Nikema Williams Chosen to Replace Rep. John Lewis on the November Ballot

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Photo: John Bazemore (AP)

The tragic passing of John Lewis last Friday has left a massive hole in the U.S House of Representatives. Lewis was up for re-election this year and won the Democratic nomination for 5th Congressional District seat during Georgia’s June primary. In the wake of his death, a group of Georgia Democrats gathered over the weekend to determine who would replace him on the ballot in November.


According to the Washington Post, on Monday, the Democratic Party’s executive committee voted for Nikema Williams, a state senator and the chairwoman of the state party, to replace Lewis. Per state law, the Georgia Democrats were required to pick a replacement candidate on the first business day after Lewis’ death. In remarks given to the committee after being nominated, Williams said that she was still grieving the loss of Lewis, calling him “a personal hero, friend and mentor.”

“Nobody could possibly fill the shoes of Congressman Lewis,” Williams said while highlighting her resume of fighting injustice, much like Congressman Lewis. “It would be the honor of my life to serve as the voice of the 5th Congressional District,” she added.

Williams was one of five candidates who was picked by a high-profile nominating committee that included Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. Among the other names up for nomination were state lawmaker Park Cannon, Atlanta City Council member Andre Dickens, Emory University professor Robert Franklin, and head of the Georgia NAACP James “Major” Woodall.

From the Post:

Early Monday afternoon, the U.S. House honored Lewis with a moment of silence and a bereavement resolution. A visibly emotional Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) presided over the chamber.

Rep. Sanford D. Bishop Jr. (D-Ga.), dean of the Georgia delegation, called Lewis “our

hero, our colleague, our brother, our friend.”

“The world is a better place because John Lewis pursued freedom,” he said.

Earlier Monday, several members paid tribute to Lewis on the House floor, including Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.).

“Even at 80, John Robert Lewis had the heart and fiery soul of a young protester for a righteous cause, an organizer for the community and country he served,” Hoyer said. “Every day of his life, John marched for justice, civil rights, peace and equality. On every step on his journey, he brought all of us and this country he loved with him.”

Williams will face Republican Angela Stanton-King, an author and television personality. Stanton-King was pardoned by President Trump earlier this year for her role in an auto theft ring back in 2007. That is, uh, certainly some competition. Williams is the favorite to win as the 5th Congressional District skews heavily Democratic. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the district with 85 percent of the vote.