Republican candidate Scott Franklin is leading Democrat Alan Cohn in last minute contributions, despite trailing in overall fundraising for Florida’s 15th Congressional District.
The candidates filed 48-hour reports covering contributions in excess of $1,000 due to the Federal Elections Commission within 48-hours of receipt.
Franklin has collected $285,200 as reported in his 48-hour filings, which started Oct. 15. That tally includes $150,000 donated by the candidate to his own campaign on Oct. 19.
Cohn trailed Franklin, bringing in $98,090 in the 48-hour reports.
Despite Franklin’s success in last-minute donations, he’s still behind. As of Oct. 14, Franklin collected $836,508 and put in $400,000 of his own money, while Cohn brought in $1,643,123. Even with subsequent contributions in the 48-hour reports, Franklin still lags at $1.52 million to $1.74 million.
Franklin reported $5,000 contributions from organizations including the Rural America Counts PAC, the National Pro-Life Alliance PAC, Home Depot’s PAC, Werner Enterprises Inc. PAC and the SEAL PAC. Other notable contributions include a $2,500 donation from the McDonalds Co. PAC and the With Honor PAC.
Cohn’s largest donation was a $5,000 drop from Laborers’ International Union of North America. Cohn also received a $3,000 donation from Planned Parenthood Action Fund Inc. and Democratic Majority for Israel PAC, and CherPAC gave $2,000. Most of the donors to Cohn’s campaign were individuals.
The Republican candidate leads in the polls, but Cohn is within striking distance in district, according to a recent Change Research poll commissioned by the Florida Democratic Party.
The poll shows Cohn in a statistical tie two points behind Franklin at 44% to 46%, a margin well within the poll’s 4.3% margin of error. That’s a one-point improvement over a previous DCCC-commissioned survey that found Cohn trailing three points.
Cohn leads among early and mail voters 58% to 32%, suggesting he has time to capture more votes, but faces the same challenge Democrats across the state must overcome as more Republicans are expected to vote on Election Day and as the GOP closes the turnout gap through early voting.
The poll also shows an increasingly purple district. While Franklin leads by just two points in the district, incumbent U.S. Rep. Ross Spano won the district two years ago by six points over Democrat Kristen Carlson.
Four years ago President Donald Trump carried the district by 10 points, but only leads former Vice President Joe Biden this year by two points, at 47% to 45%, the same margin by which Franklin leads.
Meanwhile, Trump’s strong unfavorable rating outpaces his strong favorable rating 47% to 41%, a sign more voters are within reach eight days from the General Election.
Republicans hold about an 8,000 voter advantage in the district with 192,474 voters to Democrats’ 184,496 voters. There are 147,430 no party affiliated voters.
CD 15 includes parts of Hillsborough, Lake and Polk counties including Brandon, Riverview and Lakeland.