Alvin Brown, Al Lawson exchange jabs in CD 5 primary clash


Many political watchers note that Congressman Al Lawson and former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown, both running in the Blue Dog-heavy 5th Congressional District, have more similarities than differences.

Perhaps with that in mind, the campaigns both went on offense Tuesday.

Lawson trumpeted an endorsement in Brown’s hometown, via the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters, which joined the local Fraternal Order of Police in backing the Tallahassee incumbent.

JAFF head Randy Wyse drove the dagger into the back of the former mayor: “We are confident that Lawson will do right by our city.”

Brown got a counter, via the Tallahassee Democrat, in which he claimed Lawson missed a lot of votes: 8.6 percent, roughly three times as many as the average House member.

Lawson offered a counter to Brown, who he has characterized as a “failed mayor … looking for his next job” on numerous occasions.

“I got rated as one of the top 13 freshmen in Washington. I’ve passed four pieces of legislation that sent millions of dollars to Jacksonville for dredging and for a bus system in Tallahassee,” said Lawson, adding that Rep. Corrine Brown (currently locked up until the early 2020s for a scheme to defraud) “was there for 24 years and didn’t get anything passed.”

Whether Alvin Brown defends the record of Corrine Brown, who sources say was squiring Alvin Brown around D.C. before her incarceration, remains to be seen.

Lawson, meanwhile, went on offense in a fundraising email against “Absent Alvin.”

“What Alvin Brown fails to understand is that the votes I missed happened while I was working to help families recover from Hurricane Irma, helping displaced persons find shelter and securing $85 million in Disaster Relief SNAP benefits to feed more than 300,000 people immediately after the storm,” Lawson said.

“While Alvin Brown was sitting on the sideline, I was doing the real work and showing up for the people of Florida’s 5th Congressional District,” Lawson added.

“ABSENT ALVIN wouldn’t even lift a sandbag for the people and community he previously represented, but wants to attack my 30-year record of serving the people of Florida and coming through when they needed assistance most,” Lawson continued.

“For six months, my opponent has actually talked more about my record, Donald Trump and the NRA; yet he WON’T mention his own record and failed administration as mayor of Jacksonville,” Lawson declared.

That record included, per Lawson, shunning President Barack Obama when he came to Jacksonville (an issue that cropped up during the Jacksonville mayor’s race, and still rankles African-American Democrats who saw Brown, the city’s first black mayor, as analogous to Obama).

Lawson denied Brown’s charges that he was a pro-NRA, pro-Trump Democrat, before showing that he’s been getting some help in the oppo game.

“As mayor, ABSENT ALVIN could barely produce receipts for taxpayer-funded trips to Brazil and the Professional Basketball Hall of Fame — while the city of Jacksonville was struggling with crime.”

Then, the kicker: “When Alvin Brown “shares his vision for Florida’s 5th Congressional District,” make sure you ask ABSENT ALVIN about his $34.5 million backdoor bond scheme with the previous owners of Eureka Gardens, or his record level spending for a private security detail while he was mayor. Also, ask ABSENT ALVIN why he disappeared on Jacksonville and is now running back to Republican donors for support.”

Those Republican donors include the likes of Shad Khan and charter school magnate Gary Chartrand, names more associated with GOP than Democratic support.

It’s getting real in CD 5. Lawson, an unflappable debater, didn’t need oppo against Corrine Brown.

Against Alvin Brown, he has oppo — and is rolling it out.

Brown is appearing Wednesday morning at a “meet and greet” at Biscotti’s, an Avondale landmark just outside of CD 5.

Florida Politics has yet to confirm whether we will be allowed to attend, but we hope to show up and get the former mayor’s thoughts on the ugly turn this campaign has taken.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been the Northeast Florida correspondent for Florida Politics since 2014. He writes for the New York Post and National Review also, with previous work in the American Conservative and Washington Times and a 15+ year run as a columnist in Folio Weekly. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski

One comment

  • Frankie M.

    June 27, 2018 at 12:47 am

    Lawson criticizing Brown is like the pot calling the kettle black. I seriously doubt Lawson has ever turned down donor money based on his track record. Republican money (specifically Peter Rummell’s) is the only reason Alvin was elected in the first place. Same could be said for Lawson. Funny how lawson criticizes Brown for doing the exact same thing he’s been doing. Sounds like Lawson has outsourced his reelection campaign to Curry’s attack dog, Brian Hughes.

Comments are closed.


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