Congressional race heats up

[subtitle]Incumbent Brown has a different kind of challenge in congressional race[/subtitle]


Corrine Brown


Al Lawson


LaShonda Holloway

LaShonda Holloway

By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer

While incumbent Democratic congressional representative Corrin Brown admits to being in one of toughest campaign ever, her two opponents are convinced that she might have too much of a challenge to overcome.

Both Al Lawson and LaShonda Holloway said Brown, who twice challenged the redrawn congressional District 5 in court, should explain a recent indictment. But Brown questioned the timing of the recent charges of fraud involving an $800,000 scholarship charity.

“I’ve worked very hard for the people I represent so it’s been very challenging for me how they just took us and divided us up,” Brown said, referring to the redrawn district before lamenting on the fraud charges.


She went on to say that the indictment against her is deliberate, especially because it came just two month before the Aug. 30 primary. The winner will face Republican Glo Smith in the general election.
“You’ve got to understand when someone says, ‘we are going to take you out,’” Brown said. “It’s a witch hunt. I do believe that. Look at the things I’ve done.

“I’m not going to let anybody push me out because nobody pushed me in.”

And, she has done plenty in her 24 years in Congress. She’s worked on veteran issues, secured research funding for state universities and has held workshops to help homeowners facing foreclosure.

Brown defended her suit against the redrawn district, which runs from Jacksonville to Chattahoochee in Gadsden County. She’s argued that the district should have remained from Jacksonville to Orlando, where she’s had strong showing during her tenure.

In her argument, Brown insisted that there are more than 20 prisons in the new district that could affect Black voters..

However, Lawson said it’s not a factor because the line includes a population of just over 40 percent white voters.

“Corrine Brown need to answer to the voters of this district,” Lawson said. “She is indicted and because she is indicted she needs to respond. After all, the seat doesn’t belong to her. It belongs to all of the people. This witch hunt deal has no validity.

“Everybody should be inclusive. You’re representing the people. They are tax payers.”

What’s even more important, Lawson said, are the issues facing people in the district, which favors him on the western end. As a former state legislator, he’s had strong support from at least four counties west of Jacksonville.

Some of the issues on his agenda are similar to what he campaigned on in the past, but his focus also now includes protection of social security for those who don’t have pension plans. He’d also like to see changes in the financial aid system for college students.

“The federal government and big banks on wall street have been benefitting on the backs of students,” Lawson said. “Students should be given an opportunity to get established before paying some of those loans back.”

While the race seems to be mostly between Lawson and Brown, Holloway said she doesn’t see herself as an outsider. Having a law degree from the University of Florida and her experience of working on Capitol Hill, including being on former congressional representative Carrie Meeks’ staff makes her qualified for the job, she said.

“I think I’m the breath of fresh air,” said Holloway. “I’m the best and most qualified candidate to represent the people. I’m running because I have worked on Capitol Hill and I was frustrated with the lack of representation that the people had.”

She touted her family ties in Tallahassee and Jacksonville as one reason for believing that she’ll do more than snatch votes to make the choice between Lawson and Brown close.

“I whole-heartedly believe that I will make a serious dent in it,” she said. “When I’m in Tallahassee, I hear the people are as sick of him (Lawson) as they are of her (Brown).

“The people can either vote for a lobbyist, vote for a candidate with legal problems or they can vote for me; fresh and new. You cannot continue to vote for analog people in a digital age.”