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Nikema Williams chosen to replace Rep. John Lewis on November ballot

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  • The Georgia Democratic Party selected State Senator Nikema Williams to replace Rep. John Lewis on the November ballot for Georgia’s Atlanta-based 5th congressional district. 
  • Lewis, an iconic civil rights activist and leader, died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 80 on Friday after representing the seat in Congress for over three decades. 
  • While Williams will be the nominee for the 2021-2023 congressional term, there will be a separate special election to choose a candidate to serve out the rest of Lewis’ term until January 2021. 

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Georgia Democrats selected Nikema Williams, a state senator currently serving as the chairwoman of the Georgia Democratic Party, to replace the late Rep. John Lewis as the Democratic nominee for his Atlanta-based district.

Lewis, a civil rights icon who represented Georgia’s 5th congressional district from 1987 to 2020, died on Friday evening at the age of 80 about two years after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. 

Shortly after Lewis’ death, the Georgia secretary of state’s office informed the Georgia Democratic Party they had to select a nominee and inform the state of their choice to replace Lewis on the November ballot by Monday afternoon in order to avoid a special primary election. 

In an informal virtual nomination convention on Monday, the party’s executive committee overwhelmingly selected Williams out of five finalists to serve as the nominee. Williams has served in the state senate representing Atlanta since 2017 and has chaired the Georgia Democratic Party since January 2019. 

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that while Williams will be the nominee for the 2021-2023 congressional term, there will be a separate special election to choose a candidate to serve out the rest of Lewis’ term until January 2021. 

The outlet said that as of now, it is “not immediately clear” whether Williams will also run in that special election, which Gov. Brian Kemp must set within the next 10 days, or how Williams’ current state senate seat will be filled. 

Georgia’s 5th district is one of the most heavily Democratic in the country, meaning Williams is all-but-assured to be elected to the seat over Republican Angela Stanton-King, a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump. The district gave Hillary Clinton 86% of the vote in 2016 while just 11% went to Trump. 

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