Georgia Democratic leaders selected state party chairwoman Nikema Williams Monday to replace the late Rep. John Lewis on the November ballot.
Lewis, a civil rights icon, died Friday after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He has represented the Atlanta-based 5th District since 1987.
Because Lewis’ death occurred after the state’s June primary, Democratic leaders were tasked with selecting a nominee to replace Lewis on the November ballot to serve the next two-year term. GOP Gov. Brian Kemp has yet to declare a special election for the remainder of Lewis’ term, which he must do within 10 days of Lewis' death, according to state law.
The Georgia Democratic Party received 131 applications to replace Lewis on the November ballot. A nominating committee that included Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and former gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams selected five applicants who made their cases to the party’s executive committee on Monday.
Williams, the first Black woman to lead the state party, is also member of the state Senate. The executive committee overwhelmingly voted to name Williams as the party's nominee.
Two of members of Georgia’s Democratic House delegation in Congress, Hank Johnson and Lucy McBath, participated in Monday’s vote, which was conducted over Zoom. Both supported Williams.
Williams is expected to be in a strong position to win the 5th District in November and defeat Republican Angela-Stanton King. Hillary Clinton won the district by 73 percentage points in 2016. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Solid Democratic.