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Al Lawson voted for continued action in Yemen. One of just five Dems in the House to do so. (Photo: A.G. Gancarski)

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‘Dirty politics at best,’ as ‘hacked’ Al Lawson account retweets Donald Trump

Saturday afternoon saw a couple of atypical retweets from the personal account of Rep. Al Lawson.

The RT action went to President Donald Trump, in what was either a remarkable crossing of party lines in a contested primary, or perhaps a compromised account.

After deleting the tweets, Lawson asserted the “campaign accounts” were “breached” and  “hacked,” an example of “dirty politics at best.”

Lawson’s team is looking for the hackers, we are told.

Lawson’s opponent, former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown, wasn’t buying the hack claims: “Years ago, Al Lawson hacked into right-wing, extreme Republican policies — that’s why he’s been supported by the NRA, applauds Trump’s agenda and drains billions of dollars from our public schools. Try as he might, he can’t fall back on sad excuses after years of selling out Democratic values.”

The tweets were not in keeping with Lawson’s public positions, even as he has indicated willingness to work with the President.

The first RT saw Lawson’s account support Trump’s allegations of Democratic corruption, cooperation with Russia, and bashing of the “fake news media.”

The second RT saw Lawson’s account support Trump’s imposition of tariffs against traditional U.S. allies in Mexico, Canada, and the EU, a tweet that condemned “stupid trade.”

Each of these tweets is at odds with Democratic orthodoxy.

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Brown, running against incumbent Rep. Al Lawson in North Florida’s sprawling, east-west Congressional District 5. has already messaged on a perceived Lawson affinity for Trump, launched after Lawson applauded Trump extolling a low unemployment rate for African-Americans in the 2008 State of the Union.

Lawson addressed that affinity in Jacksonville last week.

When asked about a claim from 538.com regarding his voting with President Donald Trump more often than some might like: “If it’s good legislation, doesn’t make a difference if it comes from Trump or anybody. If it benefits this area, I support it.”

“The man is the president of the United States,” Lawson added, noting that he finds it perplexing when people castigate him for not voting with the Congressional Black Caucus on every roll call vote.

“Nobody in the Black Caucus voted for me. That’s why I don’t understand when people say [I] don’t vote with the Black Caucus,” Lawson said, noting that he votes for what his district wants.

The question of Lawson clapping for the President at the last State of the Union came up also.

“There were other African-Americans there who did clap, but the camera focused on me,” Lawson said, noting that “some people take a spin, opponents and stuff, say ‘he is the President’s new best friend.”

“I’m the friend of the people who are going to help my constituents,” Lawson said, to scattered applause. “You don’t have to like the President, but if the President is doing something for the people you serve, you embrace him.”

Meanwhile, a curious tie has emerged between a Lawson donor and the Robert Mueller probe of that President.

Per Institutional Investor, hedge funder Richard Gerson is under “scrutiny” from Mueller. Gerson’s Falcon Edge Capital gave Lawson’s campaign account $2,700 recently.

Republicans, including Mayor Lenny Curry and Rep. John Rutherford, have extolled Lawson, with Rutherford maintaining a preference for the Tallahassee Democrat over the former Jacksonville Mayor.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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