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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.”

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 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

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