Florida Farm Bureau backs Scott Franklin in CD 15 race

Scott Franklin
The organization has 60 county Farm Bureaus and represents more than 136,000 members.

The Florida Farm Bureau Federation is backing Republican Scott Franklin in his bid against Democrat Alan Cohn for Florida’s 15th Congressional District.

The organization, known as the “Voice of Florida Agriculture,” has 60 county Farm Bureaus and represents more than 136,000 members, making it Florida’s largest agriculture grassroots organization.

The federation credits its endorsement to the candidate’s promise to help protect farmers, especially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Franklin understands the challenges that Florida’s farmers and ranchers face, especially during the pandemic,” said FFBF President John Hoblick in a news release. “Our members know Scott will give Florida farmers a voice in Washington, work to strengthen the agriculture industry and help sustain our nation’s food security.”

The FFBF works to advocate for farmers across government, and represents farm owners who produce all 300 of Florida’s agricultural commodities.

“Our rural farm communities need to be protected,” Franklin said in a news release. “As a resident of Central Florida, I know agriculture is vital not only to our community, but to the welfare of Americans and our economy. Our state’s farmers and ranchers are working tirelessly to produce the food on tables across the nation despite the challenges of the ongoing pandemic. I look forward to partnering with Florida Farm Bureau to help Florida’s farmers prosper.”

Franklin can add the FFBF endorsement to his list of endorsements including U.S. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, Lake County Sheriff Peyton Grinnell and Congressman Matt Gaetz.

Franklin ousted incumbent Ross Spano in the August Republican primary by about 1,500 votes. Spano carried Hillsborough County with 57% of the vote and Lake County with 52%, but Franklin overwhelmingly carried Polk County, where he serves, with 62% of the vote.

recent internal survey commissioned by Franklin’s Democratic opponent finds the Democrat lagging behind Franklin in a ballot test about who voters support in the race for CD 15.

But the GQR survey shows remarkably different results when providing voters with more information about the candidates.

Asked about the two candidates without any information, Franklin led Cohn 49% to 42%. Given information about both candidate’s positives and negatives, including Franklin’s position on Social Security and his support for President Donald Trump’s tax package, support shifted to Cohn’s favor at 48% to 47%.

Informed polls, often referred to as push polls, should be taken with a hefty dose of skepticism. The information provided to voters is often presented in a way meant to skew voter opinion.

However, they’re a key tool for campaigns to identify strategies. The Social Security and tax package information shifted Cohn from -7 to +1, suggesting those are campaign talking points that could reach voters in the final weeks leading up to the Nov. 3 General Election.

The race is likely to be competitive, with Democrats eyeing a potential seat to flip.

With Spano out of the picture, Cohn loses the benefit of negatives associated with the incumbent’s campaign finance woes, but faces a race for an open seat rather than against an incumbent.

CD 15 covers parts of Hillsborough, Lake and Polk counties, including the cities of Brandon, Plant City, Lakeland, Riverview, Temple Terrace, Dover, Polk City, Groveland and Clermont.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at kelly@floridapolitics.com.


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