Former Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL), who recently pleaded guilty to fraud, announced on Thursday that she is running for Congress again.
Brown had previously served two years and eight months in federal prison after convictions regarding 18 fraud charges, though all charges were dropped except for one following a retrial, according to Florida Politics.
“I’ve represented most of the people of the new 10th District during my 24 years in Congress and I always earned huge support in this region,” Brown said in a news release.
“Now I see our hard-won gains are being taken away from us. Minorities have lost opportunities to elect candidates of their choice because of the recent gerrymandering in the State of Florida,” she added.
Brown enters a crowded District 10, covering the Orlando area, in a competition featuring numerous candidates, including former Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), state Senator Randolph Bracy (D-FL), and civil rights lawyer Natalie Jackson. Jackson also served as Brown’s co-counsel during her trial, reported Florida Politics.
The 10th District seat became open after current Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) announced her run for the U.S. Senate.
Brown was sentenced to five years in federal prison following her 2017 conviction. She was released in 2020 due to medical concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The former congresswoman appealed her sentence based on a claim of biased jury selection. The new trial ended in May with Brown pleading guilty to just one charge of tax fraud and sentenced to time served.
“Brown will also owe restitution to the IRS, totaling more than $62,000,” according to Action News Jax.
“According to the plea agreement, Brown admitted to over-reporting her charitable giving by inflating total gifts to charitable organizations and non-profit entities including Edward Waters College (now University), the Community Rehabilitation Center and One Door for Education,” the report added.
Brown would be running as a convicted felon, but states can’t prevent it, according to The Florida Times-Union, citing a 2002 Congressional Research Service report.
“Specifically, there is no qualification in the Constitution that one not be a convicted felon” to serve in Congress, the report said.
Brown remains confident regarding her plans to help the people of her district, noting her past efforts in her release.
“I helped the people of Orlando when the Pulse shooting happened. I helped when the hurricanes hit. I worked with the community by coordinating relief aid after an earthquake devastated Haiti. And I led the fight when Trayvon Martin was viciously gunned down,” Brown said in the release, according to Florida Politics.
“I carry the people of Orlando in my heart wherever I go. And they have responded with an outcry of support and prayer that has touched my heart. To them I say, thank you for your continued prayers and support! I will continue to fight to make sure your voice is heard. To God be the glory!”
The Democratic nominee will also face the winner of a crowded Republican field. GOP nominees include Thuy Lowe, Willie Montague, and Calvin Wimbish.
The official deadline to register a run for office in Florida is Friday. The state’s primary is scheduled for August 23.