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Lawson Cruises to Victory in Florida’s Open 5th District Seat

Former Democratic state Sen. Al Lawson of Tallahassee was elected to the House on Tuesday, the Associated Press projected, cruising to victory in a recently reconfigured congressional district in the Florida panhandle.

Lawson will be one of the two members of the next Congress who defeated an incumbent Democratic member in a primary. In August he ousted Rep. Corrine Brown, a 12-term incumbent, who is facing trial on a 22-count corruption indictment.

Once he won that election, Lawson’s win in November was virtually guaranteed given the overwhelmingly Democratic nature of the seat, reconfigured this year after a long court battle over prior gerrymandering.  The district electorate is also 63 percent African-American, and Lawson will be a new member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

At 68, Lawson will be among the oldest members of the freshman class and also one of those with the most political experience. He was a member of the Florida Legislature for 28 years ending in 2010. He had run two earlier unsuccessful races for the House.

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