Sure, Carl Zimmermann lost his race to neo-populist Peter Nehr by less than 1,500 votes, but Carl did so with determination and style — and in a district as egregiously gerrymandered as any in Florida.
I served as a consultant to Carl’s campaign at the very beginning of his effort. Even then I could tell that Carl was a serious candidate who could have won had he ran in a more competitive district.
Unfortunately, the state and local Democratic party looked at the registration numbers for House 48 and decided the GOP could not be beat. As it turns out, if Zimmermann had had any money to spend on his campaign, he may have won. Two or three mailpieces alone could have turned the tide.
I suspect Peter Nehr will do a very good job in the Florida Legislature — he’s just independent enough to make a difference in Tallahassee. Unfortunately for him, the closeness of his race likely precludes Nehr from defeating Will Weatherford, Allen Bense’s son-in-law, for the Speaker’s race.
As for Carl Zimmermann, he can take solace in knowing he ran a very good race. I don’t think we’ve heard the last of him.