Dennis Ross declines Tiger Bay candidate forum with opponent Alan Cohn

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U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross is declining to share the stage with his Democratic opponent, former Tampa broadcast journalist Alan Cohn at a candidate forum hosted by the Tampa Tiger Bay Club.

Cohn, best known for his work at WFTS-Ch. 28, accepted an invitation for the Aug. 15 meeting, but the incumbent said no.

“Maybe he’ll change his mind,” according to an email sent to Tiger Bay members. “Dennis is a savvy guy. Maybe we’ll see him after all.”

Cohn might be a political novice, but many voters know him because of his TV work, writes William March of the Tampa Tribune. Cohn intends to give Ross a “significant challenge.”

Ross had won re-election in 2012 without opposition.

As a non-partisan lunch club, Tiger Bay Club has a focus on local and statewide politics. The group frequently hosts officeholders and candidates of both parties for debates, issue forums and question-and-answer sessions, often with members asking tough questions.

The Cohn-Ross candidate forum is scheduled for noon Aug. 15 in Maestro’s at the Straz restaurant.

Ross represents Florida’s 15th Congressional District, covering parts of Hillsborough and Polk Counties, Lakeland, Plant City, New Tampa and Bartow.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.