Alan Cohn won Tuesday’s Democratic primary for the 15th Congressional District and a place in the general election against Republican Scott Franklin.
Cohn, a former investigative television journalist for WFTS-28, defeated Florida Rep. Adam Hattersley, who finished second, and Jesse Philippe, who came in third. Now his focus will turn to flipping what has been a long-held seat by Republicans on Nov. 3.
Cohn finished with 41 percent of the vote, while Hattersley finished with 33 percent and Philippe with 25 percent.
Congressional District 15, which stretches from Lakeland to Clermont to the northeastern suburbs of Tampa, leans Republican. The district voted for both Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis by about 7 points in 2018 and for Donald Trump by 10 points in 2016, according to election results.
Cohn also ran for Congress in 2014 for District 15, but lost by over 40,000 votes to then-incumbent Republican Dennis A. Ross.
Both Cohn, 59, and Hattersley, 42, ran as moderates in the primary. Cohn, however, repeatedly attacked Hattersley for recently switching to the Democratic Party in 2018, when he ran for and won a seat in the Florida House of Representatives.
Cohn also attacked Hattersley, a Navy veteran who earned a Bronze Star during the Iraq War, for not supporting an assault weapons ban and for being endorsed by the conservative Blue Dog Democrats caucus. That group, Cohn said, weakened Obamacare and included the only Democrats to vote against raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
“Adam is a typical politician,” Cohn said in June. “He has a conservative agenda that doesn’t do any favors for working families.”
Cohn will face off against Scott Franklin in the general election. Franklin defeated Rep. Ross Spano, the incumbent, by thin margins on Tuesday.