TAMPA — Alan Cohn, former investigative reporter for WFTS, Channel 28, is planning a run against U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland.
Cohn is assembling a campaign team and planning an announcement next week.
Cohn, 51, of New Tampa, left the television station last year and has since been free-lancing and running a television production company that makes promotional videos for customers including the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and Visit Tampa Bay. He’s never run for public office before.
He acknowledges it’s a difficult task as a political newcomer to take on an established incumbent; Ross has a lengthy political history in Polk County including time as a state legislator. Cohn isn’t starting completely from scratch, however, because of his public exposure as a TV reporter.
“We are going to be aggressive about raising enough money to run this campaign, but we are also going to run an incredible grass-roots campaign,” Cohn said. “I’m also in the position that I don’t have to make empty promises – what I’ve accomplished for my community is out there and documented.”
Another factor that could help Cohn or another Hillsborough-based challenger is the changed make-up of the district. Formerly located mainly in Polk County, Ross’s home turf, the 15th District now includes most of the eastern half of Hillsborough and 58 percent of his voters are in Hillsborough County.
Before coming to WFTS in 2009, Cohn worked as a reporter and investigator at television stations in several other cities including New Haven, Conn., and Miami. He is married and has two high school-aged children.