Updated Monday at 2:45 p.m.
The Georgia Democratic Party has selected state Senator and party chair Nikema Williams to replace the late Congressman John Lewis on the November ballot.
Williams, a friend and mentee of Lewis’, was selected by party leaders through a virtual executive committee meeting nearly unanimously.
“My entire political life I’ve considered myself a student of the John Lewis school of politics,” she told the committee. “I studied Congressman Lewis’s work closely and practiced the art of getting into ‘good trouble.'”
Like Lewis, Williams grew up in rural Alabama. She previously worked as a special needs teacher in the Fulton County School System, in public policy for Planned Parenthood Southeast and currently as an advocate for the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Care in Action. Williams has already been representing more than 100,000 residents of the Fifth Congressional District in the state senate since 2017.
In 2018, she was arrested in the state Capitol for protesting with constituents to ensure all votes in the election were counted.
Last year she became the first black woman to chair Georgia’s Democratic Party.
“It would be the honor of my life to serve as the voice of the 5th Congressional District. I have a long career in activism, advocacy and policy to serve as a strong fighter for our communities and values nationally,” she said.
Williams’ husband, Leslie Small is a former aide and deputy campaign manager to Rep. Lewis.
Since Lewis had already won his primary, Georgia law required the party to choose a new nominee on short notice.
Williams 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.
A special election will be held to elect someone to fill out the remainder of Lewis’s term, an election that could feature Williams.
Lewis won more than 84% of the vote when he last faced a Republican opponent in the district in 2016.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.