Although Kevin Ambler has certainly appeared to be a Republican in good standing representing House District 47, for the longest time it appeared that the GOP establishment - not just in Hillsborough, but in Tallahassee- were firmly putting all of their chips on 18-year veteran Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman, making his first run for state office this year.
But with various media reports over the past two weeks casting suspicion about a $435,00 house his wife purchased in Arkansas, we've sensed lost momentum for Norman in the race against Ambler.
The odds are still strong that Norman comes out on top - that is unless we learn something else that could be construed as negative about the Commissioner. But it's certainly a feather in the cap of Ambler today to receive the full support of the Tampa Tribune editorial board.
Regarding the issue with the house, the Trib writes:
The race has been hard-hitting, and Norman has been on the defensive since the media reported his wife purchased, for cash, a $435,000 home in Arkansas. Norman says there are other investors, but they are not listed on the deed, which is unusual.
He says there is a binding agreement with these investors, who want to stay out of the limelight.
This may be much about nothing. Norman's wife is from Arkansas, and she is entitled to her private business pursuits.
But the secrecy only fuels speculation. If there is no conflict, releasing the names of the investors would quickly resolve the matter.
Look, Ambler's got Mother Tribune, and Norman's got ads with Jeb Bush's endorsement.
We'll be watching these events closely. We do have to admit we sided with Norman a few weeks ago when he lashed out at Ambler for his pushing for legislation on an Arizona type of illegal immigration law to be voted on during last week's ultimately aborted special session. The County Commissioner called that