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101520           Political Note #327   Alan Cohn FL CD 15

2020               General election

I had a chance to be wrong on both the Republican and Democratic primary in this race.  I took that chance and got the both wrong.  Alan Cohn, who won the Democratic nomination, had seemed to disappear.  He didn’t, of course, but I was observing from the distance and couldn’t see.  I wrote a Note about one of his primary opponents, Adam Hattersley.  Alan Cohn won the primary with 41% of the vote.  Hattersley, receiving 33% of the primary vote, lost by more than 4,000 votes.  Third place finisher Jesse Phillipe, a Haitian-born retired marine, an attorney who had worked for two state agencies, who was initially ignored and not invited to debates earned a respectable 26% of the vote.

Alan Cohn was perfectly situated to be the candidate against the incumbent.  First term Congressman Ross Spano had demonstrated an interest in corruption, but not a competence in it.  He was beginning to acknowledge inappropriate fund raising even before he was elected in 2018.  Spano lost to challenger Scott Franklin by 1,500 votes.  Franklin is a multimillionaire who could, true or not, make the claim that wealthy men often make when they run for office.  He says he is not beholden to anyone.  He may be a little beholden to Donald Trump who is putting up some of his scarce money for this campaign.

Scott Franklin describes himself as a pro-Trump conservative.  He did a three- year stint as a Lakeland City Commissioner, but is best thought of as a retired Navy flyer who is the President and CEO of an insurance and risk management agency.

Both of the candidates were well situated to defeat Ross Spano. Which one is situated to defeat the other?   A wealthy conservative who appealed to Donald Trump’s base and an investigative journalist who has looked for, found, and publicized corruption.  Each of them raised just under $600,000 for their campaigns.  Each spent most of their money on their primary.  Each entered August with slightly more than $100,000 for the general election campaign.  If Trump spends enough money on the campaign, Scott Franklin will be able to avoid self-funding.

Like a lot of Floridians, Alan Cohn had a life in the Northeast before he came to Tampa.  His college was Hofstra on Long Island.  He was interested in television news early and did a college internship at CBS. Before he became the news-anchor and managing editor at ABC7 in Sarasota, he worked in New York at NBC, in New England at New England Cable News Network, in New Haven, CT at WTNH, in Hartford, CT at WTIC, in Springfield, MA at WGGB, in Miami at WAMI, and in Tampa at WFTS.   He won awards.  He won a Peabody for an investigation of quality control at Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, CT.  He won an Emmy for discovering that a convicted murderer was attempting to become a cop in Boston.  He discovered that DMV officials in Connecticut were selling drivers’ licenses.  On his campaign website, he touts Florida stories about a politician who hid his corruption and his ownership of a vacation home, a conman who claimed to be an ex-marine, and his help for a Vietnam Veteran who the VA had denied benefits to for 30 years.

Looking at endorsements is not ordinarily productive.  In Alan Cohn’s case, it is interesting.  Of the ten organizations that are endorsing him for this Congressional race, six are unions.  Alan Cohn has built a relationship with area unions.  He had two endorsements from people mislabeled as community leaders.  National leaders would be more like it.  Terry Root was one.  She is a Fellow at Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment and a co-winner of the Nobel Prize with Al Gore.  The other is Randy Bryce, surprise insurgent candidate and prolific fund raiser against Congressman Paul Ryan in Wisconsin.

These endorsements are clues to Alan Cohn’s campaign priorities and his priorities should he be elected.  He would work to root out corruption, support workers and their unions, address climate change, and reach out to those who want to change the system.

Alan Cohn has to defeat Scott Franklin first.  We are in the midst of a presidential campaign and Scott Franklin has staked out priorities that resonate with the Republican campaign – Christian values, fighting socialists like Bernie Sanders, cutting taxes, protecting gun owners.  Republican candidates for Congress usually win in this district.  Alan Cohn was the Democratic candidate here in 2014 and lost this district which stretches from north of Tampa to south of Orlando — 60-40.

Help Alan Cohn do better this time.  Money can make a difference. Changes in the district can make a difference. Jesse Phillipe’s strength in the primary is a sign of change. The District is still majority white.  But it is 25% Hispanic and 15% Black.

Winning FL 15 is more important than it seems.  If Democrats can flip one Republican House district (and this is the likeliest), Democrats will have a majority in Florida’s Congressional delegation.  In any other year, big deal?  In 2020, when the choice of a President could be made by the House of Representatives, a very big deal indeed.  Should the House of Representatives vote to elect a President, it will vote by state delegation.  In the current Congress, Republicans have a majority in 26 delegations, Democrats in 23, and one delegation is tied.  If no other Florida seats change parties, a victory by Alan Cohn would reduce the delegation difference between Republicans and Democrats to 25-24.  That would be a very big step toward electing Joe Biden President.

Consider a donation to Alan Cohn https://alancohnforcongress.comJoin the Democratic effort in Florida and the national effort to elect a Democratic President.

DEMOCRATIC CHALLENGERS WITH POLL RESULTS WHERE I HAVE THEM – Lots of candidate worth supporting.  Where no recent poll is available, judgments are primarily from the Cook Report.  Poll results are mostly from Daily Kos Elections. 

Alaska AK                         Alyce Galvin to defeat incumbent Don Young (Lean R) (Galvin 43-41, 43-42)

Arizona 06                        Hiral Tipirneni to defeat incumbent David Schweikert (Toss up) (Schweikert 45-43, Tipirmeni 49-45, 48-45)

Arkansas 02.                    Joyce Elliott to defeat incumbent French Hill (Lean R) (Tied 48-48) (Elliott 48-46) (Hill 48-46)

California 25.                    Christy Smith to defeat incumbent Mike Garcia who won the May special election. (Toss up) (Smith 56-45) (Garcia 46-45, 48-41)

California 50                     Ammar Campa-Hajjar to defeat Darrell Issa for this open Rep seat (Likely R) (Issa 46-45, 47-43)

Colorado 03                      Diane Mitsch Bush to defeat Lauren Boebert for this open Republican seat  (Lean R) (Mitsch Bush 46-44-4-sev parties, 43-42-10-sev parties)

Florida 15                         Alan Cohn to defeat Scott Franklin for the open Republican seat. (Lean R) (Franklin 49-42)

Florida 16                         Margaret Good to defeat incumbent Vern Buchanan. (Likely R) (Buchanan 53-37,51-35, 53-33)

Georgia 07                       Carolyn Bordeaux to defeat Rich McCormick for this open Republican seat. (Lean D)

Illinois 13                          Betsy Dirksen Londrigen to defeat incumbent Rodney Davis (Davis 48-47, Londrigan 43-41,)

Indiana 05                        Christina Hale to defeat Victoria Spartz for this open Republican seat (Hale 47-40, 50-45, 51-45) (Spatz 47-40)

Iowa 02                             Rita Hart to defeat Marienette Miller-Meeks for this open seat (Toss-up)

Iowa 04                            JD Scholten to defeat Randy Feenstra for this open seat (Likely R)

Kansas 02                        Michelle De La Isla to defeat Jacob La Turner for this open Republican seat (Likely R)

Michigan 03.                    Hillary Scholten to defeat Peter Meijer for this open Republican seat (Likely R) (Tied 41-41, Meijer 48-41, Scholten 44-42, 40-39,)

Michigan 06                     Jon Hoadley to defeat incumbent Fred Upton (Lean R) (Upton 46-40, 51-43)

Minnesota 01                   Dan Feehan* to defeat incumbent Jim Hagedorn (Tied 41-41, Hagedorn 41-38, Feehan 48-46)

Missouri 02                      Jill Schupp to defeat incumbent Ann Wagner (Toss up) (Tied 49-49) (Schupp 48-45)

Montana AL                     Kathleen Williams to defeat Matt Rosendale for this open Republican seat (Lean R) (DK Polling Average Williams 48-46)

Nebraska 01                    State Senator Kate Bolz to defeat incumbent Jeff Fortenberry (Safe R)

Nebraska 02.                   Kara Eastman to defeat incumbent Don Bacon (Toss up) (Bacon 45-43)

New Jersey 02                Amy Kennedy to defeat incumbent Jeff Van Drew (Kennedy 49-44, 46-45, 51-46)

New York 01                    Nancy Goroff to defeat. Incumbent Lee Zeldin. (Lean R) (Goroff 48-46) (Zeldin 47-42, 47-40)

New York 02                    Jackie Gordon to defeat Andrew Garbarino for this open Republican seat. (Toss up)

New York 21                    Tedra Cobb* to defeat incumbent Elise Stefanic. (Toss up)

New York 23                     Tracy Mitrano to defeat incumbent Tom Reed (Reed 47-40)

New York 24                    Dana Balter* to defeat incumbent John Katko. (Lean R) (Katko 51-40. 40-37) (Balter 48-46, 48-45, 47-46)

North Carolina 08.           Patricia Timmons-Goodson to defeat. Inc Richard Hudson. (Lean R) (Hudson 44-42)

North Carolina 09.           Cynthia Wallace to defeat incumbent Dan Bishop. (Likely R) (Wallace 34-30)

North Carolina 11            Morris Davis to defeat Madison Cawthorn in this Open Seat (Likely R) (Davis 46-42) (Cawthorn 42-40, 46-41)

Ohio 01                            Kate Schroder to defeat Inc Steve Chabot (Schroder 50-46 47-46) (Chabot 48-46)

Pennsylvania 01              Christina Finello to defeat incumbent Brian Fitzpatrick. (Toss up) (Fitzpatrick 47- 35, 53-39, 50-35) (Finello 40-38) (Tied 46-46)

Pennsylvania 10              Eugene DePasquale to defeat incumbent Scott Perry. (Lean R). September (DePasquale 50-43, 50-46)

South Carolina 02           Adair Ford Boroughs to defeat incumbent Joe Wilson (LIkely R)

Texas 02                         Sima Ladjervardian to defeat incumbent Dan Crenshaw. (Likely R)

Texas 03                         Lulu Seikaly to defeat Inc Van Taylor September (Taylor 44-43) July (Taylor 43-37)

Texas 10                        Mike Siegel to defeat Inc Mike McCaul (McCaul 45-43)

Texas 17                        Rick Kennedy to defeat Pete Sessions in an open Republican seat. August Sessions 45-42

Texas 21                         Wendy Davis to defeat incumbent Chip Roy. (Toss up) (Davis 48-47) (Tied 46-46)

Texas 22                         Sri Preston Kalkuri to defeat Troy Nehls for this open seat. (Tied 39-39) (Safe D)

Texas 23                          Gina Ortiz Jones to defeat Tony Gonzales for this open Republican seat. (Lean D)

Texas 24                          Candace Valenzuela to defeat Beth Van Duyne for this open Republican seat. (Toss up)

Texas 25                         Julie Oliver to defeat Inc Roger Williams (Williams 52-40)

Virginia 05                       B. Cameron Webb to defeat Bob Good for this open Republican seat. (Toss up) (Webb 45-44) (Good 47-46, 44-42, 43-41)

Washington 03                 Carolyn Long to defeat incumbent Jaime Herrera Beutler (Likely R) (Herrera Beutler 49-47)

Wisconsin 07                   Tricia Zunker to defeat incumbent Tom Tiffany who won the May Special Election. (Solid R)