Congressman Al Lawson (D-FL-05) has filed to run in Florida’s 2nd Congressional District against incumbent Representative Neal Dunn (R-FL-02). Lawson currently holds the seat for District 5, but the months-long congressional redistricting fight to preserve the boundaries of District 5 was secured in favor of the new maps earlier this month. Therefore, Lawson is seeking to unseat Dunn.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) has backed the redistricting process, including proposing the boundary changes for District 5, claiming that it was an unconstitutional, racial-based gerrymander. District 5, as of right now, snakes from Tallahassee across North Florida to Jacksonville’s north side. It comprises a majority-minority district.
Lawson was vocally opposed to DeSantis’ effort to redraw the maps, saying he was eliminating African American representation.
“I don’t take what he did personally, but I’m not going to let him do that,” Lawson said. “His goal is to eliminate African American representation, I guess, to show his constituents that if he didn’t run for president, he did all he could to try to help (Rep.) Kevin McCarthy become the Speaker of the House.”
The Florida Supreme Court declined to offer an opinion regarding the redistricting matter in early June.
DeSantis offered his support for that decision.
“At the end of the day we knew we needed to comply with both the state and federal constitutions and the Florida Supreme Court by agreeing with the appeals court – it’s saying, you know, these elections must go on,” DeSantis said.
Circuit Judge Layne Smith heard the lawsuit between civil rights groups and the state and sided with the groups. He believed DeSantis’ maps violated Florida’s Fair Districts standard. However, the 1st District Court of Appeal “upended” Smith’s decision in May.
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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Al Lawson” by U.S. House Office of Photography. Background Photo “U.S. Capitol” by Wiki person that edits. CC BY-SA 4.0.