Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Former Pasco deputy to challenge Hernando sheriff next year

BROOKSVILLE — Robert "Bobby" Sullivan spent his law enforcement career at the Pasco County Sheriff's Office but dreamed of making a bid to lead the agency in his home county.

"But we had a whole string of good sheriffs, from (Tom) Mylander to Rich Nugent, and the opportunity never presented itself," said Sullivan, a 49-year-old Brooksville native.

That opportunity, Sullivan says, has arrived. He has filed to run in 2012 for the post currently held by his former Pasco supervisor, Hernando Sheriff Al Nienhuis. Both men are Republicans.

Sullivan retired from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office as a captain in 2007. He was with the agency for 26 years, serving for 10 years as commander of the narcotics, vice and criminal intelligence divisions. Nienhuis, as second-in-command to Sheriff Bob White, was Sullivan's direct supervisor for about six years.

In 2008, Sullivan ran against White, losing in the Republican primary.

Nienhuis was appointed last year by then-Gov. Charlie Crist after Nugent won the 5th District congressional seat. Nienhuis started in January, and his term ends January 7, 2013.

Sullivan, who has worked as executive director of public safety for Saint Leo University since 2009, was among the applicants for the Hernando job. He said then that if he got the job, he'd serve as a "caretaker" until the 2012 election, then step aside to let candidates fight it out for the seat.

Now he's ready to challenge his former boss, if necessary. Sullivan said he is the better candidate because of his experience as a longtime county resident.

"I think there's a need for someone who has strong roots in the county, a strong connection to the citizens," he said.

The differences go beyond Hernando ties, though, according to Sullivan.

"We have completely different law enforcement philosophies," a fact that resulted in frequent debates during their time in Pasco, he said. The relationship remained cordial, he said.

Asked to cite specific areas where he diverged with Nienhuis, Sullivan said, "I'm going to let those things air out throughout the next eight or nine months."

Nienhuis on Thursday said he wasn't ready to say for certain that he will run and declined to comment on Sullivan's filing.

"If and when I decide to announce, competition is a great thing," he said. "It's what makes this country great."

A graduate of Hernando High School, Sullivan has bachelor's and master's degrees in criminal justice from Saint Leo. He is married with two daughters, ages 17 and 8.

Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or

Former Pasco deputy to challenge Hernando sheriff next year 08/11/11 [Last modified: Thursday, August 11, 2011 8:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Two boys in critical condition after Largo crash


    LARGO — A 7-year-old boy was thrown from a car in a head-on crash on Starkey Road, and both he and a 6-year-old boy were in critical condition Sunday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  2. Trump's new order bars almost all travel from seven countries


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Sunday issued a new order banning almost all travel to the United States from seven countries, including most of the nations covered by his original travel ban, citing threats to national security posed by letting their citizens into the country.

    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters Sunday upon his return to the White House in Washington.
  3. Somehow, Rays' Chris Archer remains just shy of being an ace

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Chris Archer had another bad game Sunday.

    Chris Archer is sputtering to the finish line, his rough start on Sunday his fourth in his past five in which he hasn’t gotten past four innings.
  4. In Mexico City, hopes of finding quake survivors dwindle


    MEXICO CITY — Five days after the deadly magnitude 7.1 earthquake, the hulking wreckage of what used to be a seven-story office building is one of the last hopes: one of just two sites left where searchers believe they may still find someone trapped alive in Mexico City.

    Rescue workers search for survivors inside a felled office building in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City on Saturday.
  5. GOP health bill in major peril as resistance hardens among key senators


    WASHINGTON — The floundering Republican attempt to undo the Affordable Care Act met hardening resistance from key GOP senators Sunday that left it on the verge of collapse even as advocates vowed to keep pushing for a vote this week.

    Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate, said Sunday that it was “very difficult” to envision voting for this health-care bill.