When Congressman John Lewis assumed office in 1987, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had not even been born. The civil rights leader is extremely popular in Georgia’s 5th congressional district with a track record of progressive voting and a reputation of being among President Trump’s biggest nemeses.
But the 80-year-old Congressman has stiff competition emerging in the form of Angela Stanton-King. The activist is now a candidate for Lewis’ seat following a pardon from the President. That’s actually old news in the coronavirus news cycle, but what’s new is our analysis of the race. It’s not hopeless. In fact, it’s far from it.
Despite Democrats having a stranglehold on the district, which includes Atlanta, for nearly five decades, this years’s race has some intriguing elements that could combine as a perfect storm for Stanton-King to win it. Lewis is, for the first time, facing a primary opponent. Barrington Martin is running against him from the left. The proponent of Universal Basic Income, a la Andrew Yang, is adamantly opposed to Joe Biden for President. He supports Bernie Sanders now that Yang has left the race and has been pushing for Sanders to embrace UBI on his platform.
Martin’s presence in the race isn’t seen as a major challenge to Lewis whose popularity and name recognition are among the highest in the nation for a Congressman. But there are concerns that Lewis’ age and his recent diagnosis of pancreatic cancer could prompt voters to consider the much-younger Martin in the primary. Like Ocasio-Cortez, Martin had not been born before Lewis took office.
The young progressive poses two problems for Lewis. The primary may force Lewis to spend campaign dollars before the general election if Martin gets traction. But more importantly, Martin will certainly highlight Lewis as part of the Democratic Establishment, signaling to many radical progressive voters in the area that he, like Biden, is actually an enemy to the movement encapsulated by Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez, and the Justice Democrats. As our EIC noted before, the Justice Democrats may quietly oppose Establishment Democrats across the nation.
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This could create a small opening for Stanton-King. A small opening is all she needs. She is far from an Establishment Republican, embracing populist principles prominent in President Trump’s platform. She is a strong defender of life and has been one of the most effective people we’ve seen at delivering the pro-life message, particularly to the Black community that is targeted by organizations like Planned Parenthood.
Her staunch support for the military and belief in President Trump’s populist perspectives on criminal justice reform help to make her a very different Republican candidate than anything the 5th district has ever seen. But the real asset she has going for her is passion. She is an inspiring figure who can rally support from those who are sick of the DC status quo that has hurt the people of Atlanta for decades. Lewis represents that status quo while Martin, if he should win the nomination for the Democrats, represents a radical element that may be too far to the left for many 5th district voters.
She is very active on Twitter, but thus far has not been verified. This needs to change.
— JD Rucker (@JDRucker) March 10, 2020
If the national GOP can ignore the voting history of Georgia’s 5th district and realize the potential Angela Stanton-King has of winning the seat, she has a good chance of making some new history of her own. We proudly endorse her candidacy.
— NOQ Report (@NoqReport) March 10, 2020