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John Lewis's former county tipped Biden into lead in Georgia

Civil rights icon and former Rep. John LewisJohn LewisDemocrats lead in diversity in new Congress despite GOP gains Biden must look to executive action to fulfill vow to Black Americans The purposeful is political: Gen Z bowls over their doubters MORE's (D-Ga.) county in Georgia tipped Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Biden transition adds new members to coronavirus task force MORE into the lead in the state Friday as mail-in ballots, many counted from the area, broke for the former vice president. 

Lewis, who served in Congress from 1987 until his death in July of this year, represented Georgia's 5th Congressional District, which includes the Atlanta suburb of Clayton County. 

At about 4:30 a.m. Friday, a release of ballots counted in Clayton County gave Biden a lead of 917 votes in the Southern state. He pushed his lead out to 1,096 votes after another batch of ballot results came in at about 6 a.m. 

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Due to the slim margin, however, news outlets are not likely to project a winner until more absentee ballots are counted.

Should Biden be declared the winner in Georgia, he will be the first Democrat to win the state since 1992, when it was captured by former President Clinton. 

Politicians and political operatives on Friday took to Twitter to point out the county’s connection with Lewis, with former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGroups seek to get Black vote out for Democrats in Georgia runoffs Biden's political position is tougher than Trump's Valadao unseats Cox in election rematch MORE resharing a 2016 tweet from Lewis. 

In the tweet, he wrote, “The right to vote is precious, almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool or instrument in a democratic society. We must use it.”

“He would be proud today,” Clinton tweeted Friday morning

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Former Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillDemocrats must turn around Utah police arrest man driving 130 mph claiming he was going to kill former Missouri senator McCaskill congratulates Hawley on birth of daughter MORE (D) tweeted late in the evening Thursday as the county continued counting absentee ballots that a potential victory in Georgia would be “symmetry.” 

“I love the idea that Clayton County could put Biden over in GA. That’s John Lewis’ district,” she wrote. “He would do one of his trademark happy dances in heaven.”

Following the news of Biden’s new lead in the traditionally red state, McCaskill referenced a January 2017 tweet from Trump, in which he said Lewis’s congressional district was "in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested)."

After Lewis’s death in July, Trump criticized the civil rights figure, saying in an “Axios on HBO” interview in August, “I never met John Lewis, actually. He didn’t come to my inauguration. He didn’t come to my State of the Union speeches, and that’s OK. That’s his right.”

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“Again, nobody has done more for Black Americans than I have,” Trump added at the time. “He should have come. I think he made a big mistake.”

Trump’s comments drew backlash from Democrats, with some suggesting Friday that the president himself had helped fuel Clayton County’s support for Biden. 

“The moral arc of the universe is long but does, indeed, bend towards justice,” Jesse Ferguson, the former deputy national press secretary for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, tweeted early Friday

“After 4 years in pain, America believes it's time for some #GoodTrouble,” Ferguson added in a follow-up tweet, referencing Lewis’s famous remarks in support of civil disobedience. 

Clayton is the most Democratic county in Georgia, and in 2018, then-gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams received nearly 88 percent support from voters there.