Tags: georgia | johnny isakson | brian kemp | doug collins | jack kingston | john bardis

Ga. GOP Senate Appointment Likely Down to 3

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga.
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

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Monday, 30 September 2019 07:03 AM Current | Bio | Archive

With Sen. Johnny Isakson, R.-Ga., set to resign on December 31, sources among Georgia Republicans recently told Newsmax that the list is now down to three possible choices for appointment to succeed him.

At this point, conservative Gov. Brian Kemp has reportedly not made a decision over which of his fellow Republicans will replace Isakson (who, at 74, recently announced he was resigning because on an ongoing battle with Parkinson's disease).

But Kemp, sources told us, is expected to announce his decision before Isakson leaves office and it is likely to be one of three possibilities:

  • Rep. Doug Collins, 53, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee and a stalwart defender of President Trump from attacks by Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y. One of the worst-kept secrets in Washington, D.C., is that Collins wants to be a senator — although the most he has publicly said is "I will look at" the appointment if it is offered. The onetime U.S. Army chaplain is well-connected throughout the Georgia GOP establishment and is a close friend of Kemp's popular predecessor, former Republican Gov. Nathan Deal.
  • Former Rep. Jack Kingston, 64, who became a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee before ending his House career after 22 years to run for the Senate in 2014. Kingston lost the Republican runoff to the state's present Sen. David Purdue by a slim 51% to 49%. An early backer of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for president in 2016, Kingston campaigned hard for Trump in the fall and was a spirited defender of the President on CNN until the network dropped him as a guest commentator.
  • John Bardis, 62, a North Fulton entrepreneur who resigned last year as assistant secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) for Administration. Bardis founded the Alpharetta, Georgia-based MedAssets company in 1999, and oversaw its rise to one of the largest healthcare group purchasing organizations in the U.S. Two years ago, MedAssets was acquired by Pamplona Capital Management for $2.7 billion. Bardis, who has never held nor sought public office, is considered a "wildcard" for the Senate vacancy. But, as one GOP activist observed, "just as David Perdue used his personal wealth to win nomination and election to the other Senate seat, Gov. Kemp may decide he needs someone like John to do the same for this seat."

At least a half dozen Democrats are eyeing or have announced for the state's other Senate seat held by Perdue, who is also up for election in 2020. Some are sure to be urged by national Democrats to switch to the special election for Isakson's seat.

Under Georgia's unique election law, all candidates regardless of party compete on the same ballot for Isakson's seat in November. Should no one win a majority, the top two vote-getters will have a runoff in January.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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With Sen. Johnny Isakson, R.-Ga., set to resign on December 31, sources among Georgia Republicans recently told Newsmax that the list is now down to three possible choices for appointment to succeed him.
georgia, johnny isakson, brian kemp, doug collins, jack kingston, john bardis
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2019-03-30
Monday, 30 September 2019 07:03 AM
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