In politics, the enemy of an enemy can indeed become a “friend.”
Last November, an interesting name appeared among the host committee at a campaign kickoff rally for Democratic State Rep. Carl “Z” Zimmerman — Dr. Gunwant Dhaliwal of Pasco County.
For many in House District 65, Dhaliwal may not be a familiar figure. However, the doctor is particularly well-known to one person: Assistant State Attorney Chris Sprowls, Zimmerman’s GOP opponent.
Sprowls prosecuted and convicted Dhaliwal in 2011 for groping numerous women in his medical office.
Accused of fondling more than a half-dozen women, a court convicted Dhaliwal in May 2011 of sexual battery on a 21-year-old schoolteacher. For the crime, he spent 10 days in jail. A civil jury then found the doctor liable for groping another woman, awarding her $800,000.
The sexual battery events occurred well before Zimmerman’s 2013 campaign kickoff in the race where the Democrat would ultimately face Sprowls, Dhaliwal’s courtroom nemesis.
On Saturday Nov 9, 2013, Zimmermann hosted a campaign kickoff event with a guest list of less than 20 names. The host committee included only a handful of non-politicos, two of which were “Drs. Garry and Teji Dhaliwal”.
Although Dhaliwal did not donate directly to Zimmermann, his clinic — Primary Care Walk-In Clinic, located at 6329 State Road 54 in New Port Richey – gave $2,000 to the local Democratic Executive Committee in November.
The DEC, chaired by Mark Hanisee, donated $1,800 to Zimmermann the same month. Hanisee was also on Zimmerman’s kickoff event host committee.
According to the Florida Division of Elections, Dhaliwal has supported mostly Republicans in the past, but it seems that Sprowls entry in the HD 65 race caused the good doctor to switch sides.
Dhaliwal donated to one other Democrat in 2002, all of his other contributions were to Republicans. His clinic has no previous record of contributing to any local political party.