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Alan Cohn takes on Adam Hattersley in Democratic primary to oust Ross Spano

It’s Cohn’s second bid for the district.

Former Tampa Bay Area news anchor Alan Cohn will run for Congress, he announced Monday.

Cohn is a Democrat and will challenge Adam Hattersley for the nomination to run against Ross Spano in District 15.

Cohn worked for WFTS Channel 28 before running for the same district unsuccessfully in 2014 against former Congressman Dennis Ross who Spano later replaced.

After losing that bid, Cohn began working for ABC 7 in Sarasota as an anchor and managing editor. He now runs a communications firm.

“I’ve made my living investigating corrupt politicians from Washington, to right here at home,” Cohn wrote in an announcement. “I’ve won one of the nation’s highest honors, the George Foster Peabody Award, for uncovering that defective parts were being installed on Blackhawk helicopters flown by our troops.”

Cohn went on to cite a number of professional accolades that translate into public service including helping a Vietnam veteran obtain benefits he was wrongly denied.

Cohn is running for a similar reason as Hattersley. He criticized the former state lawmaker for accepting what he later admitted were illegal loans to fund his 2018 campaign.

“I’m running because while our current Congressman is mired in a federal investigation into illegal loans to his campaign, 60-percent of our friends and neighbors still don’t earn what they did before the economic collapse. 40-percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck,” Cohn said.

Cohn is promising not to take any money from political committees, a.k.a. “PACs.”

“For too often politicians have put the interests of big business in ahead of the values of their constituents,” he said.

Cohn is running to protect veterans, provide access to affordable health care and support women’s pay equality.

“You deserve more than a Congressman mired in scandal and a Congress incapable of doing anything about anything,” Cohn said. “You deserve a member of Congress that not only shares your values and dreams for your family, but has actually fought for them.”

Cohn’s entrance into the race could be good news for Spano. It forces both Hattersley and Cohn to fund a primary campaign before one of them takes on Spano next November.

The primary also splits the pool of campaign donors.

“Now both candidates will duke it out and be forced to embrace the Democrats’ socialist agenda of eliminating employer-based health care and defending rampant anti-Semitism,” the National Republican Congressional Committee wrote about Cohn entering the race. “This will surely be entertaining in a district President Trump won by double digits.”

Both candidates come to the race with strong name recognition, Cohn as a television newsman, Hattersley as an elected representative.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.



  1. yanni

    September 9, 2019 at 2:14 pm

    While it’s not the law that you live in the district, Mr. Cohn will have to answer why someone who lives in Congresswoman Castor’s district is the right person to represent them.

  2. Milo

    September 10, 2019 at 11:13 am

    I don’t think a piece of investigative journalism compares to Hattersley’s Navy service and his Bronze Star. Cohn needs to be very careful when claiming he has “fought” for Americans when running against someone who really has.

  3. Tom

    September 11, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    Cohn is going to kick ass!

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