Alan Cohn, the Democratic contender in the CD15 race.
Although a poll recently conducted by a Democratic Party firm shows Polk County area Congressman Dennis Ross leading Democratic challenger Alan Cohn by a 42-35 percent margin, those pollsters say that the Democrat is "in position to unseat" the GOP incumbent.
In a memo penned by Molly Murphy and Kevin Akins from the D.C.-based Democratic polling firm Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, the authors note that "despite a history of voting for Republican candidates, this seat is in play this year, largely due to Dennis Ross’ low profile in the district and Alan Cohn’s profile as an investigate reporter who has stood up to corruption and is not afraid to take on the powerful. Dennis Ross is a little-known incumbent."
The reason for that optimism? The pollsters say it's because when the the voters in Congressional District 15 (which comprises much of Polk County and Eastern Hillsborough County, including Temple Terrace and the USF area) are informed about the candidates, the margin between the two of them narrows considerably.
Murphy and Akins write that "after reading balanced paragraphs on each candidate," Ross is only up 47-45 percent, a statistical tie.
The pollsters helpfully list what they say was read aloud to voters about the two candidates (perhaps to dissuade the notion that it was a "push poll" that slammed Ross).
Alan Cohn is a Democrat from Tampa. He is an Emmy award-winning investigative reporter who covered Hillsborough and Polk Counties with WFTS Channel 28. As a reporter, Cohn uncovered the biggest case of political corruption in the last decade. He has always stood up for consumers and veterans. Cohn says he's running for Congress because he wants to fight for middle class families, so they have a level playing field to succeed. In Congress, he will work to create jobs, balance the budget, raise the minimum wage, invest in education, and protect Medicare and Social Security benefits.
Dennis Ross, a Republican from Lakeland, is the current member of Congress. Ross has spent his entire career fighting for greater transparency and accountability in government, and is leading the fight to reduce wasteful spending. Ross believes in growing the economy by cutting taxes, through fiscal responsibility, and repealing Obamacare. Ross says he is running for Congress to stand up for taxpayers and job creators, to oppose the big government Obama-Pelosi policies, and to represent Florida values in Washington.
If nothing else, the memo appears to be a call to arms for Democrats to start contributing to Cohn's still very uphill candidacy. As of March 31, Ross had raised $717,695, with $468,790 on hand. Cohn, meanwhile, had raised just $159,966, with only $70,301 on hand.
In a statement accompanying the pollster's memo, Cohn said, "This poll reflects what I have seen and heard throughout the last several years. Congress is broken, paralyzed and incapable of tackling our most serious challenges and continuing to send Dennis Ross back to Washington is a guarantee of more of the same. "
Anzalone Liszt Grove Research conducted 400 live telephone interviews on landlines and cellphones with likely 2014 voters in CD15. Expected margin of sampling error is ±4.9 percent.