Read our 2017 Report Card for Isakson.
Isakson is shown as a purple triangle ▲ in our ideology-leadership chart below. Each dot is a member of the Senate positioned according to our liberal–conservative ideology score (left to right) and our leadership score (leaders are toward the top).
The chart is based on the bills Isakson has sponsored and cosponsored. See full analysis methodology.
Ratings from Advocacy Organizations
John “Johnny” Isakson sits on the following committees:
- Chair, Senate Select Committee on Ethics
- Chair, Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs
- Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
- Chair, Subcommittee on State Department and USAID Management, International Operations, and Bilateral International Development
- Member, Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy
- Member, Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy
- Member, Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women's Issues
- Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
- Senate Committee on Finance
Isakson was the primary sponsor of 15 bills that were enacted. The most recent include:
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We consider a bill enacted if one of the following is true: a) it is enacted itself, b) it has a companion bill in the other chamber (as identified by Congress) which was enacted, or c) if about one third or more of its provisions were incorporated into bills that were enacted (as determined by an automated text analysis, applicable beginning with bills in the 110th Congress).
Isakson sponsors bills primarily in these issue areas:
Health (38%)Armed Forces and National Security (13%)Labor and Employment (13%)Public Lands and Natural Resources (12%)International Affairs (8%)Education (6%)Transportation and Public Works (6%)Immigration (4%)
Some of Isakson’s most recently sponsored bills include...
View All » | View Cosponsors »
|Isakson’s Vote||Vote Description|
|Yea||H.R. 5325: Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2017|
Sep 28, 2016. Bill Passed 72/26.
|Yea||On the Nomination PN64: Alissa M. Starzak, of New York, to be General Counsel of the Department of the Army|
Dec 14, 2015. Nomination Confirmed 45/34.
|Yea||H.R. 22: Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act|
Dec 3, 2015. Conference Report Agreed to 83/16.
H.R 22, formerly the Hire More Heroes Act, has become the Senate’s vehicle for passage of the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act or DRIVE Act (S. 1647). The DRIVE Act is a major bipartisan transportation bill that would authorize funding ...
|Yea||H.J.Res. 124 (113th): Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2015|
Sep 18, 2014. Joint Resolution Passed 78/22.
|Yea||H.J.Res. 59 (113th): Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014|
Dec 18, 2013. Motion Agreed to 64/36.
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (H.J.Res. 59; Pub.L. 113–67) is a federal statute concerning spending and the budget in the United States, that was signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 26, 2013. On December 10, 2013, pursuant to the provisions of ...
|Yea||H.R. 4853 (111th): Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010|
Dec 15, 2010. Motion Agreed to 81/19.
The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (Pub.L. 111–312, H.R. 4853, 124 Stat. 3296, enacted December 17, 2010), also known as the 2010 Tax Relief Act, was passed by the United States Congress on December 16, 2010, and signed into ...
|Yea||H.R. 2996 (111th): Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010|
Oct 29, 2009. Conference Report Agreed to 72/28.
|Nay||H.R. 4137 (110th): Higher Education Opportunity Act|
Jul 31, 2008. Conference Report Agreed to 83/8.
From Jan 2005 to Mar 2018, Isakson missed 193 of 4,017 roll call votes, which is 4.8%. This is much worse than the median of 1.4% among the lifetime records of senators currently serving. The chart below reports missed votes over time.
Show the numbers...
|Time Period||Votes Eligible||Missed Votes||Percent||Percentile|
The information on this page is originally sourced from a variety of materials, including:
John “Johnny” Isakson is pronounced:
jon // Ī-zuhk-sun
The letters stand for sounds according to the following table:
|Letter||Sounds As In|
Capital letters indicate a stressed syllable.
|United States Senator|
January 3, 2005
Serving with David Perdue
|Preceded by||Zell Miller|
|Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee|
January 3, 2015
|Preceded by||Bernie Sanders|
|Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee|
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|
|Chairman of the Georgia Board of Education|
January 6, 1997 – February 26, 1999
|Member of the Georgia Senate|
from the 21st district
January 11, 1993 – January 6, 1997
|Member of the Georgia House of Representatives|
January 10, 1977 – January 14, 1991
|Born||John Hardy Isakson|
(1944-12-28) December 28, 1944 (age 73)
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
|Education||University of Georgia(BA)|
|Service/branch||United States Air Force|
|Years of service||1966–1972|
|Unit||Georgia Air National Guard|
John Hardy Isakson (born December 28, 1944) is the seniorUnited States Senator from Georgia, in office since 2005, and a member of the Republican Party. Previously, he represented Georgia's 6th Congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1999 to 2005.
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 HouseNewt 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 conservativeDemocratic 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 career
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)
Georgia House of Representatives
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 election
Main article: Georgia gubernatorial election, 1990
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 DemocraticLieutenant GovernorZell 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.
In 1992, he was elected to the Georgia Senate. In 1996, he decided not to run for re-election to a second term and instead ran for the United States Senate.
1996 U.S. Senate election
See also: United States Senate election in Georgia, 1996
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)
In November 1998, 6th District U.S. Congressman and Speaker of the HouseNewt Gingrich faced a revolt in his caucus after the Republicans lost five 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.
- War in Iraq
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)
See also: United States Senate election in Georgia, 2004
In early 2003, conservativeDemocratic 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.
See also: United States Senate election in Georgia, 2010
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."
As a Senator, Isakson has sponsored over 130 bills.
Current committee assignments
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.
Isakson is personally opposed to abortion, except in cases of rape or incest or when the life of the mother is in danger.
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.
Isakson had an "A" rating by the National Rifle Association in 2013
In 2017, Isakson stated that while he does support concealed carry nationwide, he does not support campus carry, stating that it is "not the appropriate thing to do."
Isakson voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and has since voted over 60 times in favor of ending it.
Isakson favors tougher border security to address the immigration issue. He is credited for developing the "Isakson Principle," which denies the legalization of status to any illegal immigrant or the creation of a temporary worker program unless the Secretary of Homeland Security certifies ("triggers") to the president and Congress that measurable border security provisions are in place.
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 June, 2015, he disclosed that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, and that the diagnosis will not affect his 2016 re-election plans.
See also: United States Senate election in Georgia, 2010
|U.S. Senate Republican Primary election in Georgia, 1996|
|U.S. Senate Republican Primary Runoff election in Georgia, 1996|
|1999 special election||Johnny Isakson*||51,548||65.1%||Other candidates||27,665||34.9%|
|2000||Johnny Isakson(inc.)||256,595||75%||Brett DeHart||86,666||25%|
|2002||Johnny Isakson (inc.)||163,525||80%||Jeff Weisberger||41,204||20%|
* Newt Gingrich resigned his term on January 3, 1999, and Isakson won the special election to succeed him. Candidates from all parties appeared on the same ballot; their party affiliations were not listed.
|2004||Denise L. Majette||1,287,690||40%||Johnny Isakson||1,864,202||58%||Allen Buckley||Libertarian||69,051||2%||*|
|2010||Mike Thurmond||996,516||39%||Johnny Isakson||1,489,904||58%||Chuck Donovan||Libertarian||68,750||3%|
|2016||Jim F. Barksdale||1,599,726||41%||Johnny Isakson||2,135,806||55%||Allen Buckley||Libertarian||162,260||4%|
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 2004, write-ins received 31 votes and Matthew Jamison received 7 votes.
|U.S. Senate Republican Primary election in Georgia, 2004|
|U.S. Senate Republican Primary election in Georgia, 2016|
|Republican||Johnny Isakson (inc.)||447,661||78%|
|Republican||Mary Kay Bacallao||60,898||11%|
- ^ ab"GEORGIA Johnny Isakson (R)". Washington Post. November 4, 2004. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- ^"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 2007-02-20.
- ^Johnny Isakson ancestry
- ^"Honorary Degrees Awarded by Oglethorpe University". Oglethorpe University. Archived from the original on 2015-03-19. Retrieved 2015-03-04.
- ^"Veterans in the US Senate 109th Congress"(PDF). Navy League. Archived from the original(PDF) on 2007-06-28. Retrieved 2006-12-09.
- ^"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 18 November 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
- ^Our Campaigns - GA US Senate - R Runoff Race - Aug 06, 1996
- ^Almanac of American Politics 2008, p. 463.
- ^Our Campaigns - GA District 6 - Special Election Race - Feb 23, 1999
- ^Our Campaigns - GA District 6 Race - Nov 07, 2000
- ^Our Campaigns - GA District 6 Race - Nov 05, 2002
- ^ House roll call vote
- ^"Representative Isakson's Legislation". Library of Congress. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
- ^"Isakson apologizes for calling voters 'unwashed'". Atlanta Journal Constitution. 17 June 2010. Archived from the original on 21 June 2010. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
- ^"Senator Isakson's Legislation". Library of Congress. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
- ^Parlapiano, Haeyoun Park, Alicia; Sanger-katz, Margot (2017-07-13). "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 2017-07-17.
- ^"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.
- ^"Johnny Isakson on Abortion". On the Issues. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
- ^"U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 112th Congress - 1st Session, Vote Number 54, 2011-04-06."www.senate.gov. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
- ^"Detail for 2013 Senate Roll Call Vote 59 | Voter Information Services – vote wisely, live better". www.vis.org. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
- ^"U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress - 1st Session, Vote Number 59, 2013-03-22."www.senate.gov. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
- ^Leber, Rebecca (2015-01-21). "Republican Senators Finally Admit That Climate Change Is Not a Hoax". New Republic. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
- ^"U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 114th Congress - 1st Session, Vote Number 11, 2015-01-21."www.senate.gov. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
- ^"U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 114th Congress - 1st Session, Vote Number 12, 2015-01-21". www.senate.gov. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
- ^"U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 114th Congress - 1st Session, Vote Number 307, 2015-11-17."www.senate.gov. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
- ^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 4 October 2017.
- ^"Health Care - U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson".
- ^"Johnny Isakson's Position Statement on Immigration". Archived from the original on 2007-04-25. Retrieved 2007-05-20.
- ^"Johnny Isakson, United States Senator from Georgia". Isakson.senate.gov. 2006-07-09. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- ^Sen. Johnny Isakson discloses he has Parkinson’s disease (Washington Post article-June 10, 2015)
- ^ ab"Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Archived from the original on 2007-07-25. Retrieved 2007-08-08.
- ^"2/23/99 - Special Election for 6th U.S. Congressional District". Georgia Secretary of State. Archived from the original on 2008-01-13.