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Rep. Al Lawson.

2020

Congressional Black Caucus colleagues Val Demings, James Clyburn back Al Lawson reelection

Lawson is the heavy favorite in the Democratic district.

U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, received endorsements from several of his CBC colleagues Wednesday, ahead of the Aug. 18 primary.

Among those backing Lawson, a Democrat in his third term representing Florida’s 5th Congressional District, are House Majority Whip James Clyburn, the South Carolina political veteran widely credited with helping Democratic nominee Joe Biden recalibrate his campaign in South Carolina.

Several Florida colleagues, including Reps. Val DemingsAlcee Hastings, and Frederica Wilson, also fell in behind the Tallahassee Democrat.

Rep. Lucy McBath represents Georgia, but she has a Florida connection, the mother of Jordan Davis, a young man killed in Jacksonville by a white man at a gas station.

Reps. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, Dwight Evans of Pennsylvania, Marcia Fudge of Ohio and Bennie Thompson of Mississippi likewise signed on.

“I am truly honored to have received the endorsement of my fellow Congressional Black Caucus members,” Lawson said. “As we continue to fight to confront matters that plague our communities, such as poverty, economic development and social justice, it is essential that we have leaders who are not afraid to speak out and challenge unfairness, discrimination and inequalities.”

The endorsements are not surprising, and mirror in some ways the closing argument of the 2018 campaign for Lawson, when the incumbent delivered an exclamation point to challenger Alvin Brown by flying in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to endorse him in Brown’s home town.

Public polling is not available, but some private surveys see Lawson ahead by more than 20 points against two challengers, Albert Chester and LJ Holloway, both from Jacksonville and both running campaigns that have struggled with fundraising viability and traction in what is an expansive, largely rural district running from Downtown Jacksonville to the Tallahassee area.

The FEC’s Reports Compliance Division sent Chester two letters in recent days, pointing out that he had not filed financial reports for the second quarter or his pre-primary report.

Interestingly, Holloway’s campaign finance after the first quarter has yet to surface, due to her being a paper filer.

Lawson, meanwhile, has continued to raise money aggressively. He had roughly $200,000 in his pre-primary report, and has kept adding to his war chest.

The winner on the Democratic side is likely the general election winner, owing to a district drawn with a strong Democratic plurality. However, two Republicans (Roger Wagoner and Gary Adler) are facing off for the GOP nomination.

Written By

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

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