Al Lawson thrashes Ron DeSantis’ proposed congressional cartography
Al Lawson.

al_lawson__1_
The Tallahassee Congressman has nowhere to run. So he's charging for the Governor.

A Congressman whose district is conspicuously absent from a redistricting map from Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office is speaking out.

U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, a Tallahassee Democrat, issued an extensive statement slamming the gubernatorial cartography.

“I will ensure the people of Florida’s 5th District have the representation in Congress they rightfully deserve,” Lawson said. “My district includes a large minority and urban core, protecting minority voting access is critical to serving the needs of this area.”

But a map submitted by Ryan Newman, the Republican Governor’s general counsel, shows no jurisdiction analogous to CD 5.

That’s something Lawson takes personally, and not just because he represents the district in the U.S. House.

“In fact, it was my leadership and others that helped create three minority access seats that allowed the first African Americans from Florida to be elected to Congress when I served in the State House,” said Lawson, a former state Senator and state Representative. “It is evident that DeSantis is trying to restrict minority representation, specifically African American voters.”

After the creation of Florida’s first minority access districts following the 1990 Census, Florida sent its first Black representatives to the U.S. House since Reconstruction: Corrine Brown, Alcee Hastings and Carrie Meek. Both Meek and Hastings died last year.

Brown’s career, interestingly, was ended by Lawson, who defeated the incumbent in 2016.

That came after the Florida Supreme Court tossed a map drafted by the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2015 and replaced it with a map that for the first time established the Tallahassee-to-Jacksonville makeup for CD 5.

Lawson previously tried unsuccessfully to unseat another Democratic incumbent, former U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd, but in a nonminority access district. He lost the Primary in Florida’s 2nd Congressional District in 2010. But he won a seat in Congress after Tallahassee made it into a primarily Black district and has won re-election subsequently.

All draft congressional maps published thus far by staff in the Florida House or Senate have included a district similar to the existing CD 5.

But the Governor’s map (P 0079) does not. Moreover, a statement from Newman suggests Florida’s executive branch finds the legislative proposals so far to be lacking.

“We have legal concerns with the congressional redistricting maps under consideration in the Legislature,” he said.

Lawson, for his part, doesn’t think the Governor should be involved in drafting maps at all.

“Governor DeSantis’ involvement in the Congressional map redistricting process is unprecedented,” he said. “During my many years in the Florida Legislature, a Governor would never submit a map in the redistricting process.”

But he also does not believe maps that diminish the power of Black voters to elect candidates of their choice will survive the courts if they even make it out of the Legislature.

“I am confident that this attempt by the Governor to dilute the voting rights of my constituents is in clear violation of the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution,” Lawson said. “Voting rights advocacy organizations like Fair Districts, the NAACP and other community interest groups have not had the opportunity to weigh in on the Governor’s partisan proposed map which would negatively affect people of color. More importantly, the voters have not weighed in.

“I have been fortunate to represent the people of Florida’s 5th District for many years and I look forward to continuing to do so now and in the future.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


3 comments

  • Matthew Lusk

    January 19, 2022 at 11:16 am

    Lawson is a white nazi front porch man working for the banking cartel. Do Black men need him around when he supports open borders and Latinos taking Black jobs and lowerng all wage earners. It must be OK to gerrymander a Black district as long as you vote NAZI white. Vote Matthew Lusk in 2022. A man who will work for ALL Americans! I will not let an illegal take Latino American jobs or lower wages! I will support Black and White upward mobility!

  • Matthew Lusk

    January 19, 2022 at 11:36 am

    North Florida Iconman, Al lawless Lawson, seems to think adding up hundreds of miles of Black citizens in a contorted stretched out district is just? Al check your Black privilege. If you represent all citizens , you would be blessed! Instead, you bow to the banking cartel and new world order chains to ply your wallet. It’s not enough to be the son of a share cropper and play basketball and live off the government Gravy Train. You need integrity,just legislating, and must fear God. No more Abortions! Be Christ like!!!

  • Matthew Lusk

    January 19, 2022 at 11:59 am

    If you vote for Lawson, you ain’t Black! If you vote for Lawson, you ain’t a White, Latino, Native, or Asian American neither! This voter+ can represent the concerns of All Americans. There’s no such thing as ” diluting my constituents ” unless you are a Black purist racist not working for the best interests of all! Conman Al has called whites crackers and never apologized. Al Lawson is a Black race baiter and racist. How does he get away with it? I’m asking for his resignation!

Comments are closed.


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