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Rep. Al Lawson (Image via the Tallahassee Democrat)


Six-figure third-quarter fundraising for Al Lawson reelection

Strong quarter of fundraising for the Tallahassee Democrat.

There are those in U.S. Rep. Al Lawson‘s orbit who suggest that the Tallahassee Democrat may be wearying of D.C.

Regardless of how true that is, one thing is certain: the second-term Congressman from North Florida’s 5th Congressional District continues to fundraise with alacrity.

Lawson raised $112,593 in the three months ending Sept. 30, against $27,377 spent. He has $107,828 on hand, but is almost certain to ramp up his efforts as the election nears.

As is often the case, Lawson attracted interest from across the political spectrum, with donations from Brian Ballard, a lobbyist who had a key role in the ascension of President Donald Trump.

Some corporations that typically show a Republican lean in their donations, such as the Online Lenders Alliance and U.S. Sugar, donated as a corporate entity.

The latter proferred individual donations from key principals as well.

Lawson’s toughest electoral challenge in recent years was the Democratic primary for the seat, where the well-liked political veteran ended the career of pre-conviction Corrine Brown in a fractious 2016 election.

Lawson soundly defeated former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown in 2018’s Democratic primary, likely ending the illusion harbored by Duval County Democrats that they have the organization or will to make the seat a true Jacksonville seat again.

Despite this, Albert Chester, a Jacksonville pharmacist, is an active candidate. Without the name identification or political organization of either Brown, it is hard to see a different result in the 2020 primary.

Chester has yet to file Q3, but as of the July filing, he had under $1,200 on hand. This number is just a skosh short of the “$250,000 to $300,000” he said he’d need to bring the fight to Lawson both inside and outside Duval County.

The winner of the Chester/Lawson primary, should it actually happen, looks likely to face yet another in a series of quixotic political novices running under the Republican banner.

Matthew Lusk, a MacClenny bookseller, got national press after filing for his enthusiastic endorsement of theories of the QAnon movement.

Lusk peripatetically keeps a blog, with a pithy March entry offering insight into both his worldview and literary style.

“Some of my issues have gotten people ‘Arkancided,’ so just for the record: I’m not suicidal or accident prone,” Lusk notes, seemingly referring to conspiracy theories about the Bill Clinton presidency.

CD 5 runs east to west on Interstate 10, tying together gerrymandered portions of Jacksonville and Tallahassee with a carefully mapped frolic through rural areas in between the two major cities.

It is designed to perform for Democratic candidates, and Tallahassee veteran Lawson is one that most Republicans can live with.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at

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Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.
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