Georgia Dems release finalists to replace Lewis on ballot

People gather at a make-shift memorial near the home of Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., Sunday, July 19, 2020, in Atlanta. Lewis, who died Friday at age 80, was the youngest and last survivor of the Big Six civil rights activists who organized the 1963 March on Washington, and spoke shortly before the group's leader, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., gave his "I Have a Dream" speech to a vast sea of people. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

ATLANTA — Georgia Democrats announced on Monday a list of five finalists who are under consideration to replace Rep. John Lewis on the November ballot.

The finalists are: a state senator, a state representative, the head of the state NAACP, an Atlanta city councilman and the former president of a prominent historically Black college.

A select group of Georgia Democrats sifted through more than 100 applications to decide who will replace Lewis on the ballot after the longtime congressman and civil rights leader’s death last week.

The Democratic Party of Georgia said it received 131 applications by its Sunday evening deadline, as the group works to quickly fill the ballot spot for the 5th Congressional District, which includes parts of Atlanta, per state law.

A special seven-member committee of Democrats — including Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, 2018 gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams and 2014 gubernatorial nominee Jason Carter — winnowed down the application pool.

The five selected will be considered at a meeting of the state party’s executive committee later Monday. They are: state Sen. Nikema Williams, state Rep. Park Cannon, Georgia NAACP President James Woodall, Atlanta city councilman Andre Dickens and Robert Franklin, former president of Morehouse College in Atlanta.

The person chosen will face Republican Angela Stanton-King in November. Stanton-King is a reality TV personality and was pardoned earlier this year by President Donald Trump for her role in a stolen car ring, after serving six months of home confinement in 2007.

Lewis won more than 84% of the vote when he last faced a Republican opponent in the district in 2016.

The seat will remain empty until Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp schedules a special election. The Republican governor has given no indication when he will hold an election with just over six months left in Lewis’ term.

Lewis, 80, died Friday, several months after he was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer. Funeral plans have not been announced. Kemp declared flags in Georgia will be at half-staff until sunset of the day of Lewis’ funeral.

Hundreds of people came to a giant mural of Lewis near his downtown Atlanta home Sunday to pay their respects.

Flowers, balloons, photos, candles and cards piled up at the base of the building where “HERO” was written above the painting of Lewis speaking.