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 IsaksonMcBath passes on running for Senate Here are the lawmakers who aren't seeking reelection in 2020 GOP senator presses VA after veteran reportedly bitten by ants at nursing home 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 PerdueLawmakers run into major speed bumps on spending bills Media and candidates should be ashamed that they don't talk about obesity Overnight Energy: Trump to revoke California's tailpipe waiver | Democrats propose bill to revoke Trump endangered species rollback | Trump officials finalize rule allowing fewer inspectors at pork plants MORE and Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsMcBath passes on running for Senate Leaders of House antitrust investigation to meet with Zuckerberg GOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan 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 TrumpMarine unit in Florida reportedly pushing to hold annual ball at Trump property Giuliani clashes with CNN's Cuomo, calls him a 'sellout' and the 'enemy' Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it 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 GravesModernize Congress to make it work for the people 5 Republicans who could replace Isakson in Georgia's Senate race The Hill's Morning Report - Gillibrand drops out as number of debaters shrinks 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 Scott5 Republicans who could replace Isakson in Georgia's Senate race Georgia GOP abuzz about Senate vacancy House approves much-delayed .1B disaster aid bill 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. 

 

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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 Ferguson5 Republicans who could replace Isakson in Georgia's Senate race Amazon's Ring doorbell-camera firm partners with over 400 police forces to share surveillance: report GOP lawmaker under fire for displaying 'racially offensive' book passage in office 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 HandelMcBath passes on running for Senate GOP buys JonOssoff.com after Democrat launches Georgia Senate bid Jon Ossoff launching Georgia Senate campaign MORE

Handel lost her seat to Democrat Lucy McBathLucia (Lucy) Kay McBathMcBath passes on running for Senate Gun epidemic is personal for lawmakers touched by violence House panel advances anti-gun violence legislation 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 Kingston5 Republicans who could replace Isakson in Georgia's Senate race Why don't we pay congressional salary based on results? Panel: Why is Tom Steyer running for President? 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.