Alvin Brown – Page 7 – Florida Politics

NPR host Al Letson blasts Congressional candidate Alvin Brown

The news never slows down in the Democratic primary battle in Florida’s 5th Congressional District.

Just one day after former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown touted a swath of Jacksonville endorsements that included that of Lisa King, the chair of the Duval County Democrats, an NPR host from Jacksonville pilloried former Mayor Brown.

“For example: let’s say you are the first black mayor of a large southern city… all these hopes and dreams are pinned to you,” NPR host Al Letson Tweeted, “but you won’t stand for anything cause rich republicans put you in power… (American politics makes for strange bedfellows). All those hopes and dreams just flap in the wind.”

Brown’s ascension to the mayor’s office was fueled by traditionally Republican donors pivoting to him instead of the hard right Mike Hogan in 2011; once in office, Brown struck a deliberately non-partisan posture until the waning days of his re-election bid.

Letson then pointed out the attrition in African-American vote in 2015, along with Brown’s own demeanor, as a way of telling Brown that perhaps he shouldn’t run for Congress.

“You get voted out cause you didn’t do anything, you didn’t talk to your base, took for granted that blk ppl will carry you. And generally acted like the city owed you something. Maybe instead of standing up later for hirer office you should sit down,” Letson asserted.

“There is enough inertia in DC without you joining the party. if you show up to events for a photo op, but don’t roll up your sleeves when it’s time to put in work… maybe you should sit down,” Letson added.

Letson then finished off with a shot across the bow of Brown’s current messaging as a moderate Democrat, castigating the former mayor for his fecklessness on an LGBT rights ordinance that some say Brown squashed with behind the scenes influence.

“If you don’t have the stones to stand for basic human rights in city politics… I mean dude, BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS, like, employers can’t fire someone because they are gay… I mean that’s basic. If you [can’t] stand for it on a local level… Don’t stand for a national seat,” Letson asserted.

LGBT rights were codified in city ordinance soon after Brown left office.

Letson’s blast of Brown is the clearest crystallization yet of resistance to the former mayor’s political rebirth by progressives who remember those four years locally.

Brown, when running for re-election in 2015, was ambivalent about his Democratic Party connections.

The apogee of that ambivalence was when, after a debate with current Mayor Lenny Curry, Brown professed to be unaware of what Curry was talking about when he said that Brown was a 2012 delegate for President Barack Obama.

Brown was left without allies on the right and the left in the end. Hopes of bringing in former President Obama or First Lady Michelle Obama were dashed, and Gov. Rick Scott endorsed his friend Lenny Curry, neatly kneecapping years of co-branding between Mayor Brown and the Governor.

Brown’s reinvention comes at a time when he is running against a candidate, Al Lawson, who became nationally prominent in the last week for being the only Congressional Black Caucus member to applaud President Donald Trump during the State of the Union address.

Requests for comment from the Brown campaign were not immediately returned.

Congressional candidate Rontel Batie: ‘This race is far from over’

Rontel Batie is not the incumbent in the Democratic primary in Florida’s 5th Congressional District; that’s Al Lawson.

Nor is he the former mayor of the biggest city in the district: that’s Alvin Brown.

Nonetheless, Batie (who carried a meager $4,314 cash on hand out of 2017, compared to Lawson’s $100,531), asserts that “this race is far from over.”

In an email late Wednesday, Batie served up zingers about Lawson and Brown both.

“Al Lawson broke with the CBC and was seen cheering on President Trump during his State of the Union address. This was done in spite of Trump’s yearlong assault on black men who’ve used their platforms to protest injustice, like Jay-Z, Lavar Ball and NFL players who kneel during the anthem,” Batie wrote.

“Also, Alvin Brown, Jacksonville’s former Mayor who lost his reelection after being singled out for being one of the only Democrats in the country to refuse to support President Obama in 2012, (among many other political missteps), has entered the race,” Batie added.

Both of these assertions are questionable: Lawson tepidly applauded Trump saying that black unemployment was down, and Brown was an Obama re-election delegate.

Batie also served up two new endorsements.

Luis Zaldivar, the President of Northeast Florida Democratic Progressive Caucus, asserted that Batie “embodies the values that will move Duval County forward.”

Former Lake City Commissioner Glenel Bowden called Batie “the only progressive candidate in the race.”

Batie isn’t going away, and this occasions parallels to the 2016 race, where underfunded L.J. Holloway sheared votes from Lawson and Corrine Brown.

Lawson won the three way primary with just over 47 percent of the vote, with Brown coming in with 38 percent. Holloway, who had little fundraising momentum and few meaningful endorsements, was able to undercut Corrine Brown on the eastern side of the district.

Could history repeat in the 2018 primary?

Batie is in the race through August, and it’s entirely possible that Lawson could again win the nomination with less than 50 percent of the vote, via a spoiler candidate who doesn’t do enough to win, but who does enough to ensure the Jacksonville candidate can’t.

Duval Democratic Party chair endorses Alvin Brown for Congress

Duval County Democratic Party chair Lisa King leads a wave of Jacksonville endorsements for Alvin Brown for Congress.

The endorsement of King, appointed to Jacksonville’s Planning Commission during former Mayor Brown’s tenure, and other prominent local Democrats signals that Brown’s implicit desire to make the Democratic primary race with Al Lawson in Florida’s 5th Congressional District a matter of “Duval Vs. All Y’all” (to borrow a phrase from current Mayor Lenny Curry).

“This election is too important to sit on the sidelines, and I am thrilled to endorse Alvin Brown for Congress. His exemplary record of fighting for higher wages, a stronger education system for our kids, and more job opportunities for our servicemen and women proves what kind of representative he will be for the 5th District. As a military mom, I know that Alvin Brown will bring the voice and energy we need to address the serious issues facing Florida and our country,” King asserted.

Other endorsers rolled out in Wednesday’s wave include former Jacksonville Human Rights Commission Chair Mario Decunto, Duval County Black Caucus Chair Hazel Gillis, and former Northeast Florida United Way CEO Connie Hodges.

“As we begin our people empowerment campaign, I am honored to receive support from local leaders who have dedicated their lives to giving a voice to the voiceless. We have a long fight ahead of us when it comes to improving the quality of life for all Floridians, and in Congress, I will be on the frontlines as we take on that fight to improve the quality of life for all in the 5th Congressional District,” Brown asserted.

Brown is taking advantage of an as yet unlaunched re-election campaign by Lawson to score some news cycle wins.

He rolled out the endorsement of former Congressional Black Caucus Chair Emanuel Cleaver last week, and he also has messaged heavily on the incongruity of Lawson applauding President Donald Trump during the State of the Union.

Al Lawson applauds Donald Trump, gets hammered by Alvin Brown

A tough Democratic primary awaits Rep. Al Lawson in Florida’s 5th Congressional District against former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown.

And the conservative Daily Caller website may have made it tougher Wednesday, by serving up a post lauding Lawson for applauding President Donald Trump during Tuesday evening’s State of the Union. (The SEO title, meanwhile, was the misleading “CBC Member Applauds Black Unemployment”).

The article, entitled “Only one member of the Congressional Black Caucus applauded low black unemployment,” noted that Lawson “was seen clapping for Trump’s comments about the success of the economy, specifically African-American unemployment, as cameras immediately turned to the group during his speech. Other members of the CBC refused to stand or applaud his comments on the low unemployment claims for African-Americans since he has taken office.”

As Trump said “African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded,” cameras panned the crowd, focusing on CBC members.

Lawson was alone applauding, though he did not give a standing ovation as Republicans did.

Lawson has asserted that he is in sync with his CBC colleagues; however, a point of evidence to the contrary emerged on Wednesday when former CBC Chair Emanuel Cleaver endorsed Alvin Brown.

Brown fired back with a response to the Daily Caller article Wednesday.

“It is deeply troubling that Al Lawson claps for the Trump agenda in Washington as people back home struggle to make ends meet. While the black jobless rate is at its lowest levels following President Obama’s years of hard work, there remains more to be done,” the former Jacksonville Mayor said.

“Black unemployment remains nearly twice as high as the white jobless rate, as does the black poverty rate, and unlike Rep. Lawson who apparently is content with this alternate reality, I am committed to fighting for economic security and opportunity for all in our community in Congress,” Brown continued.

Lawson prides himself on his willingness to work across the aisle; it remains to be seen if that is a priority of primary voters in 2018.

Alvin Brown scores endorsement from former Congressional Black Caucus chair

The second day of former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown‘s primary challenge to Rep. Al Lawson in Florida’s 6th Congressional District brought Brown his first endorsement.

Emanuel Cleaver II, a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, endorsed Brown Wednesday.

“Alvin Brown has been my friend for more than two decades. However, I am not just supporting him for the 5th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives out of our friendship. I have extraordinary respect for Alvin Brown — as a leader, a family man and as a man of outstanding character,” Cleaver said.

“Alvin is a leader. To be sure, his style of leadership is thoughtful but direct. He will not spend valuable time in fault finding but [will focus on] fault fixing. The people of Florida will never regret sending Alvin Brown to The House,” Cleaver continued.

“I am humbled and honored to receive Congressman Cleaver’s endorsement as I’ve known the Congressman for many years and greatly admire what he’s been able to accomplish for the people of his district, and for African Americans across the country. I look forward to working with him to increase wages and put more money in Americans’ pockets, to ensure every child has access to a quality education, and to make affordable health care a reality for every Floridian,” Brown said.

Brown worked with Congressional Black Caucus members early in his political career, in roles with then-Vice President Al Gore and at HUD with Secretary Andrew Cuomo.

In Brown’s losing 2015 re-election campaign for Mayor, South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn extolled Brown, whose “roots run deep” in Clyburn’s Low Country South Carolina district, and who provided a huge help to Clyburn when he was in Washington.

“This young man, when he was in the White House, we never had to worry about our issues getting through,” said Clyburn. “He knows how to get the job done. Take issues to him; he knows the system.”

Much of the insider chatter before this race formally began had to do with how aligned Lawson was with CBC priorities.

In an interview with Florida Politics Tuesday, Lawson didn’t seem worried about CBC attrition.

“The leadership in the CBC is all behind me. I meet with them every week,” Lawson said.

Lawson’s confidence was unshaken by Corrine Brown bringing Alvin Brown to D.C. last year to test the waters.

“Corrine had Alvin up there, but the CBC does not get involved in primary elections,” Lawson said. “We’ll be in great shape to run.”

Clearly, one CBC member — a former chair, no less — is involved.

This endorsement comes on the heels of Edward Waters College President Nat Glover disputing Lawson’s claim that Brown tried to become EWC President but “didn’t make the short list.”

Alvin Brown camp blasts ‘privileged Congressman’ Al Lawson

Day one of the nascent CD 5 primary campaign between incumbent Congressman Al Lawson and former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown hasn’t lacked for fireworks.

Late this morning, in response to Brown entering the race, Lawson blasted the Jacksonville Democrat as being a careerist looking for his next gig, after failing as mayor.

“Alvin failed as mayor,” Lawson said bluntly, “and a lot of people in Duval are saying he’s just looking for a job. If he’s looking for a job, this is the wrong place to look.”

“People I speak to weren’t thrilled with [Brown] as Mayor,” Lawson said, adding that he believes Brown is running because “he needs a job.”

“He was trying to be Edward Waters College President,” Lawson said, “but he didn’t make the shortlist.” 

[NOTE: EWC President Nat Glover denies the claim in comments to POLITICO Florida.]

Lawson saw it as ironic that Brown was running against him, given that at multiple points in the past, “he wanted me to help him raise money” for campaigns.

Lawson vowed that his campaign would “retire” Brown

Brown’s campaign fired back Tuesday afternoon, calling Lawson a “privileged Congressman” who’d “gone Washington.”

“After Mayor Brown heard from voters in CD-5, there is a clear sense that Lawson seems generally uninterested in serving the district and has gone Washington,” Brown’s campaign asserted.

“At a time when civil rights, voting rights, immigrant rights and women’s rights are under attack, Lawson seems content to live the life of a privileged Congressman who refuses to fight for the people of his district,” Brown’s camp added.

We have reached out to Lawson’s camp for response to this riposte from the Brown campaign.

Lackluster fundraising for Al Lawson, while John Rutherford continues to bank

First-term Jacksonville area Congressmen Al Lawson, a Democrat, and John Rutherford, a Republican, reported their final fundraising numbers for 2017 this week.

Lawson is going to have to step up his fundraising game this quarter, or trouble may be ahead.

Lawson, the incumbent in Florida’s CD 5, closed 2017 with $100,531 on hand, off of $235,281 raised.

Perhaps worryingly, Lawson brought in just over $44,000 ($36,500 from PACs) with $41,000 of expenditures in the same period. The bulk of the spend was on fundraising consulting and campaign management, raising questions of ROI at least in the short term.

Among Lawson’s Q4 donors were CSX, labor union LIUNA, Anheuser-Busch, NextEra, Clear Channel/iHeart Media, AT&T, and Northrup Grumman.

Lawson’s numbers are of particular interest, as former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown announced a long-expected decision to primary Lawson on Tuesday.

Brown raised big money as an incumbent mayor in his failed re-election bid; however, it is an open question as to how the donor class will regard Brown’s political comeback.

It is by no means a sure thing that the Jacksonville business community will back Brown, given that there is a comfort level with local stakeholders with how Lawson has fought for Jacksonville interests in Congress.

However, that comfort level has yet to translate into a massive nest egg, and Q1 numbers for Brown and Lawson will be of major interest throughout the sprawling North Florida district.

Meanwhile, Republican Rutherford, who represents Florida’s CD 4, which includes Nassau, much of Duval, and St. Johns, is right on track for an uneventful re-election bid.

Rutherford ended 2017 with $183,748 on hand, bringing in $74,800 in Q4 and spending just over $37,000 of that.

Rutherford got PAC donations, including from the Republican Main Street PAC and More Conservatives PAC.

Corporations — from Comcast to Crowley Maritime, and from General Dynamics to General Electric — likewise backed the former Jacksonville sheriff. As did trade groups, such as national realtors and broadcasters committees.

Al Lawson on Alvin Brown: ‘We’re going to retire him’

As Florida Politics predicted since Corrine Brown‘s legal fate was still in doubt, former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown is making his move.

Less than 24 hours after the former Democratic congresswoman reported to prison, Brown declared to the Florida Times-Union that he was running for Corrine Brown’s old seat.

“These challenging times call for each of us to stand up and speak out about the kind of community in which we want to live,” Alvin Brown said in a statement Tuesday. “North Florida deserves a pragmatic, visionary leader who will aggressively champion policies that create good-paying jobs, ensure economic and financial security for all, and improve our overall quality of life.”

Alvin Brown, since last spring, has told people that he would file as soon as Corrine Brown was out of the news.

And lo! It came to pass.

Now Alvin Brown is attempting to do what Corrine Brown couldn’t: beat U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, a popular Tallahassee politician who beat Corrine Brown in all but two counties in the district.

The Times-Union article spotlights the perceived Tallahassee/Jacksonville divide in the district, calling Brown’s bid a “race of redemption not just for his own political career, but also for Jacksonville, which saw its decades-long hold on the congressional district end in 2016 when Lawson defeated former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown.”

Rep. Lawson, in a candid phone conversation with Florida Politics Tuesday morning, eviscerated his primary challenger, painting him as an opportunist looking for his next gig.

“He’s been telling people for months he is going to run,” Lawson said. “We welcome the challenge.”

Lawson rejected the idea that the race is Jacksonville versus Tallahassee.

“The district stretches from Gadsden County to Duval,” and Alvin Brown’s strategy, said Lawson, is “similar to what Corrine tried to do.”

“It won’t work. You have to be concerned about the whole district. You can’t just run a campaign out of Duval,” Lawson said.

Lawson was unsparing in his assessment of Alvin Brown’s single term as Jacksonville mayor.

“Alvin failed as mayor,” Lawson said bluntly, “and a lot of people in Duval are saying he’s just looking for a job. If he’s looking for a job, this is the wrong place to look.”

Alvin Brown, said Lawson, “wants to split the district. We don’t have enough clout to do that. We need to work together.”

To that end, Lawson has built a strong alliance with John Rutherford on regional issues. Laying the groundwork for that, Lawson said, was when both men ran in 2016.

“During the course of the campaign,” Lawson said, “I met with [Rutherford] a couple of times.”

They keep each other looped in when it comes to regional issues; it almost goes without saying that Alvin Brown, were he to win, wouldn’t be able to have that kind of relationship with Rutherford, a former sheriff with whom he battled during his term.

Lawson also touted his work with Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry as key, saying that party affiliation doesn’t preclude collaboration and that Curry and Lawson have a “strong relationship.”

“I have served with many Republicans in Tallahassee,” Lawson — an expert in the legislative process — said.

Lawson wasn’t nearly finished talking about the race.

When asked if the Congressional Black Caucus would back Alvin Brown, Lawson was blunt.

“That won’t happen,” Lawson said. “The leadership in the CBC is all behind me. I meet with them every week.”

Lawson has been a voice of reason, he said, successfully cautioning against a proposed walkout of Tuesday evening’s State of the Union address.

And Lawson’s influence with the CBC happened despite Corrine Brown bringing Alvin Brown to D.C. last year to test the waters.

“Corrine had Alvin up there, but the CBC does not get involved in primary elections,” Lawson said. “We’ll be in great shape to run.”

Lawson, over the last two years, has “a lot more inroads in Jacksonville than ever before,” and is meeting Friday with the Jacksonville Chamber and Florida Blue.

And Lawson isn’t worried about what comes next in Jacksonville.

“People I speak to weren’t thrilled with [Alvin Brown] as Mayor,” Lawson said, adding that he believes Alvin Brown is running because “he needs a job.”

“He was trying to be Edward Waters College president,” Lawson said, “but he didn’t make the shortlist.” [NOTE: EWC President Nat Glover denies the claim in comments to POLITICO Florida].

Lawson saw it as ironic that Brown was running against him, given that at multiple points in the past, “he wanted me to help him raise money.”

Now he’s going to help Alvin Brown with something else.

“We’re going to retire him,” Lawson said.

Lawson has made his plays to prove his Jacksonville bona fides.

Among them: spending lots of time in Jacksonville after Hurricane Irma, taking a Jacksonville guest, Paul Tutwiler, to the State of the Union Tuesday evening, and filing the Flood Water Relief Act — which would bring $116 million to Jacksonville to help with storm hardening.

Alvin Brown will have some fence-mending ahead of him.

Some Jacksonville Democrats were less than enthused by his mayoral re-election bid, in which he essentially rejected Democratic orthodoxy until he started falling behind now-Mayor Curry in public polls.

Alvin Brown began to embrace proposals as a candidate, such as a minimum-wage increase, that he never embraced as mayor.

Alvin Brown also took heat from white liberals for failing to support an expansion of Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance to include the LGBT community — something that happened, ironically, only after he left office.

Some Democrats on City Council at the time said Alvin Brown worked to squash the bill in 2012.

“There was pressure to not vote for it,” Johnny Gaffney said, echoing allegations made by Denise Lee to this reporter that rumors were that Mayor Brown pushed Gaffney not to vote for it, that rumors were that “Johnny Gaffney was pressured to change his mind,” and that rumors said that he would veto it if it passed (an echo of persistent rumors since 2012).

There are also questions as to Alvin Brown’s support in the African-American community, and how much buy-in he has from the Duval donor class.

We asked Lisa King, leader of the Duval Democratic Party, for comment.

“Mayor Brown has a strong record of accomplishment and will be a formidable candidate,” King texted.

That record will be part of the discussion — though how much it matters west of the county line is up for debate.

All of that said, it boils down to one thing.

Alvin Brown wanted a battle.

And Al Lawson will give it to him.

We reached out to Brown’s campaign for response, and they offered it Tuesday afternoon.

“After Mayor Brown heard from voters in CD-5, there is a clear sense that Lawson seems generally uninterested in serving the district and has gone Washington. At a time when civil rights, voting rights, immigrant rights and women’s rights are under attack, Lawson seems content to live the life of a privileged Congressman who refuses to fight for the people of his district,” the campaign said via written statement.

With Corrine Brown gone, does Alvin Brown run?

A persistent pitter-pat has dripped from the rumor mill of Jacksonville politics for close to a year now, regarding the inevitable Jacksonville challenge to Al Lawson.

Once Corrine Brown was out of the headlines, former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown would launch his run for Congress to take back Corrine’s seat.

“Word in the halls is that former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown is waiting until Queen Corrine is out of the headlines before launching his Congressional bid.”

That was from a story we did in May of last year.

A variation on the same theme, from November: “Brown has told at least one leading Jacksonville Democrat that his plan was to launch a campaign after Corrine Brown is out of the news.”

Corrine Brown dominated her last news cycle on Monday. She’s now in lockdown downstate, for five years.

So now, for Alvin Brown, it’s go time.

Does he jump into the race for Congress?

Some locals have suggested such — connected Jacksonville and D.C. Democrats, in conversations with this writer, say he’ll get into the race this week.

If not now, when?

Jumping into the race gives him six months until the primary.

While we are still waiting to see Rep. Lawson’s year end financial report, the cash on hand he had at the end of September — $97,768 — won’t scare anyone off.

Jaguars owner Shad Khan routinely writes those kinds of checks for Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry‘s political committee.

Fun fact: Alvin Brown was in Shad Khan’s box at the last Jaguars home game. Word is he really wanted to be there. And lest we forget, Brown and Khan did a lot of business together, as a $41 million city investment in EverBank Field scoreboards shows.

And Khan, who has not backed Lawson financially, was a big Brown backer through the 2015 election.

Other Jacksonville donors also can make that action happen very quickly.

Lawson has struggled to connect with Jacksonville — which is not to say he hasn’t tried.

He’s taking a Jacksonville guest, Paul Tutwiler, to the State of the Union Tuesday evening.

And he’s filed the Flood Water Relief Act — which would bring $116 million to Jacksonville to help with storm hardening … but he hasn’t gotten that one through committee.

One wonders how some Jacksonville Republicans would deal with U.S. Rep. Alvin Brown; recall that Jacksonville Republican John Rutherford was at war with the Mayor’s Office for much of Brown’s sole term, before working as a shiv-out surrogate for Curry during the 2015 campaign.

Brown said Rutherford had enough budget to run the Sheriff’s Office. Rutherford said Brown was starving the department.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, when we asked him months back, was noncommittal to any particular advantage that Brown would bring to Jacksonville.

“I have a great working relationship with Al Lawson,” Curry said.

However Republicans feel about Alvin Brown, conditions may be conducive to juicing Duval primary turnout, with a must-see primary shaping up between Senate Minority Leader Designate Audrey Gibson and Jacksonville City Councilman Reggie Brown.

Reggie Brown doesn’t BS.

“I am running [because] I believe I can bring more state $ to North Florida and the time to do it is now!”

Reggie Brown is all in. He knows he has a generational opportunity. He believes he can knock over the person who would otherwise be the most powerful Democrat in the Senate.

Alvin Brown doesn’t lack for confidence either.

If not now, when?

Al Lawson won’t walk out of State of the Union, even if Congressional Black Caucus does

President Donald Trump will give the State of the Union address next week and, according to Buzzfeed, the Congressional Black Caucus plans action.

“We could go, we could go and walk out, we could go and hold up fists … or we could not go, or we could hold our own State of the Union,” CBC Chair Cedric Richmond said.

“We don’t really care what [Trump] thinks about us,” Richmond added.

If a protest action is planned by the CBC, there is no guarantee of universal participation.

U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, a Democrat whose district runs from Tallahassee to Jacksonville, won’t walk out, per his office.

“Congressman Lawson will be in attendance for the entire State of the Union,” asserted Stephanie Lambert, Lawson’s comms director, Tuesday.

Lawson, a moderate Democrat who has been able to collaborate with conservative Republican colleagues John Rutherford and Neal Dunn on issues of Florida import, has not walked in lockstep with the CBC — and this deviation from caucus orthodoxy is but the latest example.

In December, Lawson broke with CBC members who asserted that Rep. John Conyers was being judged more harshly on sexual harassment than other Congressmen by asserting that there was no “double standard” being applied.

Lawson’s lack of fealty to the caucus has become an issue, of sorts, in his nascent re-election campaign.

Primary challenger Rontel Batie asserted that Lawson broke with the caucus on issues like vouchers and charter schools.

Batie, a former Corrine Brown staffer, has gone through political training via the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

Batie, meanwhile, may not even be the choice of Corrine Brown — or CBC members.

Sources tell us that Corrine Brown was in Washington with Alvin Brown earlier this year, giving CBC members the stamp of approval, should Alvin Brown primary Lawson as expected.

Corrine Brown is held in high esteem with CBC members, so much so that many of them wrote on Brown’s behalf after her trial, calling for leniency in sentencing.

In his re-election campaign in 2015, current CBC Chair Cedric Richmond came to Jacksonville to stump for then-Mayor Brown’s re-election campaign.

Alvin Brown also worked for another CBC legend — South Carolina’s James Clyburn — years back, another indication of strong networking that Lawson won’t have access to should a competitive primary manifest.

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