Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia to retire at the end of 2019 due to 'health challenges'

Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., flanked by Rep. Buddy Carter R-Ga., left, and Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., right, leads a meeting with the Georgia Ports Authority and the Army Corps of Engineers to request full funding for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project in the 2020 federal budget, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC/AP) -- Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia said in statement that he will resign at the end of the year due to health challenges.

Sen. Isakson said that his Parkinson's has been progressing and he is still in recovery after a fall in July.

"I have concluded that I will not be able to do the job over the long term in the manner the citizens of Georgia deserve," the statement reads.

Sen. Isakson's term was not due to end until 2022. He was re-elected in 2016 with 54 percent of the vote, becoming the first Georgia Republican to win a third term in the Senate. He remains the only elected official in Georgia to have served in the Georgia House, Georgia Senate, U.S. House and U.S. Senate.

The senator was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2013. After falling in his D.C. apartment in July, he suffered four fractured ribs and a torn rotator cuff. He also recently underwent surgery on one of his kidneys.

His full statement is below:

“After much prayer and consultation with my family and my doctors, I have made the very tough decision to leave the U.S. Senate at the end of this year. I have informed Georgia Governor Brian Kemp today that I will resign my Senate seat effective December 31, 2019.

“I am leaving a job I love because my health challenges are taking their toll on me, my family and my staff. My Parkinson’s has been progressing, and I am continuing physical therapy to recover from a fall in July. In addition, this week I had surgery to remove a growth on my kidney.

“In my 40 years in elected office, I have always put my constituents and my state of Georgia first. With the mounting health challenges I am facing, I have concluded that I will not be able to do the job over the long term in the manner the citizens of Georgia deserve. It goes against every fiber of my being to leave in the middle of my Senate term, but I know it’s the right thing to do on behalf of my state.

“I look forward to returning to Washington on September 9 when the Senate goes back into session. And after December 31, I look forward to continuing to help the people of Georgia in any way I can and also helping those who are working toward a cure for Parkinson’s.”
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