JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A day after U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, who was convicted last month of a federal tax charge in a charity fraud case, announced she was running for Congress again, she spoke face-to-face with News4JAX about that decision.
In a sit-down interview Friday, Brown, 75, told News4JAX that she knows how to get things done. She talked about helping people while in prison, and now, despite what critics are saying, she’s ready to get to work.
The Florida Division of Elections website shows Brown, a Democrat, filed paperwork Thursday and qualified Friday to run in Florida’s 10th Congressional District, joining a crowded race for a district in the Orlando area being vacated by Rep. Val Demmings, a Democrat, trying to unseat Sen. Marco Rubio this fall.
I wanted to know why she is running for office in the Orlando area and not in Jacksonville where she lives. She said she still cares greatly about Jacksonville, but it’s because of the recent redistricting.
“You’re not ever gonna end up with a Democratic person. You have been gerrymandered. We have had a Democratic seat in Duval County for 74 years, and when you look at how Duval has been gerrymandered, now you can’t even get a moderate Republican. You’re going to get a right-wing nut, I hate to tell you,” Brown said. “I’m not in no suicidal mission. I am interested in going back to Congress to make a difference, and it starts with making sure that you use the principles of redistricting -- the principles -- that should be a law.”
UNCUT: Press the play button below to watch Jim Piggott’s entire sit-down interview with Corrine Brown
Republicans and even Democrats have been speaking out about her bid for Congress, with many comments from News4JAX Insiders.
“Why would we let a criminal run for office of this great country. She’s a crook. She has always been crooked,” Dave said.
Bobby said, “Hell no Corine Brown is not qualified and a liar. And Corrine Brown only skill set you have is corruption.”
Some commenters are highlighting that Brown is a convicted felon. But despite being a convicted felon, she can run again.
“It’s not tax charges. It was one tax count. And I have not spoke with one person that have not had a problem with IRS. Not one. Everybody I talked to have had -- it was one. I agreed to it because I didn’t want to go back through another trial and all of that. So it is not like tax and fraud. It was one tax count that I agreed to, to put them behind me and move forward,” Brown said. “And that’s what I’m doing.”
I asked her what she would say to those commenters.
“I wouldn’t say anything to them. Those are not my supporters. I’m talking to my supporters. I’m talking to the people that want me to represent them. I’m talking to the people who called me. I’m talking to the people that want something to happen for them in Washington,” Brown said. “The people that support me, the people who’ve asked me to run, that’s -- those are my supporters. So I didn’t just decide to run. I got calls, people saying we don’t have a voice. We need somebody to represent us.”
Brown joins nine other Democrats, five Republicans and two NPA candidates running in the 10th District.
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Brown served 12 terms in the House beginning in 1993 but was defeated for reelection after her 2016 indictment in the fraud case. She was initially convicted and served two years in prison but was released on humanitarian grounds due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite her guilty plea, Brown is as passionate as ever regarding politics.
“It’s a calling is service. It’s like a minister has a calling. Serving is a calling for me. It’s a mission. It is not, you know, it’s something that I prayed over,” Brown said Friday. “And I just know that I can make a difference.”