Maureen Groppe, USA TODAY
Published 12:22 p.m. ET July 20, 2020 | Updated 12:46 p.m. ET July 20, 2020
John Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress in the new millennium, has died.
WASHINGTON – Georgia Democratic officials on Monday will decide on their choice to succeed former Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights icon who died on Friday.
Finalists to replace Lewis on the fall general election ballot include the state party leader, the head of the Georgia NAACP and a past president of Morehouse College.
A date has not yet been set for a special election to fill the remainder of Lewis’ term.
Gov. Brian Kemp must call for a special election within 10 days of the seat being vacant and the contest can’t be sooner than 30 days after the announcement.
Lewis represented one of the South’s most heavily Democratic districts, a seat that includes most of Atlanta.
12 images: John Lewis’ life in service to justice
Party leaders in the 5th District and the state put forward five recommended candidates from a list of 131 applicants who answered an open call Saturday.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams were among the prominent Georgia Democrats who did not apply. Both, instead, served on the seven-person nominating committee.
“The nominating committee fully considered all of the applicants and, following a robust discussion, reached a consensus on its recommendations,”Jason Carter, a member of the nominating committee member, said in a statement Monday.
Democrats had to move quickly because state law required the party decide by Monday whether it would appoint a replacement nominee.
The party’s executive committee was scheduled to meet Monday afternoon to make the choice.
The finalists are: state Rep. Park Cannon; city Councilman Andre Dickens; Robert Franklin, president emeritus of Morehouse College; state Sen. Nikema Williams, the chair of the state Democratic Party; and James “Major” Woodall, president of Georgia’s NAACP.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that Williams, whose husband was a top aide to Lewis, is viewed as the frontrunner.
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Lewis represented his majority-Black district for more than three decades. He racked up big victories every two-years and often ran unopposed. The seat includes the childhood home of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King was a pastor.
The Democratic nominee will be the prohibitive favorite to carry the district in November.
President Donald Trump won only 12% of the district’s vote in 2016.
The Republican running is Angela Stanton-King, a former reality TV star who was pardoned by Trump in February for her role in a car theft ring.
Remembering Rep. John Lewis: A civil rights icon
12 images of John Lewis: His life in service to justice
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