He was endorsed Monday by Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco. Gunter, a presbyterian minister, happens to work at the sheriff’s office as a chaplain. Gunter’s main sponsor for office, Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Trinity, also works there. Slated to become House Speaker in 2016, Corcoran is the outside counsel for the sheriff’s office, representing the office in employment and union matters.
Also in Gunter’s corner is Jeremiah Hawkes, the son of Taj Mahal judge Paul Hawkes (and, like Jeremiah, a Corcoran confidante) who also works for Nocco as the in-house counsel for the sheriff’s office. As if to leave no doubts where the Pasco Sheriff’s office stands on the issue of Gunter’s candidacy, Hawkes retweeted Nocco’s endorsement on Monday.
But don’t start icing the champagne for Gunter just yet. The primary election isn’t until Sept. 17 and at least one other Republican, Jim Mathieu, the county GOP chairman and former New Port Richey city attorney, says he’s running. The general election is Oct. 15 if the Democrats bother to field a candidate.
Then there’s the matter of where Gunter actually lives. Florida law requires that representatives live in the district they represent, but Gunter now lives about five miles away in District 37, Corcoran’s district. Gunter, 43, says he intends to move to a rental by Election Day, but he told the Times/Herald last week that he would move back to the house he’s lived in since 2003 if he were to lose in 2014. (Unlike Gunter, Mathieu actually lives in District 36).