ATLANTA — Congressman John Lewis's death late Friday creates a large void in the House of Representatives and Georgia's delegation in Washington.
Georgia Democrats will be asked to pick a candidate to replace Lewis on the November ballot, according to Jordan Fuchs, chief of state to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
Lewis, a Democrat, was set to face Republican Angela Stanton King in November. King, a former reality TV star who spent time in prison on federal conspiracy charges for her role in a car theft ring, will remain on the ballot.
The question is who the state party's executive committee will name to replace Lewis. That Democrat will automatically become the frontrunner to win the heavily Democratic seat in November. The seat is rooted in the city of Atlanta.
Candidates who could replace Lewis on the ballot include former state House Rep. Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for Georgia governor in 2018. Abrams is reportedly on the shortlist of those under consideration by Democrat Joe Biden as his vice-presidential running mate.
Other candidates could include former Atlanta city council presidents Ceasar Mitchell and Cathy Woolard, as well as state Rep. "Able" Mable Thomas.
Neither Abrams nor state Democratic party chair state Sen. Nikema Williams immediately responded to requests for comment.
Unlike the US Senate, there is no provision in state law for the Governor to appoint an interim replacement for Members of Congress whose seats are vacated.
There is a provision, however, requiring a special election.
Technically, the state appears to be obliged to call a special election to fill the remainder of Lewis's term, which expires in January 2021.
But it is likely that election wouldn't be held prior to November -- and could require a subsequent runoff that would render the outcome all-but moot.
The winner of a special election would have to yield in January 2021 to the winner of the November General Election between King and whomever the Democrats name to replace Lewis.
John Lewis, civil rights icon
REMEMBERING JOHN LEWIS |
Tributes to Rep. John Lewis shared by civil rights luminaries, colleagues, celebrities across the globe