McBath passes on running for Senate

McBath passes on running for Senate
© Greg Nash

Rep. Lucy McBathLucia (Lucy) Kay McBathThe most expensive congressional races of the last decade How the 31 Democrats in Trump districts voted on impeachment Vulnerable Democrats signal support for impeachment articles this week MORE (D-Ga.) says she won't run for the Senate seat held by Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonOvernight Health Care: New drug price hikes set stage for 2020 fight | Conservative group to spend M attacking Pelosi drug plan | Study finds Medicaid expansion improved health in Southern states New Georgia senator takes spot on health committee Loeffler sworn in to Georgia seat MORE (R-Ga.), who is retiring at the end of this year.

McBath, one of the top potential contenders being eyed by national Democrats for the seat, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday that she was focused on retaining her House seat, which she won with 50.5 percent of the vote over Karen HandelKaren Christine HandelThe most expensive congressional races of the last decade Georgia ready for unpredictable Senate race Hundreds apply to fill Isakson's Senate seat in Georgia MORE (R) last year.

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“I am just starting my work in the House on these issues, and I believe the best way to advance them at this time is to focus fully on those efforts in the House,” McBath told the newspaper.

"I am honored by the encouragement I have received from leaders in Georgia and around the nation to consider running for the United States Senate next year,” she added.

McBath's decision not to seek the Senate seat comes after a similar announcement from former state Rep. Stacey Abrams (D), who unsuccessfully ran for governor last year. Abrams declined to enter the 2020 Democratic presidential primary or mount a Senate bid earlier this year in favor of building a grassroots organization dedicated to fighting voter suppression.

Other Democrats in Georgia including state Sens. Jen Jordan and Nikema Williams, chairwoman of the state Democratic Party, are considering entering the race for Isakson's seat, the Journal-Constitution reported. Sarah Riggs Amico, Abrams' running mate in 2018, has already announced a bid for the seat while Jon Ossoff (D), who ran for Senate in 2018, is challenging Georgia's other senator, David Perdue (R), for his seat next year.

Isakson, who is battling Parkinson's Disease, announced in August that he would resign his Senate seat at the end of the year. Several Republicans including Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsThe five dumbest things said about impeachment so far Pelosi accepts Collins's apology for saying Democrats are 'in love with terrorists' Trump's legal team gets set for impeachment trial MORE (R-Ga.) are considering bids for the seat next year.

His replacement ahead of the 2020 election will be filled by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), who said last month that the state had been "immeasurably blessed" by Isakson's leadership.

“Our state and country have been immeasurably blessed by his leadership in the Georgia General Assembly, U.S. House, and U.S. Senate. Senator Isakson’s list of accomplishments on behalf of the state that he loves is long and revered, but what Georgia should be most thankful for is the high standard that Johnny held as a true gentleman, a fighter for his constituents, a trusted advocate for our nation’s veterans, and one of the greatest statesmen to ever answer the call of service to our country,” Kemp said last month.

“I will appoint Sen. Isakson’s replacement at the appropriate time,” he added.

Updated at 2:14 p.m. on 9/20/19