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Democratic Congressman Al Lawson loses reelection bid in newly-drawn district

A man in a grey suit stands at a podium flanked by a woman in red and a man dressed in blue.
Valerie Crowder
Rep. Al Lawson, D-Tallahassee, delivers his concession speech after losing his bid for reelection to Republican Congressman Neal Dunn of Panama City.

Democratic Rep. Al Lawson will no longer represent North Florida in Congress after he lost his bid for reelection in a newly-drawn district that gave Republicans the advantage.

GOP Rep. Neal Dunn of Panama City will continue serving in Congress, but he'll now also represent Tallahassee and Gadsden County, which lean Democratic.

Gadsden County is the only majority African American county in the state. Before state lawmakers redrew the map earlier this year, its congressional district was also a Black-access seat, meaning African American voters could elect their candidate of choice.

Unofficial election results show Dunn beat Lawson by nearly 20 percentage points. Dunn had 59.96% of the vote and Lawson had 40.04%.

"The voters are going to have to put a lot of pressure on Neal Dunn to take care of those areas like i have taken care of them. he's going to have to spend a lot of time. He got a majority African-American county. He's got Leon, which is the capital. He's not been able to bring any resources in, so it's put a lot of pressure on him. He's going to have to work hard."

Valerie Crowder hosts and produces state and local newscasts during All Things Considered. Her reporting on local government and politics has received state and regional award recognition. She has also contributed stories to NPR newscasts.