Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Politics

Brooksville engineer enters Hernando commission race, denies conspiracy

BROOKSVILLE — Brooksville engineer Nick Nicholson has joined the crowded race for the Hernando County Commission seat now held by Jeff Stabins.

Nicholson, a Republican, prequalified for the District 1 seat Wednesday, a day after another Republican in the race claimed that Nicholson's candidacy was part of a conspiracy between Nicholson and Stabins.

Candidate Michael Burmann told the Tampa Bay Times that Nicholson and Stabins were attempting to do one of two things: Either Stabins was going to drop out of the race and endorse Nicholson, or the two were attempting to split the vote in the Republican primary, which will be on Aug. 14. The general election is on Nov. 6.

With Nicholson entering the race, he is likely to draw support from the home builders with whom he works, the same constituents that have backed Burmann in the past, Burmann said. Burmann works as a home inspector.

"He'd draw votes from me,'' Burmann said.

Nicholson and Stabins were too close as friends to run against one another, Burmann insisted. Not only that, but Nicholson has financially backed Stabins as a candidate in the past.

Stabins said Burmann's thought process was flawed.

"I think the guy is a nut for suggesting conspiracy,'' Stabins said Wednesday. "This is old-school Burmann. This is all his two-headed snake stuff that we saw from him in 2008. The guy is unfit for public office.''

Stabins, who has waffled on his re-election plans, said he is a candidate and noted that on Tuesday he filed his most recent campaign contribution report with the supervisor of elections. He has raised approximately $4,000 toward his re-election bid.

"Yes, I've known Nick Nicholson for over 20 years,'' Stabins said. "He is a competent professional who will be a very viable candidate for the seat.''

Stabins said he supports anyone's effort to run for public office and noted that he even made a point during the redrawing of commission districts several months ago to make sure that all of the announced candidates for his seat were in the newly drawn district.

Stabins lashed out at Burmann, saying, "I'm not impressed with his credentials and am very disappointed that he has slithered into the gutter this early in the race.''

Nicholson responded to Burmann's allegations saying that he is running for the seat because he wants to give back to the community and he believes his education, including a master's degree in civil engineering and a master of business administration, would be useful on the commission.

He also acknowledged that he has known Stabins a long time and that Stabins, a former teacher, tutored his two children.

"I entered this race because I want to serve the community,'' Nicholson said. "I am not playing a game here. This is very serious. I feel I can do a great job."

Nicholson, 65, is the owner of Nicholson Engineering Associates. Born in Ohio, he has been a resident of Hernando County since 1986. He served for seven years on the county's Planning and Zoning Commission, is chairman of the Hernando Waterway Restoration Council and serves on the Florida Building Commission.

He said he is interested in using his experience to help the county solve its budget issues, focus on filling existing subdivisions, make wise decisions on infrastructure and continue to streamline the process of issuing permits.

Burmann said he can take the criticism from Stabins about his candidacy, but the "two-headed snake" reference offended him.

"I don't think my track record earns me that label,'' Burmann said. "This name-calling thing is immature.''

In addition to Stabins, Burmann and Nicholson, Regina Werder-McGuire has prequalified for the Republican primary. Democrat Arlene Glantz and Joseph Swilley, an independent, have also prequalified.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

Comments
Focused on Cuba’s future, Rep. Castor skips meeting with Raul Castro

Focused on Cuba’s future, Rep. Castor skips meeting with Raul Castro

TAMPA — One highlight of a congressional delegation’s visit to Cuba this week was an impromptu meeting with President Raul Castro.But not for U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor.The Tampa Democrat joined five other Democrats on the trip, in part to investigate th...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Melania Trump’s parents are legal permanent residents, raising questions on ‘chain migration’

Melania Trump’s parents are legal permanent residents, raising questions on ‘chain migration’

The parents of first lady Melania Trump have become legal permanent residents of the United States and are close to obtaining their citizenship, according to people familiar with their status, but their attorney declined to say how or when the couple...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Alex Trebek will moderate a Republican debate in the Pennsylvania governor’s race

Alex Trebek will moderate a Republican debate in the Pennsylvania governor’s race

We’ll take "surprising side gigs" for $1,000! "Jeopardy" host Alex Trebek will moderate a debate among Republican hopefuls vying for the Pennsylvania gubernatorial nomination.The longtime game show star will be questioning candidates at an Oct. 1 for...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Spring Hill candidate for Congress: ‘I care about this community — I will scream that from the rafters’

Spring Hill candidate for Congress: ‘I care about this community — I will scream that from the rafters’

SPRING HILL — A Hernando County woman new to the political arena has filed as the fifth Democrat to run against longtime Florida lawmaker U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster for his spot in the U.S. House of Representatives.Dana Cottrell, 49, has lived in Sprin...
Updated: 6 hours ago
St. Petersburg regatta to Havana again buffeted by politics

St. Petersburg regatta to Havana again buffeted by politics

The 2017 St. Petersburg-Habana Yacht Race was celebrated as more than a competitive regatta to Cuba’s capital city of Havana.The relaunch of the maritime competition canceled since 1959 was hailed as a reflection of the detente started under former P...
Published: 02/20/18
Special counsel files new charge in Russia probe

Special counsel files new charge in Russia probe

WASHINGTON — The special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election charged an attorney Tuesday with lying to federal investigators about his interactions with a former Trump campaign official. A charging document filed in federa...
Published: 02/20/18
Man featured on ‘Trump Dating’ site has child sex conviction

Man featured on ‘Trump Dating’ site has child sex conviction

GREENSBORO, N.C. — A North Carolina man with a felony conviction for indecent liberties with a child was one-half of the poster couple for a new "Trump Dating" website.News outlets reported Monday that visitors to the dating site geared toward suppor...
Published: 02/20/18
Ex-workers at Russian ‘troll factory’ trust U.S. indictment

Ex-workers at Russian ‘troll factory’ trust U.S. indictment

Associated PressST. PETERSBURG, Russia — While Russian officials scoff at a U.S. indictment charging 13 Russians with meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, several people who worked at the same St. Petersburg, Russia, "troll factory" say t...
Published: 02/19/18
Trump offers support for limited effort on background checks

Trump offers support for limited effort on background checks

Associated PressWEST PALM BEACH — From the confines of his Mar-a-Lago golf club, President Donald Trump offered support Monday for a limited strengthening of federal background checks on gun purchases while staying largely mum in the past few days ab...
Published: 02/19/18
For the weary White House, Florida shooting offered a ‘reprieve’ from scandals

For the weary White House, Florida shooting offered a ‘reprieve’ from scandals

The White House was under siege.Domestic abuse allegations against a senior aide were ignored, pointing to a potential high-level coverup. Two Cabinet secretaries were caught chargin taxpayers for luxury travel. A Playboy centerfold alleged an extram...
Published: 02/19/18