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Audrey Gibson, Mia Jones both “absolutely” eyeing Corrine Brown’s CD 5 seat

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Two potential heirs to the much-discussed 5th Congressional District long held by U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown have confirmed they are sizing up the seat should it become available.

“Absolutely,” said state Rep. Mia Jones, one of four veteran Jacksonville politicians seen as a viable contender to run in Brown’s stead. The others are former Jax Mayor Alvin Brown, state Sen. Audrey Gibson, and former state Sen. Tony Hill.

“I believe that you have to keep all options open, and it would definitely be something that I would consider doing,” Jones told WJCT.

Brown, of course, is dealing with both a federal investigation and an ongoing redistricting challenge.

Gibson, a member of the Senate redistricting committee and intimately familiar with the redrawn map and the process, said she’s also ready to vie for the congressional post.

“Yes, I would definitely consider running in that district,” Gibson said, while also pointing out much hinges on Brown’s fate and whether she decides to run in the redrawn CD 5.

“I believe that Jacksonville, Duval County is the anchor for that district. We have all of the business here, in fact, the entire economic development for CD 5 rests in Duval, and I think it’s critical that someone in Jacksonville be the representative.”

Gibson added that on Monday attorneys for Brown delivered more arguments in the redistricting case while all parties await a federal court ruling.

Meanwhile, a U.S. Supreme Court decision in a Texas redistricting case could be a potential setback for Brown’s argument that under CD 5’s new configuration, nonvoting prison inmates are counted in her district’s population, thus diluting the power of African-American voters.

The redrawn district has within its boundaries 18 state prisons, clustered mainly along the Interstate 10 corridor in North Florida.

In addition to her work writing for Florida Politics, Melissa Ross also hosts and produces WJCT’s First Coast Connect, the Jacksonville NPR/PBS station’s flagship local call-in public affairs radio program. The show has won four national awards from Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). First Coast Connect was also recognized in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 as Best Local Radio Show by Folio Weekly’s “Best Of Jax” Readers Poll and Melissa has also been recognized as Folio Weekly’s Best Local Radio Personality. As executive producer of The 904: Shadow on the Sunshine State, Melissa and WJCT received an Emmy in the “Documentary” category at the 2011 Suncoast Emmy Awards. The 904 examined Jacksonville’s status as Florida’s murder capital. During her years in broadcast television, Melissa picked up three additional Emmys for news and feature reporting. Melissa came to WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. Married with two children, Melissa is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism/Communications. She can be reached at m.ross66211@gmail.com.

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