Alan Cohn, Eddie Geller stake out different areas on the Left in CD 15

Will voters seek out an independent voice or an enthusiastic progress.

While election forecasts remain grim for Democrats, the creation of a new congressional seat offers the party some hope. In Florida’s 15th Congressional District, two camera-ready Democrats hold confidence they can win the open seat, but voters on Aug. 23 have yet to decide whose approach is preferred.

Veteran broadcaster Alan Cohn, who has run twice prior in different configurations of an east Hillsborough seat, jumped back into the running this year. Familiar to voters both from the 2020 campaign and as an investigative reporter in the region, he hopes voters entrust him with the Democratic nomination once again.

Meanwhile, comedian and former MoveOn video producer Eddie Geller immediately captured attention with humor-infused videos introducing himself to voters, and has followed that up with garnering the support of progressive groups.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) this week became the latest group on the Left to rally behind Geller, who has painted himself as the true blue choice.

“I am very proud to have received this endorsement from the PCCC, an organization dedicated to fighting for progressive policies that will help everyday people like those in Florida’s 15th Congressional District,” Geller said.

“I’m ready to fight for these bold issues because this is exactly the change that will bring real results to the district, especially as we deal with the impacts that a lack of healthcare and the climate crisis have on our neighbors. I’m ready to rally and fight for Floridians, and this endorsement will help expand an already-growing coalition that will get me to Congress.”

His latest television ad showcased the support of Progressives for Democracy in America, the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida and the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Tampa Bay. He’s also lined up some endorsements from individuals with serious capital on the Left, including state Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat, and former state Rep. Sean Shaw, a Tampa Bay Democrat.

Cohn, meanwhile, has amplified independence, marketing himself as someone who will be able to work in Congress with Democrats and Republicans.

“It’s that vision and set of bold, commonsense beliefs that will propel us to victory in November,” he said.

Cohn, despite a late entry into the field, lined up major names of his own who have experience winning their places in Congress. His endorsers include U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, Lois Frankel and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the latter of whom ran recruitment efforts for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this cycle.

In pre-Primary financial filings with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Cohn reported he held $131,199 in cash on hand as of Aug. 3. Geller, on the other hand, had $146,052.

While Cohn and Geller are the two front-runners in the race, Gavin Brown, Cesar Ramirez and William VanHorn are also seeking the Democratic nomination.

Whoever earns the nod will still face a challenge in the General Election. The open seat attracted 5 Republicans who qualified to run. The terrain appears to favor Republicans, and 50.86% of voters under the new lines voted for Republican Donald Trump in the 2020 election, compared to 47.74% who went for Democrat Joe Biden.

That makes it one of the most closely divided in the state, and the swingiest seat in Florida with no incumbent running this year.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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