John Hardy Isakson (born December 28, 1944) is an American politician serving as the senior United States Senator from Georgia, in office since 2005. A member of the Republican Party, he previously represented Georgia's 6th Congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1999 to 2005.
|United States Senator|
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2005
Serving with David Perdue
|Preceded by||Zell Miller|
|Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee|
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2015
|Preceded by||Bernie Sanders|
|Chair of the Senate Ethics Committee|
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2015
|Preceded by||Barbara Boxer|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Georgia's 6th district
February 23, 1999 – January 3, 2005
|Preceded by||Newt Gingrich|
|Succeeded by||Tom Price|
|Member of the Georgia Senate|
from the 21st district
January 11, 1993 – January 6, 1997
|Preceded by||Bill English|
|Succeeded by||Robert Lamutt|
John Hardy Isakson
December 28, 1944
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Dianne Davison (m. 1968)
|Education||University of Georgia (BBA)|
|Net worth||$9.7 million (2018)|
|Branch/service||United States Air Force|
|Years of service||1966–1972|
|Unit||Georgia Air National Guard|
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Isakson served in the Georgia Air National Guard (1966–1972) and graduated from the University of Georgia. He opened a real estate branch for Northside Realty and later served 22 years as the company's president. After a failed bid for the Georgia House of Representatives in 1974, he was elected in 1976. He served seven terms, including four as minority leader. Isakson was the Republican candidate for governor of Georgia in 1990, but lost. Two years later, he was elected to the Georgia Senate and served one term. He unsuccessfully ran in the Republican primary in the 1996 U.S. Senate elections.
After 6th District Congressman and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich resigned, Isakson ran in the February 1999 special election to succeed him, winning by a 40-point margin. He ran for the U.S. Senate in November 2004 after conservative Democratic incumbent Zell Miller opted not to run for re-election. With the backing of much of Georgia's Republican establishment, he won both the primary and general elections by large margins. He is serving his third term after re-election to the Senate in 2016. He became the senior Senator when Saxby Chambliss retired in 2015.
Early life, education, and real estate careerEdit
Isakson was born on December 28, 1944, in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Julia (née Baker) and Edwin Andrew Isakson, a Greyhound bus driver, who later established an Atlanta real estate firm. His paternal grandparents were of Swedish descent, and his paternal grandfather was born in Östersund. His mother is of mostly British ancestry, and her family has been in the American South since the colonial era. He received an honorary degree in Doctor of Laws from Oglethorpe University in 2009.
He currently lives in the nearby suburb of Marietta. He served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966 to 1972, leaving service as a staff sergeant. Isakson enrolled at the University of Georgia, where he became a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon social fraternity. Shortly after graduating from UGA, he opened the first Cobb County office of Northside Realty, a prominent Atlanta-area real estate firm that his father, Ed, helped to establish. Isakson became company president in 1979, a post he held for 22 years, during which Northside became the biggest independent real estate company in the Southeast and one of the largest in America.
Early political career (1974–1998)Edit
Georgia House of RepresentativesEdit
In 1974, Isakson first ran for the Georgia House of Representatives in an eastern Cobb County district and lost. He ran again in 1976 and won. He served seven terms in the House. He won re-election unopposed in 1984 and 1988. In the last four terms (1983–1990) he was the Republican Minority leader. In 1988, he was Co-Chair for U.S. Senator Bob Dole's presidential primary campaign.
1990 gubernatorial electionEdit
He was the Republican candidate for Governor of Georgia in 1990. He won the Republican primary with 74% of the vote in a four candidate field. In the general election, he was defeated by Democratic Lieutenant Governor Zell Miller 53%–45%. His campaign was managed by Jay Morgan while Miller's campaign was managed by James Carville. Miller ran on a pledge to start a state lottery and use the revenue for public schools. Isakson proposed a ballot referendum on the lottery.
1996 U.S. Senate electionEdit
In 1996, he ran in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Democratic U.S. Senator Sam Nunn. Isakson finished second in the primary election with 35% of the vote, but the winner Guy Millner, a millionaire businessman, failed to get a majority of the vote getting 42%. Therefore, per Georgia law he was forced into a primary runoff election. Millner defeated Isakson in the runoff 53%–47%. Millner lost to Democrat Max Cleland.
In December 1996, Isakson was appointed head of the State Board of Education by Miller.
U.S. House of Representatives (1999–2005)Edit
In November 1998, 6th District U.S. Congressman and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich faced a revolt in his caucus after the Republicans lost four seats in the midterm elections. Amid the turmoil, Gingrich announced on Friday after the Tuesday elections not only that he would not run for a third term as Speaker, but he would also not take his seat for an eleventh term beginning in January 1999. Isakson ran for the seat in a special election in February. He won the election with 65% of the vote, up forty points ahead of the second-place finisher Christina Fawcett Jeffrey.
He won re-election to his first full term with 75% of the vote.
He won re-election to his second full term with 80% of the vote. In October 2002, Isakson voted in favor of the authorization of force against the country of Iraq.
During his tenure in the House of Representatives, Isakson served on the Committee on Education and the Workforce, aiding President Bush in passing the No Child Left Behind Act. As a Representative, Isakson sponsored 27 bills. He was a member of the U.S. House Education Committee.
U.S. Senate (2005–present)Edit
In early 2003, conservative Democratic U.S. Senator Zell Miller—who had been appointed to fill out the term of the late Republican Senator Paul Coverdell and elected to the post in his own right in 2000—declared his intention not to run for a full term in the Senate in 2004. Isakson immediately entered the race. He faced 8th District U.S. Congressman Mac Collins and businessman Herman Cain in the primary.
It was initially thought Isakson would face a difficult primary since many socially conservative Republicans still felt chagrin at Isakson's declared support for abortion rights in 1990. However, he won the Republican primary with 53%, with Cain a distant second and Collins third. In the general election, he easily defeated the Democratic candidate, 4th District Congresswoman Denise Majette, by 18 points. Isakson's election marked the first time in Georgia's history that both of the state's U.S. Senate seats had been held by Republicans, as Saxby Chambliss had won the other seat by defeating Nunn's successor, Max Cleland, two years earlier.
In 2010, he was unopposed in the primary. Isakson won re-election with 58% of the vote in 2010, defeating State Commissioner of Labor Mike Thurmond. In 2010, Isakson apologized for referring to voters as "the unwashed" in off-hand comments, saying he "didn't mean anything derogatory by it."
Isakson was re-elected for a third term in 2016.
As a Senator, Isakson has sponsored over 130 bills.
Current committee assignmentsEdit
- Committee on Finance
- Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
- Committee on Veterans' Affairs (Chairman)
- Select Committee on Ethics (Chairman)
- Committee on Foreign Relations
When compared to his Republican peers in the Senate, Isakson is rated as being close to the average level of conservativeness. As of 2014, Isakson had a lifetime rating of 84.25 by the American Conservative Union. He received a "Hero of the Taxpayer" award by Citizens Against Government Waste in 2011. In the first session of the 115th United States Congress, Isakson was ranked the 12th most bipartisan Senator by the Bipartisan Index, a metric created by The Lugar Center and Georgetown's McCourt School of Public Policy to assess congressional bipartisanship. 
In July 2019, Isakson was one of eight senators to introduce the Agricultural Trucking Relief Act, a bill that would alter the definition of an agricultural commodity to include both horticultural and aquacultural products and promote a larger consistency in regulation through both federal and state agencies as part of an attempt to ease regulatory burdens on trucking and the agri-community.
In 2011, Isakson voted to limit the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. In 2013, he voted for a concurrent resolution creating a point of order which would make it harder for Congress to put a price on carbon. In a series of roll call votes attached to debate about the Keystone Pipeline on January 21, 2015, he voted against Amendment 87 by Senator John Hoeven that climate change is real and human activity contributes to climate change, and against Amendment 58 by Senator Brian Schatz, that human activity "significantly" contributes to climate change. In 2015, he voted against the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan.
In February 2018, in response to the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, Isakson stated that "We have to do everything we can within our powers to make sure it never happens again," while declining to support any additional gun control measures such as an assault weapons ban or stricter background checks.
Isakson and his wife Dianne have three children: John, Kevin and Julie. He has grandchildren as well. Kevin married Katherine James and has three kids (oldest to youngest) Elizabeth, Sarah Katherine, and William.
In July 2019, he was hospitalized after a fall.
|Libertarian||Carole Ann Rand||37,367||2.58||±0|
|Republican||Johnny Isakson (Incumbent)||256,595||74.75%|
|Republican||Johnny Isakson (Incumbent)||163,209||79.91%|
|Republican gain from Democratic||Swing|
|Republican||Johnny Isakson (Incumbent)||1,489,904||58.31%||+0.43%|
|Independent||Steve Davis (write-in)||52||0.00%||N/A|
|Independent||Raymond Beckworth (write-in)||24||0.00%||N/A|
|Independent||Brian Russell Brown (write-in)||12||0.00%||N/A|
|Republican||Johnny Isakson (Incumbent)||447,661||77.50%|
|Republican||Mary Kay Bacallao||60,898||10.54%|
|Republican||Johnny Isakson (incumbent)||2,135,806||54.80%||-3.51%|
- "Our Campaigns - GA State Senate 21 Race - Nov 03, 1992".
- "Our Campaigns - GA State Senate 21 Race - Nov 08, 1994".
- "Ranking the Net Worth of the 115th". Retrieved August 5, 2019.
- "GEORGIA Johnny Isakson (R)". Washington Post. November 4, 2004. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
- "Atlanta roots lie under real estate's family tree". Atlanta Business Chronicle. May 10, 2010.
- "Floor Statement on Immigration Reform Remarks as Delivered on the Senate Floor". Johnny Isakson. April 13, 2005. Retrieved February 20, 2007.
- Johnny Isakson ancestry
- "Honorary Degrees Awarded by Oglethorpe University". Oglethorpe University. Archived from the original on March 19, 2015. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
- "Greeks in the 113th Congress". North-American Interfraternity Conference. Archived from the original on March 27, 2014. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
- "Johnny Isakson Senate". Johnny Isakson Biography. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
- Our Campaigns - GA State House 021 Race - Nov 06, 1984
- Our Campaigns - GA State House 021 Race - Nov 08, 1988
- Our Campaigns - GA Governor - R Primary Race - Jul 17, 1990
- Our Campaigns - GA Governor Race - Nov 06, 1990
- "Our Campaigns - GA US Senate - R Primary Race - Jul 09, 1996". www.ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
- "Our Campaigns - GA US Senate - R Runoff Race - Aug 06, 1996". www.ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
- Almanac of American Politics 2008, p. 463.
- "Official Results of the February 23, 1999 Special Election". Georgia Secretary of State. March 16, 1999. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
- "Our Campaigns - GA District 6 Race - Nov 07, 2000". www.ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
- "Our Campaigns - GA District 6 Race - Nov 05, 2002". www.ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
-  House roll call vote
- "Representative Isakson's Legislation". Library of Congress. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
- http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=NR&d_origin=transcripts&z=NR&p_theme=nr&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0F56FA35CA9A98DF&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM. Missing or empty
- "Isakson apologizes for calling voters 'unwashed'". Atlanta Journal Constitution. June 17, 2010. Archived from the original on June 21, 2010. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
- "Senator Isakson's Legislation". Library of Congress. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
- Parlapiano, Haeyoun Park, Alicia; Sanger-katz, Margot (July 13, 2017). "Republicans Made 4 Key Changes to Their Health Care Bill. Here's Who They Were Trying to Win Over". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 17, 2017.
- "Federal Legislative Ratings". American Conservative Union. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
- "Chambliss, Isakson named "Taxpayer Hero" by watchdog group". WALB News. October 7, 2011. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
- "The Lugar Center - McCourt School Bipartisan Index" (PDF). Washington, D.C.: The Lugar Center. April 24, 2018. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
- "Johnny Isakson on Abortion". On the Issues. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
- Galford, Chris (July 2, 2019). "Bipartisan Senate effort seeks to ease regulation of agricultural trucking". transportationtodaynews.com.
- "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 112th Congress - 1st Session, Vote Number 54, 2011-04-06". www.senate.gov. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
- "Detail for 2013 Senate Roll Call Vote 59 | Voter Information Services – vote wisely, live better". www.vis.org. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
- "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress - 1st Session, Vote Number 59, 2013-03-22". www.senate.gov. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
- Leber, Rebecca (January 21, 2015). "Republican Senators Finally Admit That Climate Change Is Not a Hoax". New Republic. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
- "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 114th Congress - 1st Session, Vote Number 11, 2015-01-21". www.senate.gov. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
- "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 114th Congress - 1st Session, Vote Number 12, 2015-01-21". www.senate.gov. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
- "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 114th Congress - 1st Session, Vote Number 307, 2015-11-17". www.senate.gov. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
- Christopher, Tommy (April 11, 2013). "21 NRA 'A'-Rated Senators Part Of 68-31 Vote To Defeat Filibuster Of Background Check Bill". Mediaite. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
- Harris, Nate. "Senator Isakson speaks out against campus carry". The Red and Black. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
- "Health Care - U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson".
- "Johnny Isakson's Position Statement on Immigration". Archived from the original on April 25, 2007. Retrieved May 20, 2007.
- "Isakson Votes to Uphold Trump's Emergency Declaration - News Releases - - U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson". www.isakson.senate.gov. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
- Sen. Johnny Isakson discloses he has Parkinson’s disease (Washington Post article-June 10, 2015)
- "United States Senator". Sos.georgia.gov. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
- "United States Senator". Georgia of Secretary of State. December 21, 2005. Retrieved December 3, 2008.
- "7/20/2010 - United States Senator, Isakson". Sos.georgia.gov. Retrieved August 21, 2010.
- 11/2/2010 - United States Senator, Isakson
- "Official Results". Georgia Secretary of State. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
- "General Election November 8, 2016". Georgia Secretary of State. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Johnny Isakson.|
- Senator Johnny Isakson official U.S. Senate site
- Johnny Isakson for Senate
- Johnny Isakson at Curlie
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Appearances on C-SPAN
|Party political offices|
| Republican nominee for Governor of Georgia
| Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Georgia
2004, 2010, 2016
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 6th congressional district
| U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Georgia
Served alongside: Saxby Chambliss, David Perdue
| Ranking Member of the Senate Ethics Committee
| Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee
| Chair of the Senate Ethics Committee|
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Senators by seniority