US Congress District 15 Preview: Cohn vs. Franklin

Posted at 6:00 PM, Oct 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-21 18:00:45-04

TAMPA ,Fla. — District 15 covers a wide area that includes parts of Tampa, Brandon, Riverview, Plant City, Lakeland and Bartow.

Scott Franklin is trying to keep the seat Republican as it’s been since the 1980s.

He is a Lakeland City commissioner who spent 26 years in the Navy before becoming CEO of an insurance company.

“I’m interested in running for this seat because I’m concerned over the direction of this country. Particularly just a lot of frustration about the lack of progress coming out of Congress," said Franklin.

Meanwhile, Alan Cohn is a former television news reporter who was once part of the Investigative team at ABC Action News.

Among his journalistic accomplishments was uncovering a defense contractor who was using defective parts on Black Hawk helicopters.

“And when I was awarded the highest award in journalism, it was for, “helping safeguard the lives of US Military personnel," said Cohn.

Cohn’s campaign ads paint Franklin as an out of touch multi-millionaire who wants to end social security.

Franklin is hitting Cohn hard as well.

“Alan Cohn’s radical agenda. Socialist health care, massive spending, job-killing taxes on electricity," one political advertisement says.

“I don’t think he’s in touch with the needs of the folks. I think the ideas that he’s putting out are going to cost American jobs. And lead us down a path which we don’t want to go toward.”

But it’s an image in one of Franklin’s campaign ad’s that really has Cohn upset.

“It is a fabrication. They took a screenshot and they photoshopped something into it. That is about as dishonest..and it speaks to his character and his integrity.”

“This race is really interesting because it could affect what the majority of the Florida delegation to Congress looks like," said political analyst Dr. Susan MacManus.

She says although District 15 has gone Republican for decades, it’s getting more competitive as more people move into the area.

“This race has become very nationalized which means it has significant across the country and Democrats are pouring money into it hoping to flip this seat," said MacManus.

Franklin says he’ll focus on COVID-19 and what it’s done to the economy, fixing Florida’s infrastructure and affordable health care.

He’s also got the backing of outspoken Polk County Sheriff Grady.

Cohn also wants to tackle health insurance, make things better for working-class families and protect the environment.

“I have been taking on the big corporations. I have been speaking truth to power. I’ve been taking on politicians, Democrat and Republican," said Cohn.

Franklin beat the incumbent, Ross Spano in the primary.

Cohn lost to Dennis Ross in his last congressional run in 2014.

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