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John Rutherford, Al Lawson Elected To Represent Northeast Florida In Congress

rutherford in sheriff uniform
City of Jacksonville

Former Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford will represent much of Northeast Florida in Congress, while former Democratic state Sen. Al Lawson will represent the district being vacated by disgraced District 5 Congresswoman Corrine Brown.

Rutherford won decisively Tuesday in District 4 with more than 70 percent of the vote. The heavily Republican district covers parts of Nassau, Duval and Baker counties. The seat was formerly held by Republican Ander Crenshaw, but the district had a different shape.

At the Duval Republicans’ watch party Tuesday night, Rutherford said his first priority will be helping residents suffering after Hurricane Matthew.

“But then also looking at strengthening our military, also developing our port, helping to continue to push development of our port. I think our port is poised to be the logistics hub for our entire eastern seaboard,” he said.

Rutherford handily defeated Democrat Dave Bruderly. Bruderly is an engineer who ran on a platform of environmental conservation and addressing climate change. 

Meanwhile, Lawson defeated Fleming Island Republican Glo Smith by about 64-to-36 percent. Lawson defeated Rep. Brown in the August primary as she faces federal charges related to her involvement in a fraudulent charity. 

Jessica Palombo supervises local news gathering and production, podcasts and web editorial content for WJCT News, ADAPT and Jacksonville Today. She is an award-winning writer and journalist with bylines including NPR, Experience Magazine, and The Gainesville Sun. She has a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University and is an alumna of the University of Florida. A nearly lifelong resident of Jacksonville, she considers herself lucky to be raising her own children in her hometown. Follow Jessica Palombo on Twitter: @JaxJessicaP
Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.