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?