State Rep. Peter Nehr says topless photos were taken out of context but his challenger disagrees

DUNEDIN, Fla - More than 35,000 voters in Dunedin, Palm Harbor and Tarpon Springs received a flier in the mail featuring two topless photos of State Representative Peter Nehr.

The fliers were put out by Democratic challenger Carl Z. Zimmermann.  Both men are trying to win the District 65 seat.

"I think it is a disgusting display of what negative campaigning should not be," said Nehr.

Zimmermann feels publishing the photos is not crossing the line and stands by his decision to put them on his campaign flier.

"Just total embarrassment," replied Zimmermann when asked how he wants voters to respond to the photos.  "It is an embarrassing thing and if it was the only time... but he keeps on doing it."

Nehr told ABC Action News he has no reason to feel embarrassed by what he sees an accomplishment of a 50 lb. weight loss. 

In 2004, he even allowed other topless photos of himself to be taken and published in a newspaper article focusing on weight loss.

"He is turning something that I did as a health story, as an inspiration to people, and is trying to turn it into something sleazy, which it is not," Nehr said.

Nehr says his pictures are not inappropriate and there is nothing shown that you would not see on television or at the beach.

Zimmermann disagrees.

"These pictures are of him in his underpants in his bathroom and he admitted he took them," Zimmermann said.

The topless photos on the flier, according to Nehr, were leaked to a political blog.   He claims he was not in his underpants but in a swimsuit.  The photos were sent to close family and friends who are tracking his weight loss, Nehr added.

Zimmermann wants voters to see the topless photos as a symbol that 'Nehr repeatedly makes bad choices.'

Once your eyes move away from the topless photos, a laundry list of what Zimmermann feels are bad choices are listed including Nehr being sued by three banks and Nehr filing for bankruptcy in 1991.

Nehr contends Zimmermann is trying to get cheap votes and is distracting voters from real issues.

Nehr's biggest complaint is about how the flier is put together.

"Really? A masters in English and all of the misspellings and all of these grammar errors.  You'd think at least if he is going to attack me he could do it properly," Nehr said.

Zimmermann said he is eager to send out the next batch of fliers.

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