Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Palm Harbor House Democrat has target on his back

Palm Harbor House Democrat has target on his back

There are few Democratic state representatives in Florida with a bigger target on their back this year than state Rep. Carl Zimmermann, D-Palm Harbor. He beat Republican incumbent Peter Nehr in 2012, and Republicans are determined to win back that seat and confident they will.

It's an ominous sign for Zimmermann — today's guest on Political Connections on Bay News 9 — that through March he had raised about $63,000 for his re-election, compared to the $140,000 raised by Republican challenger Chris Sprowls and $6,800 by Republican Debbie Ann Faulkner.

Zimmermann, a public school teacher, says that when he arrived in Tallahassee, Republicans determined to make him a one-termer told him they "weren't going to agenda a single bill of mine."

Having spent nearly two years in the Legislature, he sounds less than idealistic about how Tallahassee operates.

"So much of the legislation appears very obviously influenced by a tremendous amount of money going to a party behind a particular issue," Zimmermann said. "When you read the bills and you look for the motive, it is amazing how blatantly obvious some of this stuff is."

Political Connections airs at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Jolly opponents

So far only one credible and prominent Democrat has emerged to challenge newly elected U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Indian Shores: the Rev. Manuel Sykes. But we're hearing buzz about another serious contender, Eric Lynn, who grew up in Pinellas but currently works in Washington as a senior Obama administration adviser on Middle East policy. A onetime aide to former U.S. Rep. Peter Deutsch of South Florida, Lynn in 2008 also helped lead the Obama campaign's outreach to Jewish voters.

Rubio, gun owner

Sen. Marco Rubio spoke Friday to the National Rifle Association in Indianapolis, and he came to the gathering with some bona fides: He owns a .357 Magnum and has a concealed weapons permit in Florida.

Still, the Florida Republican is a relative newcomer to gun ownership, and it has coincided with his political rise. In September 2009, while he was running for the Senate, Rubio went through training for the permit.

"He's a good shot," instructor Charlie Berrane told the Buzz at the time.

Rubio said he decided to get a permit because he talks a lot about the 2nd Amendment on the campaign trail and wanted to show the importance of safety. He wanted to lead "by example."

"Every right we have comes with a corresponding responsibility. And part of that responsibility is to be a safe owner of guns. Concealed weapons permit holders are the most law abiding, safest gun owners on the planet," Rubio said.

He indicated in 2009 that he was in no rush to actually get a gun. But he told the Washington Times this year that he purchased the revolver in February 2010. "For the same reasons a lot of people want to purchase a gun in America: to be able to defend your family."

Rubio told a conservative columnist that he and his wife train at a gun range "two or three times a year."

As a state legislator, Rubio was a consistent backer of legislation favored by the NRA but a "guns-to-work" bill that pitted the gun lobby against the Chamber of Commerce caused him headaches. Rubio, as House speaker, pushed for a compromise bill.

"He was a big disappointment to us when he was the speaker," NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer, who saw Rubio do little to help pass a bill allowing employees to bring guns to work, told the Tampa Bay Times in 2009. "He talked the talk, but he didn't walk the walk."

Rubio did vote for the legislation that passed.

Hammer, it should be noted, was a backer of Charlie Crist in the early stages of the Senate run. Crist had a solid pro-NRA record as well. But in 2012, as he morphed into a Democrat, Crist came out in favor of gun control after the Newtown school shooting.

Polls don't agree

Two polls, two different pictures.

A poll released last week by the Republican-leaning Rasmussen Reports showed Crist leading Rick Scott for governor 45 percent to 39 percent. But a Mason-Dixon poll found a dead heat, with Crist and Scott each winning 42 percent support.

Alex Leary contributed to this week's Buzz.

Winner of the week

Self-funding candidates. Despite loads of controversy in his background, Curt Clawson spent millions of his own money to win a hard-fought primary to succeed Republican Trey Radel, known as Florida's cocaine congressman. Who would have predicted that a little-known, super-wealthy businessman/outsider from southwest Florida could win a big election, even though the GOP establishment opposed him? Well, Rick Scott might have predicted it.

Loser of the week

Kelli Stargel. The Republican state senator from Lakeland's bill to restrict small craft beer brewers from selling directly to the public has made her a poster child for legislators appearing much more concerned with protecting powerful special interests than the free market and small businesses. She says she received threats over it, along with plenty of nasty messages from the public.

Palm Harbor House Democrat has target on his back

Palm Harbor House Democrat has target on his back 04/26/14 [Last modified: Thursday, May 1, 2014 8:43am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Dodgers close in on World Series with 6-1 win over Cubs

    Ml

    CHICAGO — Yu Darvish pitched into the seventh inning, Chris Taylor homered again and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 6-1 on Tuesday night to open a commanding 3-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.

    Los Angeles Dodgers' Chris Taylor hits a home run Tuesday during the third inning of Game 3 of baseball's National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs. [Associated Press]
  2. Peter Budaj, Lightning lose to Devils in shootout; Nikita Kucherov scores

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — For Peter Budaj, Tuesday's season debut had a shaky start.

    The Lightning’s Vladislav Namestnikov, right, battles Damon Severson for the puck.
  3. Mother's testimony about toddler's death brings judge to tears

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Nayashia Williams woke up early on May 7, 2014, to the sound of her daughter calling for her. It was the last time the young mother's mornings would begin with a summons from Myla Presley, who couldn't yet climb over the mesh fencing around the playpen she used as a bed.

    Deandre Gilmore looks towards the gallery Tuesday in a Tampa courtroom. Gilmore is accused of killing the 19 month-old daughter of his girlfriend in 2014. He said the child fell while he was giving her a bath. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  4. Speakers: Getting tough can't be only response to teen car thefts

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — Bob Dillinger remembers coming to Pinellas County as a legal intern in 1975. There were five major poverty zones in St. Petersburg.

    Wengay Newton, Florida House of Representatives (in front, in center), talks as a panelist to a packed room during a community forum on "Reclaiming our Youth: Is Juvenile Justice a Reality?" at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum in St. Petersburg Wednesday evening (10/17/17). The event was presented by the Fred G. Minnis, Sr. Bar Association. Community leaders discussed the ongoing auto theft epidemic among Pinellas youth.
  5. Internal White House documents allege manufacturing decline increases abortions, infertility and spousal abuse

    Politics

    White House officials working on trade policy were alarmed last month when a top adviser to President Donald Trump circulated a two-page document that alleged a weakened manufacturing sector leads to an increase in abortion, spousal abuse, divorce and infertility, two people familiar with the matter told the …