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2020

DCCC adds Alan Cohn to Red to Blue program to flip CD 15

Cohn faces a tough race against Republican Scott Franklin.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is adding Alan Cohn to its Red to Blue program, spotlighting Democrats’ hope that Florida’s 15th Congressional District is ripe for flipping.

Cohn is running in CD 15 against Republican Scott Franklin who ousted incumbent Ross Spano in the Aug. 18 Republican primary.

Cohn defeated fellow Democrat Adam Hattersley for his party’s nomination.

The DCCC’s Red to Blue program is a highly selective effort that provides Democratic candidates in flippable districts with financial and institutional resources to help grow Democratic representation in the U.S. House of Representatives. The program provides funding as well as strategic guidance, staff resources and candidate training.

“Alan Cohn has spent three decades fighting corruption as an investigative journalist. In his career, he took on powerful interests and held folks accountable, regardless of whether they were Republicans or Democrats. Alan is an independent voice focused on breaking through the noise to get to the truth and deliver for his community. In Congress, he’ll champion the issues that matter most to his constituents: lowering health care costs, protecting social security, and cutting taxes for middle class families, not corporations and millionaires,” said DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos.

Added Cohn: “We’re so glad the DCCC recognizes the movement we’ve built in this highly vulnerable open seat. Residents in this district want a representative that will fix our broken health care system, focus on tax relief for middle class families and working class families, and protect and expand social security and medicare. In Congress, I will fight to advance their priorities every day.”

CD 15 was once a Republican stronghold, but the largely rural district, which includes parts of Hillsborough, Polk and Lake counties, is now solidly purple, split almost evenly between Democrats, Republicans and independents.

The DCCC was invested in flipping the seat long before they named Cohn to the Red to Blue program. The group did not endorse a Democrat in the primary, but spent time and resources in the district rallying opposition to Spano.

The first-term, and for now only-term, Representative was ripe for the picking. Spano is under federal investigation for accepting personal loans from two friends and then using those funds to pad his campaign account in 2018, a clear violation of campaign finance laws dictating contribution limits.

With Spano out of the picture, Cohn now faces a Republican with strong name recognition, particularly in Lakeland where he currently serves as a City Commissioner. Cohn won’t have the benefit of a federal investigation to lean on, which rewrites the playbook in CD 15.

Cohn was successful against Hattersley likely because he staked out the conservative lane in that race. That might have been the winning ticket in a partisan primary, but he’ll have to work to moderate and reach voters on both sides of the aisle to find success in November.

With the DCCC vast resources, Cohn will likely have a better shot at making that happen.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at Janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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