The remainder of the late US Rep. John Lewis’ term will be served by Democrat Kwanza Hall, who won control of the reliably blue seat in a House runoff special election in Georgia Tuesday, CNN projects.
Hall, a former Atlanta city councilman, will be sworn in after the election’s results are certified and serve for about a month. He will represent Georgia’s 5th Congressional District until early January, when Rep.-elect Nikema Williams takes over control of the seat, which she won in the November general election.
Though he won’t be in office for long, Hall’s win means he will forever be intertwined with the legacy of Lewis, a civil rights icon and 17-term congressman who died in July. Hall will also have a chance to participate in several upcoming legislative battles, as Congress is set to consider a broad spending bill next week in order to avert a government shutdown, among other business.
Lewis, who served the Atlanta-based district for more than three decades and was viewed “as the conscience of Congress,” was Hall’s friend, neighbor and mentor.
Lewis’ son, John-Miles Lewis, endorsed Hall in October, calling him the “perfect candidate to complete my father’s term and maintain his legacy, if only for a short time.”
Hall campaigned for the seat vowing to “ensure Lewis’ activism legacy continues” and create a “smooth transition” for Williams.
He received the most votes in September’s special election out of the seven candidates vying for the remainder of Lewis’ term.
But because no candidate broke 50% of the vote, Hall and Democrat Robert Franklin advanced to a runoff election weeks later.
Hall will serve until Williams is sworn in for the full two-year term on January 3 along with the rest of the new Congress.
The runoff election for Lewis’ remaining term has been overshadowed by Georgia’s high-stakes Senate runoff election planned for January 5. The state’s two Republican US senators are defended their seats in contests that could determine the balance of control in the upper chamber of Congress.
If either of the incumbent Republican senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, hold onto their seats, the GOP will retain its majority control in the Senate.
In November, Lewis’ district had helped flip Georgia and its 16 electoral votes to President-elect Joe Biden.