ATLANTA — The special election to fill out the remainder of John Lewis' congressional term did not produce an outright winner on Tuesday night, meaning there will be a Dec. 1 runoff to produce a representative whose time in Congress will last just over a month.
No one was able to significantly stand out in the crowded field, with former Atlanta city councilman Kwanza Hall leading the pack with 32% of the vote. He will be joined in the runoff by former Morehouse president Robert Franklin, who received 28%.
Whoever wins will hold the 5th District seat, which was held for decades by Lewis, from the time the runoff can be certified and they can be sworn in, until the start of the next Congress, which opens their term on Jan. 3.
At that point, the winner of the November general election between Democrat Nikema Williams and Republican Angela Stanton-King will represent the 5th District for the upcoming two-year Congressional term.
Here's a little bit about each candidate:
- Kwanza Hall: Hall was the longtime representative of the second district in Atlanta's city council - which covers a large stretch of Midtown east of I-75/85, a portion of the Downtown area, and an area eastward from there, that includes the Old Fourth Ward, Inman Park, Sweet Auburn and Little Five Points neighborhoods - from 2005-17. He vacated the seat to run for mayor in 2017, landing about 4% in the initial vote. One of his most notable achievements as a councilman was spearheading the effort to decriminalize marijuana in Atlanta. In the past couple of years, Hall has been exploring entrepreneurial opportunities, according to his public LinkedIn page.
- Robert Franklin: Franklin was Morehouse College's 10th president, occupying the position from 2007-2012. He began his career in theology and academia and has continued work in both fields since leaving Morehouse, serving as the James T. and Berta R. Laney Professor in Moral Leadership at Emory University's Candler School of Theology since 2014. He has also served in a number of honorary and leadership capacities for several organizations, according to his Emory bio, including a Human Rights Campaign project council on expanding LGBTQ equality and inclusion efforts at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.