‘Let the work I’ve done speak for me’: Convicted felon Corrine Brown files to run for Congress

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A former congresswoman and convicted felon are ready to run again.

Corrine Brown has thrown her hat in the ring for Congress.

She lost her job representing the Jacksonville area, but now she has returned — this time running for a congressional seat in the Orlando area.

“This is something that I’ve prayed over,” said Brown.

Action News Jax spoke directly with Brown on her decision to run.

She told us she’s running in Orlando because of the new congressional maps, which she argued left Jacksonville gerrymandered.

“The whole state has been gerrymandered. It is a problem, and it’s one that I’m going to address,” said Brown.

RELATED: Corrine Brown announces candidacy for Florida’s 10th Congressional District

In the criminal case, court documents accused Brown of siphoning money from her One Door for Education Foundation for personal use. Prosecutors said the fraud included using hundreds of thousands of dollars from the foundation to pay for lavish parties, trips, and shopping excursions.

Dr. Michael Binder, a political science professor at the University of North Florida, pointed out Brown’s old Jacksonville-Orlando district is often cited as one of the most egregious cases of gerrymandering.

“She was very opposed when there (were) discussions about redistricting a couple of times to create a more holistic Orlando district. She fought that tremendously in order to maintain her power, so there’s a little bit of irony,” said Binder.

She argued her record is her strong suit in this race.

Part of that record includes securing the funding for the federal courthouse in downtown Jacksonville, the same courthouse she pled guilty to a felony charge last month.

We asked her why voters should trust no further controversy would arise from another shot at Congress.

“Well, you know, basically, I’m going to make sure that I have a tight team,” said Brown.

As for why voters should give her a second chance, Brown told us her record speaks for itself, highlighting a VA hospital she secured funding for in Orlando.

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“They had been trying to get (funding) for 25 years. It is online, up and operational,” said Brown.

Brown didn’t directly tell us whether she lives or plans to live in the Orlando area.

“Let the work I’ve done speak for me,” said Brown when asked whether she resided in Duval or Orange County.

Brown served a district stretching from Jacksonville to the Orlando area for 24 years in Congress.

Binder said that does give Brown a name recognition advantage in the crowded 10th Congressional District Democratic primary, and a felony conviction isn’t always a death blow to a campaign.

“One of the more famous folks is Marion Berry, who was mayor in D.C,” said Binder. While in office as mayor, Berry was arrested for smoking crack” and then “served time for a number of years,” but ultimately” came back and got re-elected a couple of more times.”

Under federal law, Brown is only required to be a Florida resident to run for the seat.

Her felony conviction also does not bar her from running.

Ironically, while Brown may legally be allowed to run under federal law, under state law she won’t be allowed to vote in her own election until she pays the $62,650 of restitution she was ordered to pay as part of her guilty plea for lying to the IRS.

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