Rep vs Rep on the debate stage in Tallahassee

Two sitting congressman are vying for one seat in Congress. Neal Dunn and Al Lawson agreed on...
Two sitting congressman are vying for one seat in Congress. Neal Dunn and Al Lawson agreed on very little during a debate at the Tiger Bay Club Tuesday.(WCTV)
Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 6:47 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - With three weeks to go until the midterm elections, two congressman went head-to-head Tuesday afternoon at the Tiger Bay Club luncheon

Rep. Al Lawson is running to unseat Rep. Neal Dunn in Florida’s Second Congressional District. Lawson’s Fifth was redrawn by Republican state lawmakers, forcing the unusual incumbent clash.

According to, this is one of only two congressional races anywhere in the country featuring two incumbents vying for one seat.

The debate featured the usual topics, ranging from student loan forgiveness to the war in Ukraine to increasing economic pressures.

“It’s been a tough couple of years for America,” Rep. Dunn said in his opening statement. He tried to tie Lawson with the White House, describing the Biden Administration as a “reckless, unnecessary disaster.”

Lawson pushed back.

“I don’t worry about Nancy Pelosi or Biden. What I worry about is bringing resources down so that our community can survive,” he said.

The lunchtime crowd was treated to a typical Beltline Ballet.

Dunn, who voted against certifying the 2020 election results, questioned ballot box integrity.

“Joe Biden was elected two years ago, no question he has been president the last two years,” he said. “However it is a shame that Americans cannot have confidence in their elections.”

Lawson, meanwhile, zeroed in on the FBI’s document seizure at former President Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort.

“We should not let any individual, regardless of party, jeopardize our relationship with other countries,” Lawson said.

On abortion, Dunn pointed to his work as a medical doctor, arguing his faith drives his pro-life stance.

Lawson, meanwhile, said he was frustrated by the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade earlier this year.

The pair agreed on very little during the hour-long debate. One of the few spots for relative common ground came when discussing the war in Ukraine.

Rep. Dunn argued the U.S. needs to take a more aggressive approach.

”There is no difference between Ukraine today and Poland at the beginning of World War Two,” he said.

Rep. Lawson said he supports additional funds sent to the Ukrainian people.

“We need more resources to protect their democracy, and that’s what it’s all about,” he said.