Third Run for Dennis Ross Will Be a Little More Competitive

By: Jeff Henderson | Posted: April 25, 2014 3:55 AM
Dennis Ross

Dennis Ross

Dennis Ross didn’t draw any opposition in the 2012 election but he won’t have as easy a time in 2014 as he runs for a third term in Congress.

The Florida Democratic Party is looking to make an issue of Ross’s opposition to raising the minimum wage at a town hall event last week. At the event, Ross said raising the minimum wage “isn’t right” and hurts the economy more than it helps it. Ross’s response got a bit of national notice and liberal groups started piling on. The Florida Democrats sent out a fundraising email on Thursday, hoping to bring in bucks due to Ross's opposition to raising the minimum wage and pointing out that Rick Scott also stands against it.

Unlike last time out, Ross has already drawn a major Democratic opponent in former TV reporter Alan Cohn. Despite Ross’s easy win in 2012, Cohn has started off by raising money, already stocking up almost $160,000 by the end of March. Almost 141,250 came from individual donors while $13,630 came from PACs and Cohn chipped in $5,100 from his own funds. Cohn had $70,300 in the bank at the end of March. While Cohn isn’t keeping pace with Ross, he had a good start and has proven he’s not going to be mere cannon fodder by any means.

But Ross will be hard to beat. With a district covering most of Polk County and the eastern part of Hillsborough County, Ross has brought in almost $717,950 so far, including $522,504 from PACs. If Cohn starts to look like a threat, Ross should be able to rely on conservative and Republican groups to help him out.

Ross has also proven to be a winner on the campaign trail. It’s easy to underestimate him since he often appears to be in the shadow of another prominent Florida politician. Ross has followed in Adam Putnam’s footsteps twice, moving up to the Florida House and later Congress after his fellow Polk County Republican sought other office. But Ross is a strong campaigner, beating out Democrat Lori Edwards and conservative third-party challenger Randy Wilkinson back in 2010 to win his seat in Congress.

As he readies to run a third time, Ross starts off with a strong edge though Cohn is a live underdog, one who is media savvy and willing to put in hard work on the campaign trail and with fundraising. Ross doesn’t have the flashiest of congressional profiles -- though he does some good work on the Financial Services Committee and its various subcommittees -- but he should be in fine shape as he turns his focus toward re-election.

Tallahassee-based political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.

Comments (2)

12:06AM APR 30TH 2014
Proud to support the re-election of Dennis Ross in 2014!!
6:29AM APR 25TH 2014
DENNIS ROSS 2014 !!!

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