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Al Lawson: I'm in for Congress, and Corrine Brown is expected to run from Orlando

Al LawsonFormer state Sen. Al Lawson ended speculation Tuesday and said that he will run for the revised Congressional District 5 next year.

The district, now held by Congresswoman Corrine Brown, was ordered reconfigured by the Florida Supreme Court and was finalized with the court's ruling approving the map two weeks ago.

The sprawling North Florida district stretches from Jacksonville through Tallahassee and into Gadsden County. Lawson says it covers four of the counties that Lawson represented for 28 years in the Florida Legislature. Lawson represented the Senate's 6th District from 2000 through 2010 and was a member of the Florida House from 1982 through 2000.

 "I feel I will be a great advocate for North Florida, especially in areas of education, economic development and water," Lawson told the Herald/Times. He said he will make the formal announcement in January.

Lawson, 67, said that he spoke with Brown, the Jacksonville Democrat who has served the current configuration of the district since 1992, and calls her a long-time friend.

"She's given all kinds of indications she'll run out of Orlando,'' he said.

Lawson, however, said he expects a primary challenge and is "comfortable" in running in the Jacksonville stretch of the district. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum signaled two weeks ago that he was interested in running for the seat, although he has not made any decision.

"He didn't have any concrete answer but was saying people are encouraging him to run,'' Lawson said of Gillum.

This would be Lawson's third run for Congress. He attempted to unseat incumbent Rep. Allen Boyd, D-Monticello, in 2010 but lost. Boyd then lost the general election to Steve Southerland, R-Panama City. In 2012, Lawson returned and tried to unseat Southerland but lost with 47 percent of the vote.