On second thought, former state Rep. Peter Nehr will not be running for the Pinellas County Commission after all.
Nehr, a Republican who served six years in the state House, from 2006 to 2012, but lost his bid for a fourth term last year to Democrat Carl Zimmerman, officially withdrew from the commission race in late April. He sent the Supervisor of Elections a letter stating: "Effective immediately I am withdrawing as a candidate for the elected position of Pinellas County Commission District #4."
2012 was not the smoothest year for Nehr. In July, he made national news for sending his friends pictures of himself shirtless - intended, he said, to show them how much weight he'd lost while struggling with diabetes. Then after he lost the election for House District 65, the Times' Steve Bousquet found that Nehr had used leftover campaign money to pay his live-in girlfriend, an acupuncturist, $22,000. Nehr said the payments were for "consulting, editing and fundraising" work.
By then, he had already announced his candidacy for the District 4 seat on the Pinellas commission, which Susan Latvala has occupied since 2000. In light of the recent term limits ruling, Latvala plans to run for a fourth term in 2014. Four people have filed to run against her, but two, including Nehr, have now withdrawn. The remaining two are Republican Timothy Keffalas and Democrat Jack McAdoo.
Asked by a reporter why he'd dropped out of the race, Nehr said he couldn't hear the question and hung up. He has not responded to subsequent requests for comment.