Sunday, May 20, 2018
TV and Media

Former TV reporter to run against U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross

Ask if he's leaving journalism behind for good by running for political office and Alan Cohn equivocates, noting that some figures in cable news have moved from politics to punditry and back again.

But Cohn — a former investigative reporter at WFTS-Ch. 28 who has occasionally filed reports for ABC News as a freelancer — eventually admits that in choosing to run as a Democrat against U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross to represent Florida's 15th Congressional district, he's probably leaving some kinds of journalism behind.

"You can't do what I'm doing and go back to covering a beat," said Cohn, 50. "But I would like to do this more than any job I can think of."

Cohn plans to announce his candidacy against Ross, a Lakeland native and Republican who spent years in Florida's House of Representatives, on Thursday morning. He said recent redistricting, which includes more of Hillsborough County, may improve his chances of appealing to an area which once was more solidly Republican.

He made a name as an investigative reporter over three years at WFTS, revealing an undisclosed vacation home owned by the wife of then-Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman.

But WFTS let him go in June 2012 with no public explanation; Cohn said then and now he doesn't know why they ended his employment. He created a company, AMC Productions, which has developed promotional videos for the state's tourism office and Tampa's Chamber of Commerce.

He's hoping some of the notoriety he gained as a TV reporter will help in his first bid for public office. "We're all frustrated by the gridlock in Washington," said Cohn, who lives in New Tampa with his wife, Patricia, and two teenage children. "That's not who we are."

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