economic Development. 

Rep. Doug Collins

Collins was reelected to his third term representing the state's 9th District in 2018 with more than 79 percent of the vote. He serves as the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee and has been a staunch defender of President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE.

Before serving in Congress, Collins was a member of the Georgia House of Representatives and spent 11 years as a pastor in Chicopee Baptist Church. 

Rep. Tom GravesJohn (Tom) Thomas GravesStates begin removing Capitol's Confederate statues on their own House holds moment of silence for John Lewis QAnon scores wins, creating GOP problem MORE

Graves was elected to Congress in 2010 as part of the Tea Party wave that arrived to Congress during then-President Obama’s first term. He won reelection in 2018 representing Georgia's 14th District with more than 76 percent of the vote. 

He had previously served in the Georgia House of Representatives since 2003. Before entering public service, Graves owned a landscaping business and worked as a real estate investor.

He first considered running for office after news broke that an abortion clinic was opening nearby and Graves helped form a “peaceful, pro-life” organization, according to his House biography.  

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue

Perdue, President Trump's Agriculture Secretary since 2017, was the first Republican to be elected as Georgia’s governor since Reconstruction.

He served two terms as Georgia governor after ousting Democratic incumbent Roy Barnes in 2002.

Perdue is the cousin of Georgia’s other senator, David Perdue. He has been touring farmer’s conventions in recent weeks to assuage anger over the Trump administration’s trade war with China.

Rep. Austin ScottJames (Austin) Austin ScottLobbying world Lawmakers warn Pentagon against reduction of US forces in Africa 5 Republicans who could replace Isakson in Georgia's Senate race MORE

Scott ousted Democratic incumbent Rep. Jim Marshall in 2010 also while running as a Tea Party member. He ran unopposed in 2018 when he was elected to his fourth term. 

He represents Georgia's 8th District, a heavily rural area that runs between Atlanta suburbs and the Florida border. 

Before he was elected to Congress, Scott served in the Georgia House of Representatives. He was first elected at age 26. 

 

OTHER POSSIBLE PICKS

Nick Ayers

Ayers, a longtime Republican strategist and former chief of staff to Vice President Pence was immediately seen as a potential replacement but he told The Hill he is not interested in returning to Washington, D.C. 

Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan

Duncan is a former baseball player who retired after an injury. He served in the Georgia House of Representatives before his election as lieutenant governor in 2018.  State Republicans cautioned that Duncan has never shown interest in serving in Washington.

Rep. Drew FergusonAnderson (Drew) Drew FergusonThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Fauci says focus should be on pausing reopenings rather than reverting to shutdowns; WHO director pleads for international unity in pandemic response Trump campaign launches new fundraising program with House Republicans Top Georgia Republican endorses Doug Collins Senate bid MORE 

Ferguson served as mayor of West Point, Ga., before his 2018 election to Congress. He won with more than 65 percent of the vote. 

Former Rep. Karen HandelKaren Christine HandelThe Hill's Campaign Report: Even the Post Office is political now | Primary action tonight | Super PACS at war NRCC poll finds McBath ahead of Handel in Georgia PPP poll finds Biden leading in Georgia MORE

Handel lost her seat to Democrat Lucy McBathLucia (Lucy) Kay McBathRepublicans uncomfortably playing defense The Hill's Campaign Report: Even the Post Office is political now | Primary action tonight | Super PACS at war NRCC poll finds McBath ahead of Handel in Georgia MORE in the 2018 election but has announced she plans to run again for her old seat in 2020. 

Georgia House Speaker Pro Tempore Jan Jones

First elected to serve in 2002 representing the suburbs in northern Atlanta, Jones is the first woman to serve as Speaker Pro Tempore in the state.

Former Rep. Jack KingstonJohon (Jack) Heddens KingstonLobbying firm cuts ties to Trent Lott amid national anti-racism protests Thankfully, the doctor is in Ex-Trump campaign adviser: Biden would be able to 'sit down and get some things done' with Republicans MORE 

Kingston served in Congress from 1993 to 2015. He ran for Senate in 2014 and lost the primary in a runoff to Sen. David Purdue. 

Kelly Loeffler

After weighing a Senate bid in 2013, the co-owner of WNBA’s Atlanta Dream decided not to run for the seat. 

State Sen. President Pro Tempore Butch Miller

Miller represents a district north and east of Atlanta, and was first elected in 2010. He is a car dealership owner.

U.S. Attorney BJay Pak

Pak served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2011 to 2017 and did not seek reelection in 2016.