Democrats finding challengers to Reps. Larry Ahern and Peter Nehr

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Speaking last week with a high-ranking member of the Florida House, they fretted about some of their incumbent-brethren in Pinellas County.

“Ahern’s in a new district. Brandes is in a seat that’s always tough. Grant’s now got a piece of Pinellas. Nehr’s always had an opponent. And Hooper’s got a seat which should be tougher than it is.”

“Pinellas always worries us,” this person said. “Especially with Obama at the top of the ticket.”

Well, Pinellas just got a little tougher for the GOP as incumbents Larry Ahern and Peter Nehr have drawn or are about to draw Democratic challengers.

Ahern is “moving” into the open District 66 seat and has drawn Mary Louise Ambrose of Belleair Bluffs into the race.  Ambrose is an attorney, married to Joe Barkley, a Belleair Bluffs city councilman, and was reportedly recruited into the race by Janet Long, who held the seat before being defeated by Ahern.

Meanwhile, Rep. Peter Nehr, already facing a slew of primary challengers, may be facing off against Democrat Carl Zimmermann.  Again.  This would be the third time Nehr and Zimmermann have run against each other with Nehr, obviously, having won both previous contests. Zimmermann is a well-meaning guy, but he may be better off waiting two years when Nehr is term-limited.

By the way, with Ambrose and Zimmermann running, the Democrats could boast that they have Pinellas covered from A to Z.

I know, that was terrible.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.