Difference between revisions of "Johnny Isakson"

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
(National security)
(National security)
Line 206: Line 206:
Isakson then said on September 5, 2013, that he had reservations about giving President Obama the authority to use U.S. military force in Syria.<ref name="twice">[http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2013-09-05/georgia-senator-thinking-twice-about-syria-action?v=1378408830 ''Augusta Chronicle'', "Georgia senator thinking twice about Syria action," accessed September 6, 2013]</ref>
Isakson then said on September 5, 2013, that he had reservations about giving President Obama the authority to use U.S. military force in Syria.<ref name="twice">[http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2013-09-05/georgia-senator-thinking-twice-about-syria-action?v=1378408830 ''Augusta Chronicle'', "Georgia senator thinking twice about Syria action," accessed September 6, 2013]</ref>
====Drones filibuster====
====Drones filibuster====

Revision as of 15:57, 22 August 2014

Johnny Isakson
Johnny Isakson.jpg
U.S. Senate, Georgia
In office
January 3, 2005-Present
Term ends
January 3, 2017
Years in position 10
PredecessorZell B. Miller (D)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last election2010
First elected2004
Next generalNovember 2016
Campaign $$19,885,638
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
U.S. House of Representatives
Georgia State Senate
Georgia House of Representatives
Bachelor'sUniversity of Georgia
Military service
Service/branchGeorgia Air National Guard
Years of service1966-1972
Date of birthDecember 28, 1944
Place of birthAtlanta, Georgia
ProfessionReal Estate Executive
Net worth$15,043,070.50
Office website
Campaign website
John Hardy "Johnny" Isakson (b. December 28, 1944, in Atlanta, GA) is a Republican member of the U.S. Senate from the state of Georgia. Isakson was first elected to the Senate in 2004.

He previously was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1999 to 2004, a member of the Georgia State Senate from 1992 to 1996 and a member of the Georgia House of Representatives from 1976 to 1990.[1]

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Isakson is an average Republican member of Congress, meaning he will vote with the Republican Party on the majority of bills.


Isakson was born in Atlanta, GA, as a second generation Swedish-American.[2] He served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966 to 1972, leaving service as a staff sergeant.[3] Shortly after graduating from the University of Georgia, he opened the first Cobb County office of Northside Realty, a prominent Atlanta-area real estate firm.[4]


  • Isakson also owns his own real-estate firm, on which he served as the president from 1979-2001.

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Isakson serves on the following Senate committees:[5]


Key votes

113th Congress


The second session of the 113th Congress enacted into law 114 out of the 3,036 introduced bills (3.8 percent). Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 4.2 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the second session.[7] The Senate confirmed 13,949 out of 18,323 executive nominations received (76.1 percent). For more information pertaining to Isakson's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[8]

National security

John Brennan CIA nomination

Nay3.png Isakson voted against the confirmation of John Brennan as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The nomination was confirmed by the Senate on March 7, 2013, with a vote of 63 - 34. Most Democrats supported the nomination, while Republicans were somewhat divided with roughly one-third supporting the nomination.[9]


Farm bill

Yea3.png On February 4, 2014, the Democratic controlled Senate approved the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, H.R. 2642, also known as the Farm Bill.[10] It passed the Senate with a vote of 68-32. The nearly 1,000-page bill reformed and continued various programs of the Department of Agriculture through 2018. The $1 trillion bill expanded crop insurance for farmers by $7 billion over the next decade and created new subsidies for rice and peanut growers that will kick in when prices drop; however, cuts to the food stamp program cut an average of $90 per month for 1.7 million people in 15 states.[11] Isakson joined with 19 other Republican senators in favor of the bill.

2014 Budget

Yea3.png On January 16, 2014, the Democratic-controlled Senate approved H.R. 3547, a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through September 30, 2014.[12][13] The Senate voted 72-26 for the 1,582 page bill, with 17 Republicans and 55 Democrats voting in favor of the bill.[13] The omnibus package included 12 annual spending bills to fund federal operations.[14] It included a 1 percent increase in the paychecks of federal workers and military personnel, a $1 billion increase in Head Start funding for early childhood education, reduced funding to the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency and left the Affordable Care Act without any drastic cuts. Isakson voted with the 17 Republican and the 55 Democratic members in favor of the bill.[12][13]

Government shutdown

See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Yea3.png During the shutdown in October 2013, the Senate rejected, down party lines, every House-originated bill that stripped the budget of funding for the Affordable Care Act. A deal was reached late on October 16, 2013, just hours before the debt ceiling deadline. The bill to reopen the government, H.R. 2775, lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funded the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[15] The final vote on H.R. 2775 was 81-18, with all 18 votes against the bill from Republican members. Isakson voted with the Democratic Party for the bill.[16]

No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

Nay3.png Isakson voted against H.R.325 -- No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013. The bill passed the Senate on January 31, 2013, with a vote of 64 - 34. The purpose of the bill was to temporarily suspend the debt ceiling and withhold the pay of members of Congress until a budget could be passed. The vote largely followed party lines with Democrats overwhelmingly supporting it and many Republicans in opposition to the bill.[9]

2013 Senate Budget Proposal

Nay3.png Isakson voted against the 2013 Senate Budget Proposal.[9] On March 23, after an all-night debate that ended just before 5 a.m., by a 50 to 49 vote the Democratically controlled Senate approved its first budget in four years. No Republicans voted for the Senate plan, and four Democrats opposed it. All four are from red states and are up for re-election in 2014. Isakson was one of the four Democrats who voted against the budget proposal.[9]

The approved plan is a $3.7 trillion budget for 2014 and would provide a fast track for passage of tax increases, trim spending modestly and leave the government still deeply in the red for the next decade.

The approval of a budget in the Senate began the process of setting up contentious, and potentially fruitless, negotiations with the Republican-controlled House starting in April to reconcile two vastly different plans for dealing with the nation’s economic and budgetary problems.

The House plan would have brought the government’s taxes and spending into balance by 2023 with cuts to domestic spending even below the levels of automatic across-the-board cuts for federal programs now, and it orders up dramatic and controversial changes to Medicare and the tax code.

The Senate plan differed greatly, and included $100 billion in upfront infrastructure spending to bolster the economy and calls for special fast-track rules to overhaul the tax code and raise $975 billion over 10 years in legislation that could not be filibustered. Even with that tax increase and prescribed spending cuts, the plan approved by the Senate would leave the government with a $566 billion annual deficit in 10 years, and $5.2 trillion in additional debt over that window.


Mexico-U.S. border

Yea3.png Isakson voted for Senate Amendment 1197 -- Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border. The amendment was rejected by the Senate on June 18, 2013, with a vote of 39 - 54. The purpose of the amendment was to require the completion of 350 miles of fence described in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 before registered provisional immigrant status may be granted. It would also require 700 miles of fence be completed before the status of registered provisional immigrants may be changed to permanent resident status. The vote followed party lines.[9]

Social issues

Violence Against Women (2013)

Yea3.png Isakson voted for S.47 -- Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. The bill was passed by the Senate on February 12, 2013, with a vote of 78 - 22. The purpose of the bill was to combat violence against women, from domestic violence to international trafficking in persons. All 22 dissenting votes were cast by Republicans.[9]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal Cliff

Yea3.png Isakson voted for the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. The bill was passed in the Senate by an 89 - 8 vote on January 1, 2013.[17]


On The Issues Vote Match

Johnny Isakson's Vote Match results from On The Issues.
See also: On The Issues Vote Match

On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of elected officials based on 20 issue areas. Rather than relying on incumbents to complete the quiz themselves, the VoteMatch analysis is conducted using voting records, statements to the media, debate transcripts or citations from books authored by or about the candidate. Based on the results of the quiz, Isakson is a Hard-Core Conservative. Isakson received a score of 14 percent on social issues and 82 percent on economic issues.[18]

On The Issues organization logo.

The table below contains the results of analysis compiled by staff at On The Issues.

On The Issues Vote Quiz[19]
Economic Issues Social Issues
Issue Stance Issue Stance
Legally require hiring women & minorities Opposes Abortion is a woman's unrestricted right Strongly Opposes
Expand ObamaCare Opposes Comfortable with same-sex marriage Strongly Opposes
Vouchers for school choice Favors Keep God in the public sphere Strongly Favors
Absolute right to gun ownership Strongly Favors Human needs over animal rights Opposes
Higher taxes on the wealthy Strongly Opposes Stricter punishment reduces crime Favors
Support & expand free trade Favors Pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens Strongly Opposes
Stricter limits on political campaign funds Opposes Maintain US sovereignty from UN Opposes
Prioritize green energy Strongly Opposes Expand the military Favors
Stimulus better than market-led recovery Strongly Opposes Stay out of Iran Strongly Opposes
Privatize Social Security Favors Never legalize marijuana Strongly Favors
Note: Information last updated: 2014.[18] If you notice the rating has changed, email us.

National security

Johnny Isakson

American response in Syria

See also: United States involvement in Syria

Isakson released the following statement on August 31, 2013: "It is appropriate for the president to seek authorization from Congress, although I wish he would have called us back to vote on this immediately rather than waiting until Sept. 9. I support the use of military action in Syria. If we fail to take strong action against Syria for this horrendous attack, then we are sending a signal to Syria as well as to Iran and North Korea that they are accountable to no one."[20]

Isakson then said on September 5, 2013, that he had reservations about giving President Obama the authority to use U.S. military force in Syria.[21]

Drones filibuster

See also: Rand Paul filibuster of John Brennan's CIA Nomination in March 2013

On March 6, 2013, Senator Rand Paul (R) led a 13-hour filibuster of President Obama's CIA Director nominee, John Brennan. Paul started the filibuster in order to highlight his concerns about the administration's drone policies. In particular, Paul said he was concerned about whether a drone could be used to kill an American citizen within the United States border, without any due process involved. Paul and other civil liberties activists criticized President Obama for not offering a clear response to the question. A total of 14 senators joined Paul in the filibuster -- 13 Republicans and one Democrat.[22][23][24]

According to the website Breitbart, Isakson was one of 30 Republican senators who did not support the filibuster.[25][26]

The day after the filibuster, Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Paul, responding to the filibuster. Holder wrote, "Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on U.S. soil? The answer to that is no."[27]


Senate Conservative Fund target

The Senate Conservative Fund targeted Isakson (R-GA) in August 2013 with two weeks of radio ads designed to push Senate Republicans to support Utah's Mike Lee's effort to defund Obamacare.[28]



On November 2, 2010, Johnny Isakson won re-election to the United States Senate. He defeated Michael "Mike" Thurmond (D), Chuck Donovan (L), Steve Davis (I), Raymond Beckworth (I) and Brian Russell Brown (I) in the general election.[29]

U.S. Senate, Georgia General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJohnny Isakson Incumbent 58.3% 1,489,904
     Democratic Michael "Mike" Thurmond 39% 996,515
     Libertarian Chuck Donovan 2.7% 68,750
     Independent Steve Davis 0% 52
     Independent Raymond Beckworth 0% 24
     Independent Brian Russell Brown 0% 12
Total Votes 2,555,257

Full history

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Isakson is available dating back to 2000. Based on available campaign finance records, Isakson raised a total of $19,885,638 during that time period. This information was last updated on April 3, 2013.[31]

Johnny Isakson's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2010 U.S. Senate (Georgia) Won $9,671,128
2004 U.S. Senate (Georgia) Won $7,460,343
2002 U.S. House (Georgia, District 6) Won $1,034,101
2000 U.S. House (Georgia, District 6) $1,720,066
Grand Total Raised $19,885,638


Breakdown of the source of Isakson's campaign funds before the 2010 election.

Isakson won re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2010. During that re-election cycle, Isakson's campaign committee raised a total of $9,671,128 and spent $8,954,504.[32]

Personal Gain Index

Congressional Personal Gain Index graphic.png
See also: Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress)

The Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress) is a four-part measurement that illustrates the extent to which members of the U.S. Congress have prospered during their tenure as public servants.
It consists of four different metrics:

PGI: Change in net worth

See also: Changes in Net Worth of U.S. Senators and Representatives (Personal Gain Index) and Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives
Net Worth Metric graphic.png

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org, Isakson's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $7,416,141 and $$22,670,000. That averages to $15,043,070.50, which is higher than the average net worth of Republican senators in 2012 of $6,956,438.47. Isakson ranked as the 14th most wealthy senator in 2012.[33] Between 2004 and 2012, Isakson's calculated net worth[34] decreased by an average of 3 percent per year. Between 2004 and 2012, the average annual percentage increase for a member of Congress was 15.4 percent.[35]

Johnny Isakson Yearly Net Worth
YearAverage Net Worth
Growth from 2004 to 2012:-20%
Average annual growth:-3%[36]
Comparatively, the American citizen experienced a median yearly decline in net worth of -0.94%.[37]
The data used to calculate changes in net worth may include changes resulting from assets gained through marriage, inheritance, changes in family estates and/or trusts, changes in family business ownership and many other variables unrelated to a member's behavior in Congress.


Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Isakson is a "rank-and-file Republican" as of July 22, 2014. Isakson was rated as a "moderate Republican leader" in June 2013.[38]

Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[39]

Isakson most often votes with:

Isakson least often votes with:

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Isakson missed 131 of 3,008 roll call votes roll call votes from January 2005 to July 2014. This amounts to 4.4 percent, which is worse than the median of 2.0% among currently serving senators as of July 2014.[40]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Isakson paid his congressional staff a total of $2,676,628 in 2011. He ranked 9th on the list of the highest paid Republican senatorial staff salaries and ranked 65th overall of the lowest paid senatorial staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Georgia ranked 44th in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.[41]

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings

Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year.


Isakson ranked 38th in the conservative rankings in 2013.[42]


Isakson ranked 20th in the conservative rankings in 2012.[43]


Isakson ranked 33rd in the conservative rankings in 2011.[44]

Voting with party

The website OpenCongress tracks how often members of Congress vote with the majority of the chamber caucus.


Isakson voted with the Republican Party 86.8 percent of the time, which ranked 26th among the 45 Senate Republican members as of July 2014.[45]


Isakson voted with the Republican Party 85.3 percent of the time, which ranked 35th among the 46 Senate Republican members as of June 2013.[46]


Johnny and his wife, Dianne, have been married since 1968 and they have three grown children and nine grandchildren.They currently reside in Marietta, Georgia.[47]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Johnny + Isakson + Georgia + Senate

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Johnny Isakson News Feed

  • Loading...

See also

External links

Political Tracker has an article on:
John Isakson


  1. Bioguide, "Johnny Isakson," accessed June 20, 2013
  2. Johnny Isakson, U.S. Senator from Georgia, "Floor Statement on Immigration Reform Remarks as Delivered on the Senate Floor," accessed October 13, 2011
  3. Veterans in the U.S. Senate 109th Congress, "Senate Vets," accessed October 13, 2011
  4. Senator Johnny Isakson, "Biography of Senator Johnny Isakson," accessed Ocotber 13, 2011
  5. Congressional Quarterly, "Senate Committee List," accessed January 22, 2013
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Senator Johnny Isakson, "Accomplishments," accessed October 13, 2011
  7. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  8. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Project Vote Smart, "Johnny Isakson Key Votes," accessed October 16, 2013
  10. Senate.gov, "H.R. 2642 (Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013)," accessed February 12, 2014
  11. New York Times, "Senate Passes Long-Stalled Farm Bill, With Clear Winners and Losers," accessed February 12, 2014
  12. 12.0 12.1 Politico, "Senate approves $1.1 trillion spending bill," accessed January 20, 2014
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 U.S. Senate, "January 16 Vote," accessed January 20, 2014
  14. Roll Call, "House Passes $1.1 Trillion Omnibus," accessed January 20, 2014
  15. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  16. Senate.gov, "H.R. 2775 As Amended," accessed October 31, 2013
  17. U.S. Senate, "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff," accessed January 4, 2013
  18. 18.0 18.1 On The Issues, "Johnny Isakson Vote Match," accessed June 23, 2014
  19. The questions in the quiz are broken down into two sections -- social and economic. In social questions, liberals and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while conservatives and populists agree in choosing the more restrictive answers. For the economic questions, conservatives and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while liberals and populists agree in choosing the more restrictive answers.
  20. 11 Alive.com, "Georgia lawmakers explain their positions on Syria," accessed September 5, 2013
  21. Augusta Chronicle, "Georgia senator thinking twice about Syria action," accessed September 6, 2013
  22. CNN, "Rand Paul says he's heard from White House after filibuster," March 7, 2013
  23. USA Today, "Rand Paul filibuster ranks among Senate's longest," March 7, 2013
  24. ABC News, "Rand Paul wins applause from GOP and liberals," March 7, 2013
  25. Breitbart, "AWOL: Meet the GOP senators who refused to stand with Rand," March 7, 2013
  26. Politico, "Rand Paul filibuster blasted by Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham," March 7, 2013
  27. Washington Post, "Eric Holder responds to Rand Paul with ‘no’," March 7, 2013
  28. The Hill, "Senate Conservatives Fund targets Isakson with latest 'defund ObamaCare' ad," accessed August 22, 2013
  29. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013
  30. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2004," accessed March 28, 2013
  31. Open Secrets, "Johnny Isakson," accessed April 3, 2013
  32. Open Secrets, "Johnny Isakson 2010 Election Cycle," accessed November 7, 2011
  33. OpenSecrets, "Johnny Isakson (R-GA), 2012," accessed February 18, 2014
  34. This figure represents the total percentage growth from either 2004 (if the member entered office in 2004 or earlier) or their first year in office (as noted in the chart below).
  35. This number was found by dividing each member's total net worth growth percentage by the number of years included in the calculation.
  36. This figure represents the total percentage growth divided by the number of years for which there are net worth figures for each member.
  37. This figure was calculated using median asset data from the Census Bureau. Please see the Congressional Net Worth data for Ballotpedia spreadsheet for more information on this calculation.
  38. GovTrack, "John Isakson," accessed July 22, 2014
  39. OpenCongress, "Rep. Johnny Isakson," accessed July 22, 2014
  40. GovTrack, "Johnny Isakson," accessed July 22, 2014
  41. LegiStorm, "Johnny Isakson," accessed 2011
  42. National Journal, "2013 Senate Vote Ratings," accessed July 21, 2014
  43. National Journal, "2012 Congressional Vote Ratings," accessed February 28, 2013
  44. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: Senate," accessed February 23, 2012
  45. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  46. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  47. Senator Johnny Isakson, "Meet Johnny," accessed October 13, 2011
Political offices
Preceded by
Zell Miller
U.S. Senate - Georgia
Succeeded by
Preceded by
U.S. House - Georgia
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Georgia State Senate - Georgia
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Georgia House of Representatives - Georgia
Succeeded by