For years, Lakeland was represented by one member of the U.S. House of Representatives. After this year’s realignment of districts, Lakeland is split nearly in half. District 15 covers all of Lakeland west of Florida Avenue and U.S. 98 N. District 18 covers the other half.

The Districts

District 15 includes portions of Lakeland west of Florida Avenue and U.S. 98. There is no incumbent.
District 18 includes portions of Lakeland east of Florida Avenue and U.S. 98. Republican incumbent Scott Franklin faces challengers from both parties.

District 15

The District 15 race is getting a lot of attention because it has no incumbent. The Republican and Democratic primaries each drew five candidates. The primary winners, who face off on Nov. 8, are Republican Laurel Lee, a former Florida secretary of state, and Democrat Alan Cohn, a former TV news anchor and investigative reporter.

Laurel Lee, R

  • Republican
  • Brandon, age 48
  • Website
  • Facebook | Twitter | Vimeo
  • Campaign finance
  • Campaign slogan: A Conservative Leader for Congressional District 15.
  • Endorsements: Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, Plant City Mayor Nathan Kilton, Green Beret Jay Collins, Concerned Veterans for America Action

Alan Cohn, D

  • Democrat
  • Tampa, age 59
  • Website
  • Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
  • Campaign finance
  • Campaign slogan: Independent Leadership for Florida
  • Endorsements: Former Governor/Congressman Charlie Crist, Former Florida CFO Alex Sink, Former Education Commissioner Betty Castor, State Attorney Andrew Warren, Former Florida House Majority Leader Samuel Bell III, U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Lois Frankel, and six labor unions

News links

  • PAC supporting Laurel Lee gets $1 million infusion – Florida Politics, July 19
  • Misleading ads tied to PAC supporting Stargel – Florida Politics, Aug. 4
  • Open District 15 seat draws five ambitious Democrats – The Ledger (subscribers only), Aug. 10
  • Five Republicans vie to be candidate for Florida’s new 15th Congressional district – The Ledger, Aug. 11
  • Abortion question divides congressional candidates – News Channel 8, Sept. 13
  • Cohn seeks to pin down Lee on abortion – Tampa Bay Times, Sept. 17
  • Cohn raises $400,000 in third quarter – Florida Politics, Oct. 5
  • Lee, Florida’s ex-elections chief, says Biden won Florida but won’t vouch for other states – Tampa Bay Times, Oct. 9
  • Democrat Alan Cohn faces Republican Laurel Lee for open seat – The Ledger, Oct. 24
  • Cohn and Lee differ on key issues – ABC Action News, Oct. 26

District 18, Republicans

Reapportionment put Scott Franklin, a former Lakeland city commissioner, into District 18; he is currently completing his first term in Congress. He faced four Republican opponents in the August primary and faces a general election opponent who is not affiliated with a political party.

Scott Franklin (incumbent)

  • Republican
  • Lakeland, age 58
  • Website
  • Facebook | Twitter | YouTube
  • Campaign finance
  • Campaign slogan: Conservative for Congress
  • Endorsements: Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, as well as sheriffs in Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, Okeechobee, Hardee and Highlands counties

Keith R. Hayden Jr.

  • No party affiliation
  • Sebring, age 47
  • Website
  • Twitter
  • Campaign finance unavailable
  • Campaign slogan: A Strong Conservative That Wants to Go to Work and Fight for You

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Barry Friedman

Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com 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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