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Rep. Al Lawson Wins District 5 Reelection, Beating Gary Adler

District 5 Republican callenger Gary Adler (left) and Incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Al Lawson.
Adler campaign and U.S. House of Representatives
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District 5 Republican callenger Gary Adler (left) and Incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Al Lawson.

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (D-FL5) will be heading back to Washington, D.C. for a third term after defeating his Republican challenger, Jacksonville businessman Gary Adler by 67.18% to 32.82% with 94 of 105 precincts reporting at the time of this story's publication. 

Adler and Lawson disagreed on a wide variety of issues during the campaign, including how the Trump administration has handled the pandemic response and whether to raise the federal minimum wage.

Related: Returns, Local, State And National Election News

During an Oct. 15 forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Jacksonville/First Coast and produced by WJCT Public Media, Lawson said he was for raising the minimum wage, while Adler was against the idea.

“The federal minimum wage is intended for an entry-level position, not a job that people aspire to, or work as a career in,” Adler said, adding, in his opinion, it would force businesses to raise prices.

Lawson said he’s paid his employees above the $7.25 federal minimum hourly rate.

“I haven’t paid anybody less than $15 an hour in an insurance business that I’ve been in," he said.

Lawson was first elected to Congress in 2016, when he beat Republican Glo Smith after the Fifth Congressional District was redrawn. The district, which used to stretch down into Central Florida, was formerly represented by Corrine Brown.

The district now stretches from Jacksonville to west of Tallahassee. Lawson is based in Tallahassee and formerly served in the Florida Legislature.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.