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John Lewis' legacy looms over Georgia's 2020 election results

While the results are not yet final, many are acknowledging the late civil rights icon and his imprint on this election.

ATLANTA — As the vote margin in Georgia drew closer and closer Thursday night, an important name kept popping up on social media: John Lewis.

It was his district - Georgia's 5th - whose votes kept closing the gap. And it was Clayton County that ultimately made the flip. And while the results are not yet final, many are acknowledging the late Atlanta icon and his imprint on this election.

For, though he is not here, his shadow remains. Fresh flowers adorn his mural Downtown. His face and his quotes shine across his district.

Desiree Johnson grew up in Louisiana but now lives in metro Atlanta. 

“He never stopped," she said. "He had this idea of how it should be, how it should operate, and he kept going.”

The civil rights icon and longtime Congressman died from cancer this summer. But this week, his district – portions of Fulton, DeKalb, and Clayton counties – helped, at least for now, flip Georgia blue.

“My husband had his phone on," said Chelsea Walton, "and he said, ‘Georgia is becoming blue!’ And I quickly demanded, ‘Give me your phone. I have to see this for myself.’”

Added Donnell Bethea, “I wish he had an opportunity to see it come to pass this way … but this is our way to honor him.”

It’s not just that Georgia may have flipped to Lewis' party. It’s how many Georgians voted: nearly 5 million so far, by mail and in person, through early voting and on Election Day. In Lewis’ district, his words were placed on placards all fall, to remind his one-time constituents of his legacy.

“I think it does speak to the power of his legacy," said Thaddeus H. Nathaniel. "It's not just the outcome - that (Georgia) flipped blue - but that so many people got out and voted.”

“John Lewis went through a lot for all of us to vote,” Ham said. "He had already done everything he could have done for this country, so it was time for John Lewis to take his rest.”

On social media, Lewis' name continues to appear. It’s nothing new for a man whose shadow shines far on a day where so much feels new in Georgia.


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