In nod to North Florida, James Clyburn puts Al Lawson in pivotal role
Al Lawson. Image via Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call.

Al Lawson
Lawson will serve as an assistant whip in the U.S. House.

U.S. Rep. Al Lawson was selected to be Assistant Whip in the U.S. House of Representatives Monday, a seeming nod by congressional Democrats to the North Florida region ahead of reapportionment. 

Lawson’s district, recall, was mapped out for the first time in 2016 when it was redrawn from a Jacksonville-to-Orlando canton. That was one of the most vivid examples of gerrymandering in American history.

The Tallahassee Democrat defeated indicted Corrine Brown, who was found guilty in a federal trial for financial fraud and related offenses, but whose verdict has since been overturned by an appellate court that took issue with the judge removing a dissident juror. 

Whatever might happen with sprawling Congressional District 5, Lawson has a new platform and seeming significance should he face a primary challenge.

“It is a privilege to welcome Rep. Al Lawson back as an Assistant Whip during the 117th Congress,” Majority Whip James E. Clyburn said. “He is a valuable member of our Whip organization, and I look forward to continuing our work together to advance the Democratic agenda.” 

“I am honored to receive this esteemed position and have the opportunity to create a lasting legislative impact for the residents of North Florida,” Lawson said. “Together, we can further mold and improve the quality of life for all Americans and ensure an equitable future for generations to come. I am thankful to Whip Clyburn’s leadership, and I am ready to work with my colleagues to move our nation forward.”

Clyburn, a South Carolina political giant, is known to regional political watchers. He has been through Jacksonville on behalf of local and national candidates throughout the years, either stumping or doing roundtables, depending on the topic.

Lawson and Clyburn teamed up on an event for then-candidate Joe Biden late last year, lamenting the effects of Trumpism on North Florida’s rural communities.

The Whip pick is yet another sign that House leadership likes Lawson.

In 2018, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi came to town to campaign for Lawson, as former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown was primarying him at the time. Lawson was competitive in Jacksonville, and dominated Brown west of I-295.

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


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