Sunday, June 17, 2018
Politics

Hernando Sheriff Al Nienhuis cruises to easy victory in GOP primary

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis is an outsider no more.

Nienhuis cruised to victory in Tuesday's Republican primary election, taking more than 60 percent of the vote in a contest with Bobby Sullivan, a retired Pasco County sheriff's captain who now serves as executive director for public safety at Saint Leo University.

Nienhuis advances to face Democrat James "Eddie" McConnell, a Brooksville resident who most recently served as a captain at the Groveland Police Department, and write-in candidate Nicholas Piccinich. The decisive victory in the primary adds to the edge Nienhuis already had as a Republican incumbent in a county that leans toward GOP candidates.

"I was confident the voters were going to speak clearly, and they've exceeded anything I could have expected," said Nienhuis, who gathered Tuesday night with his family members and supporters to watch the returns at Rookies Sports Bar and Grill in Spring Hill.

Sullivan did not return a message from the Times on Tuesday evening.

The win comes 18 months after then-Gov. Charlie Crist appointed Nienhuis to finish the term of Rich Nugent, who was elected to Congress in 2010. Nugent had recommended that Crist pick Col. Mike Maurer.

Instead, Crist chose Nienhuis, who at the time was undersheriff in Pasco under Bob White. Sullivan, a native Brooksville resident who worked under Nienhuis for about seven years and ran for Pasco sheriff in 2008, tried to cast his former boss as an outsider forced on the county because of his political connections.

Nienhuis appointed Maurer as his second-in-command and got to work making himself known in the community, joining local boards for several local nonprofit groups.

During the campaign, Nienhuis noted that the county's crime rate has reached a 20-year low and that the crime clearance rate is the highest in two decades. He told voters he and wife, Rhonda, and their three daughters consider Hernando home.

Nienhuis said he plans to take some time off today to wave thank-you signs. Then it's back to work on two fronts.

"We've got to continue working really hard at the Sheriff's Office, and we're going to continue working really hard on the campaign," Nienhuis said. "As long as I have an opponent, we're going to run wide open."

Tony Marrero can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1431.

Comments
GOP lawmakers decry family separations as WH defends policy

GOP lawmakers decry family separations as WH defends policy

WASHINGTON ó Congressional Republicans distanced themselves Thursday from the Trump administrationís aggressive policy of separating children from their parents at the southern border even as the White House cited the Bible in defending its "zero tol...
Published: 06/14/18
Sarah Sanders and  Raj Shah are planning to step down, per CBS report

Sarah Sanders and Raj Shah are planning to step down, per CBS report

Press secretary Sarah Sanders and principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah are considering stepping down, according to a CBS report. Sanders promptly responded in a Tweet saying, "I love my job and am honored to work for @POTUS." Does @CBSNews k...
Published: 06/13/18
Updated: 06/14/18
Fed raises key rate and sees possible acceleration in hikes

Fed raises key rate and sees possible acceleration in hikes

WASHINGTON ó The Federal Reserve has raised its benchmark interest rate for the second time this year and signaled that it may step up its pace of rate increases because of solid economic growth and rising inflation. The Fed now foresees four rate hi...
Published: 06/13/18
Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister hits $1 million mark in first bid for election

Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister hits $1 million mark in first bid for election

TAMPA ó Law enforcement officers never want to be outgunned. Neither do political candidates.Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister need not worry.The Republican candidate has amassed what appears to be a record-sized war chest of just more than $1 mil...
Published: 06/12/18
Romano: It ainít voter suppression if you bother to show up

Romano: It ainít voter suppression if you bother to show up

So the Supreme Court is in favor of voter suppression.Or is it election integrity?I suppose your interpretation depends on your party affiliation.Liberals seem convinced that an Ohio voting law upheld by the Supreme Court on Monday is a devious plot ...
Published: 06/12/18
Romano: It ainít voter suppression if you bother to show up

Romano: It ainít voter suppression if you bother to show up

So the Supreme Court is in favor of voter suppression.Or is it election integrity?I suppose your interpretation depends on your party affiliation.Liberals seem convinced that an Ohio voting law upheld by the Supreme Court on Monday is a devious plot ...
Published: 06/12/18
Trumpís tougher Cuba policy having little impact on Tampa area

Trumpís tougher Cuba policy having little impact on Tampa area

TAMPA ó June 16 will mark a year since President Trump announced a tougher Cuba travel policy, but unlike in much of the nation, the changes donít seem to have hurt local bookings to the island.The number of people traveling between Tampa and Havana ...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/13/18
Trump, Kim Jong Un arrive in Singapore for historic summit

Trump, Kim Jong Un arrive in Singapore for historic summit

SINGAPORE - President Donald Trump arrived here Sunday night ahead of a potentially historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the first meeting between the leaders of two countries that have been sworn enemies for almost seven decades.Air...
Published: 06/11/18
Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump made at least $82 million in outside income last year while serving in the White House, filings show

Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump made at least $82 million in outside income last year while serving in the White House, filings show

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the presidentís daughter and son-in-law, brought in at least $82 millionvin outside income while serving as senior White House advisers during 2017, according to new financial disclosure forms released Monday.Ivanka Tr...
Published: 06/11/18
Supreme Court allows Ohio voter purge

Supreme Court allows Ohio voter purge

WASHINGTON ó The Supreme Court is allowing Ohio to clean up its voting rolls by targeting people who havenít cast ballots in a while. The justices rejected, by a 5-4 vote Monday, arguments that the practice violates a federal law intended to increase...
Published: 06/11/18