Federal holidays don’t stop the hard hits in the Democratic primary for Florida’s 5th Congressional District.
On Monday, as has been the case for weeks, challenger Alvin Brown laid into Rep. Al Lawson.
Then Lawson hit back. Then Brown hit back, yet again.
All of this over a $2,500 donation from the gun lobby that Brown says Lawson got and Lawson denies.
The genesis: the former Jacksonville Mayor noted, via a media release, that Lawson was the sole Florida Democrat to take money from the National Rifle Association.
“Despite Rep. Al Lawson’s statement last week decrying the ‘stranglehold of the gun lobby,’ Rep. Al Lawson is just another Washington politician who has taken campaign contributions from the NRA in return for inaction on gun violence. Late last year, Lawson proudly took $2,500 from the NRA — making Lawson the only member of Florida’s Democratic delegation to accept money from the gun lobby.”
Former Mayor Brown, as he did with Lawson’s decision to applaud President Donald Trump during the State of the Union, clearly relished the opportunity to paint Lawson as being outside the mainstream of the party.
“It is shameful that my opponent talks out of both sides of his mouth in an effort to score political points as families mourn the loss of their children. Unlike Al Lawson who hypocritically takes blood money from the NRA, I will never accept campaign contributions from the gun lobby. If Lawson wants any credibility on this issue, he must return the money he took from the NRA immediately,” Brown said.
Lawson responded Monday, saying flat out that Brown was “lying” about his record.
“Once again, Alvin Brown and his campaign are lying. Not only have I not taken any money from the National Rifle Association or any of its affiliates, I also have scored a zero on issues important to the NRA,” Lawson asserted, seemingly contradicting Q3 2017 reports.
“If Mr. Brown did some actual research, he would see that there are no contributions from the NRA on my campaign report, or any expenditures from the NRA, or their political action committees to my campaign,” Lawson added, saying that “Brown is trying to use this national tragedy to fundraise and revive his failed political career.”
Brown’s team came back with a link from OpenSecrets.Org that asserted that Lawson did in fact take $2,500 from the National Rifle Association.
Lawson’s team countered that the website is wrong. Though the Federal Elections Commission site seems to confirm the data, and does in fact show an Aug. 24 2017 donation.
“The website that Alvin is sourcing is incorrect. The documents that were attached in my previous email (and attached once more) are from the NRA. Why cite a secondhand source when you can get the information directly from the FEC form? Clearly, Mr. Brown is promoting a false claim simply for a headline.”
Lawson “welcomed” Brown to the race by saying he would retire the former Jacksonville mayor.
What’s clear is that things haven’t gotten more cordial between the two moderate Democrats. And, we hear, more is coming from the Brown camp this week.