U.S. Rep. David Jolly making it clear he is not endorsing Peter Nehr in county commission race

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For all intents and purposes, it is a good piece of advertising.

Nevertheless, for former state Rep. Peter Nehr, is drawing a rebuke from a prominent Pinellas politician.

A direct mailer from Nehr hit mailboxes this week in the crowded race for Pinellas County Commission District 4 seat. Susan Latvala, who chose not to run for re-election, currently holds the north county district.

The good-looking piece focuses on Nehr’s proven Republican leadership. Nehr served in the Florida House from 2006 to 2012, until he lost his bid for a fourth term to Democrat Carl “Z” Zimmerman.

As a “common sense” fiscal conservative Nehr lists all the right credentials — his opposition to Obamacare, support for immigration reform and voting to increase education funding without raising taxes.

Nehr is also staunchly against the Greenlight Pinellas transit plan, saying it “makes no sense in a small, built-out urban county like Pinellas.”

The ad lists a series of endorsements, including one from a long ago St. Petersburg Times editorial and a quote from Pinellas Republican past chair Tony DiMatteo, who says that Nehr has “done more for the RPPC than all other Republican candidates” combined.

Pictures of Nehr show him with several prominent Republicans, such as Mitt Romney, former Governor. Jeb Bush, the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, and Young’s successor in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, current U.S. Rep. David Jolly.

And that’s where an issue has arisen.

“Congressman Jolly has not endorsed Mr. Nehr,” said Jolly spokesperson Sarah Bascom.

Nowhere on the flyer does it specifically say Jolly is endorsing the District 4 hopeful, but placement of the photo could give voters the impression of an “official” endorsement.

Nehr disagrees.

“I looked at the brochure again and do not see any hint that I implied Congressman Jollly endorsed me,” Nehr said in a message to SPB editor Peter Schorsch. “Each of the photos is captioned and says nothing about endorsing, etc.”

Continued Nehr, “I also have a picture with Congressman Young who has passed away. Obviously I was not indicating endorsement from him either. All the pictures do is show that unlike my opponents I was and still am actively a part of the Republican Party.”

With weeks before the Aug. 26 GOP primary, Jolly is (wisely) staying above the fray in a county race for the district in which he is also running for re-election. Unfortunately for Nehr, he did not get prior clearance to use the photo for the campaign, resulting in the statement of clarification from Jolly’s office.

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.