Georgia state Sen. Nikema Williams, the chair of the state’s Democratic Party, will replace the late Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., on the ballot in this November’s general election following the civil rights icon’s death late last week from stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
The executive committee of the Democratic Party of Georgia voted overwhelmingly on Monday for Williams to take Lewis’ spot on the ballot for the Atlanta-area 5th Congressional District after the longtime congressman and civil rights leader’s death last week.
Williams, 41, was chosen from a list of five finalists as the group works to quickly fill the spot in accordance with state law. She is nearly assured of winning in November in the heavily Democratic district as she faces off against Angela Stanton-King, a Republican, on Nov.3.
Lewis won more than 84 percent 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.
Georgia Democrats said over the weekend that at least 131 people had applied to be tapped to fill the spot vacated upon Lewis’ death.
Williams beat out state Rep. Park Cannon, Georgia NAACP President James Woodall, Atlanta city councilman Andre Dickens and Robert Franklin, former president of Morehouse College in Atlanta.
Williams has served in the state Senate since 2017 and is the current chair of state Democratic Party. She 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, 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.
Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche and The Associated Press contributed to this report.