Do You Want To Be Georgia’s Next Senator? Apply Now

Gov. Brian Kemp has promised a $5,000 pay raise for teachers. Earlier this year, he and lawmakers raised teacher pay by $3,000.
Gov. Brian Kemp has promised a $5,000 pay raise for teachers. Earlier this year, he and lawmakers raised teacher pay by $3,000.
Credit John Bazemore / Associated Press file
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Updated Thursday at 1:39 p.m.

Gov. Brian Kemp announced Tuesday he’s accepting applications for the job of U.S. Senator online.

In a statement, he said the idea is “to ensure an open and transparent appointment process.” Kemp has to fill the vacancy that will be left by Sen. Johnny Isakson at the end of the year, who plans to resign.  

That person will serve until a special election in 2020, and then be up for election again in 2022, per the timing of Isakson’s term.

More than 80 applications had been submitted by the end of Wednesday, ranging from Martha Zoller, a Republican communications strategist (and one-time Congressional candidate) to an elementary school principal, a Southwest pilot to a trucking company executive. All applications will be made public and that could keep some prominent candidates away, according to University of Georgia political science professor Charles Bullock.

“What if he chooses someone who doesn’t put in an application?” he asked. “I someone like a [Rep.] Doug Collins or someone like that really going to put in an application? Who knows?”

Collins has been among the many names floated for the appointment.

Kennesaw State University Political Scientist Kerwin Swint called the public application process “unusual.”

“But it may be what they want to present to the public as far as, ‘We’re an open book, we want everyone to know who applied, what their qualifications are,’” he said.

On Monday, Kemp said his office is being “very methodical [about the process]. I’m obviously hearing from a lot of people that have interest or who have recommended people to me. There’s a deep, deep bench for us to pull from.

“I want somebody that’s going to go to Washington, D.C., and be a fighter for Georgians.”

Kemp’s office is accepting C.V.’s for all eligible applicants, meaning, per the Georgia Constitution, those who are at least 30 years old, have been U.S. citizens for nine years and live in Georgia.

“We will carefully vet the applicants and choose a person who best reflects our values, our state, and our vision for the future,” Kemp said in Tuesday’s statement.

These applications will be subject to the Georgia Open Records Act.

Susanna Capelouto contributed to this report.

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