Election 2020: Complete guide to the special election for John Lewis’ seat

John Lewis was the star speaker at the opening ceremony of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington in 2016. Lewis worked for 15 years to get funding from Congress for the museum. During his speech, he said, "This museum is a testament to the dignity of the dispossessed in every corner of the globe who yearn for freedom. It is a song to the scholars and scribes, scientists and teachers, to the revolutionaries and voices of protest, to the ministers and the authors of peace." (Manuel Balce Ceneta /AP)

Credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta

Credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta

A former Morehouse College president, a former candidate for Atlanta mayor, a former state representative and a current legislator are among the seven candidates who qualified for the upcoming special election to fill the remainder of Congressman John Lewis’ term.

Lewis’ death in July left a temporary void in Georgia’s Congressional District 5, and the Sept. 29 contest will help determine who will complete a term ending on Jan. 3. If none of the seven candidates wins a majority of votes that day, the top two will proceed to a runoff on Dec. 1.

The special election is a winner-take-all affair where all candidates will appear on the same ballot regardless of party affiliation. The competitors include one independent and one Libertarian; the rest are Democrats.

This race is separate from the one in November for a full two-year term in Lewis’ former district. In that contest, state Sen. Nikema Williams was selected to replace him on the ballot. She faces Republican Angela Stanton-King.

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District 5 is heavily Democratic and a member of that party is expected to win both upcoming races. Its boundaries stretch from Buckhead to College Park and include parts of DeKalb and Clayton counties.

District 5 special election candidates:

Robert Franklin, Democrat, former president of Morehouse College and theology professor at Emory University, franklinforcongress2020.com

Kwanza Hall, Democrat, former Atlanta city councilman who ran unsuccessfully for Atlanta mayor, kwanzahall.com

Barrington Martin II, Democrat, an educator who unsuccessfully challenged Lewis in the June primary, votethedream.com

Steven Muhammad, Independent, East Point minister and community activist, muhammadforcongress.org

Chase Oliver, Libertarian, customer service specialist, chaseforhouse.com

“Able” Mable Thomas, Democrat, state representative and former member of the Atlanta City Council, ablemable.com

Keisha Sean Waites, Democrat, former state representative who ran unsuccessfully in the Congressional District 13 primary, keishawaites.com

Candidate Q&A:

All seven candidates answered the AJC’s questions on topics ranging from climate change and immigration to improving healthcare during COVID-19 and Lewis' legacy. Read their responses here.

Candidate forums:

All seven candidates participated in a forum hosted by the South Metro Democratic Women’s Council on Aug. 25. Watch the replay here.

The Atlanta NAACP, NPHC of Greater Atlanta, 1380 WAOK AM and V-103 FM radio station partnered to host a "Conversation With The Candidates' on Sept. 10. Watch the replay here.

Early voting:

Fulton County: Sept. 8-11, 15-19, and 22-25. Click here for locations and hours.

DeKalb County: Sept. 8-11, 14-19, and 21-25. Click here for locations and hours.

Clayton County: Sept. 8-11 and 14-25. Click here for locations and hours.

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*This article was first published on Sept. 4, 2020, and has been updated.

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