Scott Franklin

City Commissioner Scott Franklin has raised $266,786 — $160,000 of it a personal loan — in the first two weeks of his campaign to unseat fellow Republican Ross Spano in the U.S. House of Representatives.

His tally includes nearly 50 donations between $1,000 and $2,800 — the limit for each election cycle. The majority of donors are from Lakeland — many of them well-known in business and political circles — and a handful are from Tampa or out of state.

Florida’s 15th Congressional District includes most of Lakeland, a large swath of East Hillsborough County and Clermont in Lake County. Until Dover resident Spano was elected in 2018, Lakeland had been represented in Congress by a Polk County resident back to the mid-1970s.

Campaign reports for the first quarter are due next week and so far none of the other candidates — Spano and Democrats Alan Cohn and Adam Hattersley — have filed theirs.

Spano had less than $125,000 cash on hand at the end of December and more than $83,000 in debt, according to filings with the Federal Elections Commission.

Democrats Cohn, a former television reporter and anchor who lives in New Tampa, reported $190,000 in fund-raising at the end of December, and Hattersley, a state representative from Riverview, reported $274,000.

Franklin, 55, is serving his first term on the City Commission, having been elected in 2017. A Naval Academy graduate and 14-year Navy pilot, he was until recently CEO of the insurance company Lanier Upshaw. The Lakeland-based company was recently acquired by BKS Partners, where Franklin now serves as a managing partner.

Lakeland residents contributing the maximum $2,800 allowed per election cycle to Franklin are David J. Adams, Carol J. Barnett, Barney Barnett, Wesley Beck, Amy W. Franklin, James C. Franklin Jr., Lavon K. Franklin, Jack Harrell Jr., Tina W. Harrell, Edward H. Laderer, Joseph Little, Jaimi L. Miller, James D. Robinson and Shelley A. Robinson. See the full list here.

More coverage: Tampa Bay Times | Florida Politics

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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