Al Lawson takes cash lead, momentum into CD 5 Dem primary home stretch


Conditions are looking favorable for U.S. Rep. Al Lawson to win his primary battle over former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown in Florida’s 5th Congressional District.

Lawson, ahead by more than 20 points in the only public poll of the race, endorsed by Brown’s local Florida Times-Union and Jacksonville state Rep. Tracie Davis in recent days, is also ahead in cash on hand as of Aug. 8 — the last date for which candidates have filed financial reports.

Lawson, who has raised just over $503,823, had $131,143 on hand. Brown, who has raised $388,649, had $84,361.

Lawson seems confident in his chances, posting to Facebook that “FiveThirtyEight’s ongoing forecast of 2018 House elections currently places me at a 99.9% chance of winning back the 5th District seat.”

Brown’s touting some backing that he hopes will flip that script, however, including from one progressive group that will text people in the district in the next week.

“In the current political climate, it is unacceptable to have a conservative-Democrat representing a safely blue district. That’s why Build the Wave is proud to endorse Alvin Brown, a true progressive leader, for Congress in Florida’s 5th Congressional district,” said Nate Lerner, Grassroots Director for Build the Wave. “We’re confident Alvin will be a strong progressive voice in Congress who holds Trump and his allies accountable.”

As well, he’s touting endorsements from Jacksonville preachers, which coincide with Souls to the Polls during early voting weekends: “more than 30 faith leaders representing a large swath of the local faith community.”

Preachers had been part of Brown’s base during his term as a “conservative Democrat” Mayor of Jacksonville, and the big names backing him include Pastor John Guns, Bishop Rudolph McKissick, and Pastor Reginald Gundy.

Can these moves turn around a 22 point poll deficit?

Brown, who had a segment Monday on Jacksonville radio station WJCT (Lawson canceled the day before), expressed confidence despite what host Melissa Ross called a “David and Goliath battle,” citing a “strong outpouring of support” from local grassroots, teachers’ groups, and the AFL-CIO.

Brown also noted that his team has been campaigning aggressively, with a “good ground game” and support from the Democratic Party.

“Just yesterday, I spoke at seven houses of worship,” Brown said.

Duval County has 141,305 of District 5’s 255,673 Democrats, so this could help.

In the last two weeks, the Brown campaign has knocked on more than 5,000 doors and made nearly 2,000 phone calls, according to a Friday media release.

If Brown is able to overcome a 22 point deficit in the polls through grassroots and text messages, it would be a comeback for the ages.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Frankie M.

    August 19, 2018 at 11:22 am

    Don’t forget about the hit job Lenny did on Alvin the other day. Blaming Alvin for the rise in violent crime on Lenny’s watch(it’s only been 3 years) while stealing Alvin’s signature campaign slogan of public private partnerships. Nate at 538 has been wrong before. Drumpf anyone? Don’t forget about Lawton Chiles/Adam Putnam and the old he-coon. The only poll that matters is on election day.

  • Greg

    August 19, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    No Democrat can forget how as Mayor, Mr. Brown turned his back on President Obama

    And, blocked basic human rights and fair treatment for the LGBTQ community. We know Alvin Brown, and he can’t run away from his record.

  • Frankie M.

    August 19, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    They’re essentially the same guy. Lawson is the republicans choice.

  • Greg

    August 19, 2018 at 2:54 pm


    Your claims are false!

    Lawson backed Obama, Brown didn’t. Lawson supports HRO and human rights for the LGBTQ community, Brown does not. Lawson is the choice of the people. Brown is clearly no one’s choice!

    • Frankie

      August 20, 2018 at 11:37 am

      Brown was a black democrat elected mayor in a small sleepy southern (read:ultraconservative) town. Of course he couldn’t appear to be backing Obama. But at least he made excuses & didn’t hang a gone fishing sign on his door like our current mayor did every time Obama was in town. Of course everyone supports HRO after the fact. But neither Brown or Curry wanted their names attached to it for fear of alienating their conservative base. Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder.

      You are right about one thing though. Lawson is the choice of the people. People like Susie Wiles who will be excited about the outcome of the election.

Comments are closed.


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