John Lewis’s son endorses Kwanza Hall in 5th District special election

7/29/20 - Atlanta, GA - John-Miles Lewis, the son of Rep. John Lewis, holds onto a Georgia State flag he was given after a ceremony in the state capitol rotunda. On the fifth day of the “Celebration of Life” for Rep. John Lewis, Lewis’s body and and family members returned to Georgia for ceremonies at the State Capitol where he will also lie in state until his funeral on Thursday. Alyssa Pointer / alyssa.pointer@ajc.com

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

The only child of Congressman John Lewis has endorsed Kwanza Hall in the runoff election to name his dad’s successor.

John-Miles Lewis is encouraging the other candidate in the race, Robert Franklin, to step aside and allow Hall to be sworn in right away. But it doesn’t appear that state law would allow that.

John Lewis, who served in Congress for nearly 34 years, died in July. Hall, a former Atlanta City councilman, grew up near the Lewis home and is a friend of the family.

“I’ve known Kwanza Hall for decades,” John-Miles Lewis said in a news release announcing the endorsement. "He is the perfect candidate to complete my father’s term and maintain his legacy, if only for a short time. He is the right choice.”

Hall and Franklin, former president of Morehouse College, are slated to meet in a Dec. 1 runoff after finishing in the top two in the Sept. 29 special election. Hall had the most votes, followed by Franklin who raised the most money. Both men are Democrats.

Franklin pointed out that he received 29% of the vote in the special election compared to Hall’s 32%. That is far from a mandate from voters, he said, and he has no intentions of dropping out of the race.

“I prefer to trust the people and avoid unusual processes that negate votes that have already been cast," he said.

Franklin also consulted an election attorney who told the candidate that if he stepped aside the third-place finisher would take his place on the December ballot.

Whoever wins the runoff will only serve for about a month because on Jan. 3 the winner of the general election will be sworn in for a full two-year term. That person is likely to be state senator and Democratic Party of Georgia Chairwoman Nikema Williams.

In his endorsement of Hall, the younger Lewis opines that the 5th Congressional District would be better served by allowing a candidate to begin working right away and not waiting until after the runoff.

“Our country is in crisis,” he said. “Now more than ever, the 5th Congressional District of Georgia needs to be represented with a voice and a vote.”

Franklin said the special election schedule left him similarly frustrated about the amount of time the seat is left empty, but that is outside of his or any candidate’s control.

ExploreHall, Franklin to face each other in runoff to succeed U.S. Rep. John Lewis
ExploreGeorgia 5th District special election results

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