Jacksonville preachers walk back Alvin Brown congressional endorsements

alvin brown

Heading into the weekend, Alvin Brown touted endorsements from Jacksonville preachers: “more than 30 faith leaders representing a large swath of the local faith community.”

This week, three of those preachers have walked their endorsements back for logistical reasons, saying that the listing of their churches in the endorsement emails compromised their organizations’ nonprofit status.

The narrative started when Pastor Reginald Gundy of the Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church contacted Florida Politics saying he didn’t endorse Brown, a former Jacksonville Mayor running for the Democratic nomination in Florida’s 5th Congressional District.

Gundy said he asked the campaign to “take [his] name off” the list of endorsers, noting that he is “not endorsing Lawson or Brown, that is the statement for the record because of my organization of 501(C)(3) period,” and that he made an “honest error” when he signed a letter of endorsement in January, one that the campaign produced.

On Tuesday, a second pastor, the Rev. Wendell C. Webster, reached out to Florida Politics to walk back his endorsement.

“While I have known the candidate, Alvin Brown for many years and believe that he is a viable candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, District 5, I did not give permission to use the name of my church, New Fountain Chapel AME Church,” Webster wrote.

“I strongly oppose the use of my church’s name in any and all political ads and endorsements. As a not-for-profit5 01(C)(3) organization,” Webster added, “it is our standard policy and practice to not [engage] in political activities.”

On Wednesday, Rev. Tan C. Moss of the Greater Grant Memorial AME Church became the third pastor to walk back his endorsement.

“While I initially made a personal endorsement of candidate Brown, at no time was my church included or should have been assumed to be a part [of] that endorsement,” Moss said. “I have been assured by the candidate that this error will be immediately rectified and my [personal] endorsement has been withdrawn as a result of the confusion.”

The race increasingly looks like a comfortable win for incumbent U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, per a St. Pete Polls survey of the race released Monday that shows him with a 22-point lead, and his own assertions that FiveThirtyEight.com gave him a 99.8 percent chance to win.

Brown, who had $84,000 cash on hand as of Aug. 8, is still fundraising. On Tuesday morning, he sent out an appeal to supporters to help him continue an ad buy for a digital spot.

A.G. Gancarski

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


4 comments

  • Greg

    August 20, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    What else is Mayor Brown lying about? I’m willing to bet that there are more pastors listed that didn’t know they endorsed him.

    Just like no one ever knew how great a mayor this one termer was, until he began telling us years later. We’ve rejected Brown once, its time to do it again.

    • Proud Tallahassean with a Finger on the pulse of local politics

      August 21, 2018 at 1:56 pm

      The same goes for Andrew Gillum. None of us here in Tallahassee knew how “great” he is/was until he started telling the rest of Florida. Notice Gillum does not campaign much in Tallahassee. There is a reason for that!

      • Miaka Gilyard

        August 30, 2018 at 10:27 am

        Mayor Brown was a good man. Anyone endorsed by the socialist Sanders may mean goo but will destroy the state just like has happened all over the world like Venezuela and other places. This type of man cannot be trusted because of his words to give us everything without having payment for it. Preachers are people and can support a candidate they cannot do it from the pulpit. As a female of color I resent being expected to vote with either women or African Americans. Wake up women. It don’t matter what color the person is look at who is best for your children and future of us all. Stop being manipulated by black men for their own good. I know one of these pastors who promotes hisself only.

  • inthiscorner

    August 22, 2018 at 10:25 am

    Pastor Reginald Gundy? honest?…cough cough…
    They do endorse the LGBT movement. Even was paid to change his mind.
    https://www.jaxequality.org/faith/
    And like Jim Love may one day regret the pushing of the erotic propagation foisted on Jacksonville.

Comments are closed.


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