Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 2010, 2nd term.

Born: May 26, 1951, Evergreen Park, IL

Home: Spring Hill, FL

Education: Saint Leo Col., B.A. 1990; Troy St. U., M.P.A. 1995.

Professional Career: Police officer, Romeoville, IL, 1972-84; operations bureau commander, Hernando Cnty. Sheriff's Office, 1984-2000.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Methodist

Family: Married (Wendy) , 3 children

Republican Richard Nugent is a rock-solid fiscal conservative who is known for his bill to allow members of Congress to opt out of the federal pension system. He had an easy path to the House – he was part of a succession deal with retiring GOP Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite in 2010 – and an even easier path to reelection. His Democratic opponent was a perennial candidate who once sat atop a flagpole for 439 days.

Nugent was born in Evergreen Park, Ill., a Chicago suburb, the youngest of three children. His father worked in a steel mill and his mother was a homemaker. After high school, Nugent served in the Illinois Air National Guard for six years and became a police officer, working his way up to sergeant in the Romeoville, Ill., police department. He adopted Florida as his home after attending Saint Leo University, a Catholic liberal arts college in St. Leo, Fla. He went on to earn a master’s degree in public administration from Troy State University. Nugent joined the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office in 1984; he was elected to his first term as sheriff in 2000, and was reelected in 2004 and 2008. He and his wife, Wendy Nugent, have two sons in the Army and a third in the Army Reserve.

Over the years, Nugent presided over a drop in violent crime and imposed new fiscal constraints. His office took control of operations of the Hernando County Jail, which had been run by the private Corrections Corporation of America and had been criticized for being soft on prisoners. Nugent told the St. Petersburg Times, “There’s a new sheriff in town. It’s not going to be a relaxed, Club Med atmosphere.” He canceled weekly “pizza nights” and other advantages enjoyed by prisoners and returned $2 million in unspent funds to the county in 2009.

In April 2010, Brown-Waite announced she would not seek reelection to a fifth term because of health problems. She made the announcement on candidate filing day in Florida, which allowed Nugent to file the necessary legal papers by the deadline. Brown-Waite also issued a statement strongly endorsing Nugent. The arrangement sparked bitter complaints from other Republicans who had been waiting for the opportunity to run for a House seat. Public Service Commission Chair Nancy Argenziano and state Sen. Mike Fasano both said they might have run. Nugent did draw a primary challenge from Jason Sager, a former audiovisual technician who was backed by tea party activists. But the upstart campaign never gained traction, and Nugent won the August 24 primary, 62% to 38%.

In the general election, he faced Democrat Jim Piccillo, a 36-year-old business consultant and a former Republican, who had an uphill battle in the GOP-tilting district. Piccillo cast himself as a moderate and a pragmatist who would work to reduce federal spending and regulation on businesses. Piccillo also reprised the issue of Nugent’s anointment by Brown-Waite and criticized him for using a picture of his sheriff’s badge on his campaign website. For his part, Nugent proposed a freeze in government spending and campaigned against the Democrats’ $787 billion economic stimulus bill. He portrayed Piccillo in a mailing as the “hand-picked candidate” of liberal House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, prompting Piccillo to call him a “flat out liar.” Nugent outraised his opponent in this relatively low-budget affair, $518,000 to $147,000, and won easily, 67% to 33%.

In the House, Nugent took seats on the House Administration and Rules committees, positions given to leadership loyalists. He wasn’t as loudly confrontational as many of his fellow GOP freshmen, but just as conservative. His first bill in March 2011 allowed members to opt out of their congressional pensions, as well as the federal match to their deferred compensation plan. Though the measure drew considerable publicity, it attracted just three cosponsors and did not move. Nugent promised to continue to pursue it, calling it “the right thing to do.” He introduced a subsequent bill requiring federally elected officials to place their stocks, bonds, and other forms of assets in a blind trust. Nugent had slightly better luck with adding a provision to the fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill permitting soldiers who served before Sept. 11, 2001 to qualify for the Army’s Combat Action Badge, which was established in 2005 to honor members of units who would not normally qualify for other decorations. It made it into the House version, but the Senate dropped it. Nugent reintroduced the bill in January 2013.

In post-2010-census redistricting, Nugent’s fast-growing district lost much of Pasco County, but remained strongly GOP territory. His Democratic opponent was David Werder, who had run multiple times for office, usually as a write-in candidate. He called himself “the flagpole sitter” in recognition of his record-setting feat in Clearwater in the 1980s to protest high gasoline prices. He raised no money, and Nugent won with 65% of the vote.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-1002

(202) 226-6559

LHOB- Longworth House Office Building Room 1727
Washington, DC 20515-0911

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-1002

(202) 226-6559

LHOB- Longworth House Office Building Room 1727
Washington, DC 20515-0911

DISTRICT OFFICE

(352) 341-2354

(352) 341-2316

212 West Main Street
Inverness, FL 34450

DISTRICT OFFICE

(202) 225-1002

(202) 226-6559

212 West Main Street Suite 204
Inverness, FL 34450

DISTRICT OFFICE

(202) 225-1002

(202) 226-6559

115 SE 25th Avenue
Ocala, FL 34471-9179

DISTRICT OFFICE

(352) 351-1670

(352) 351-1674

115 SE 25th Avenue
Ocala, FL 34471-9179

DISTRICT OFFICE

(352) 684-4446

(352) 684-4484

11035 Spring Hill Drive
Spring Hill, FL 34608-5049

DISTRICT OFFICE

(202) 225-1002

(202) 226-6559

11035 Spring Hill Drive
Spring Hill, FL 34608-5049

DISTRICT OFFICE

(352) 689-4684

(352) 689-4621

8015 East CR-466
The Villages, FL 32162-3687

DISTRICT OFFICE

(202) 225-1002

(202) 226-6559

8015 East County Road 466
The Villages, FL 32162-3687

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(202) 225-1002

(202) 226-6559

PO Box 15668
Brooksville, FL 34604-0122

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

PO Box 15668
Brooksville, FL 34604-0122

EXPORT CONTACTS » *

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Jason Kroitor
Legislative Correspondent

Aerospace

Danielle Doheny
Legislative Assistant

Agriculture

Vanessa Duguay
Legislative Assistant

Appropriations

Vanessa Duguay
Legislative Assistant

Budget

Vanessa Duguay
Legislative Assistant

Education

Spencer Taube
Military Legislative Assistant

Energy

Danielle Doheny
Legislative Assistant

Vanessa Duguay
Legislative Assistant

Environment

Danielle Doheny
Legislative Assistant

Finance

Spencer Taube
Military Legislative Assistant

Foreign

Vanessa Duguay
Legislative Assistant

Govt Ops

Danielle Doheny
Legislative Assistant

Vanessa Duguay
Legislative Assistant

Gun Issues

Spencer Taube
Military Legislative Assistant

Health

Danielle Doheny
Legislative Assistant

Homeland Security

Spencer Taube
Military Legislative Assistant

Immigration

Spencer Taube
Military Legislative Assistant

Intelligence

Spencer Taube
Military Legislative Assistant

Judiciary

Vanessa Duguay
Legislative Assistant

Labor

Vanessa Duguay
Legislative Assistant

Spencer Taube
Military Legislative Assistant

Medicare

Danielle Doheny
Legislative Assistant

Military

Spencer Taube
Military Legislative Assistant

Rules

Vanessa Duguay
Legislative Assistant

Social Security

Vanessa Duguay
Legislative Assistant

Tax

Vanessa Duguay
Legislative Assistant

Technology

Danielle Doheny
Legislative Assistant

Vanessa Duguay
Legislative Assistant

Telecommunications

Vanessa Duguay
Legislative Assistant

Spencer Taube
Military Legislative Assistant

Transportation

Danielle Doheny
Legislative Assistant

Veterans

Barry Smith
Legislative Director

Election Results

2014 GENERAL
Rich Nugent
Votes: 181,398
Percent: 66.66%
Dave Koller
Votes: 90,706
Percent: 33.34%
2012 GENERAL
Rich Nugent
Votes: 218,360
Percent: 64.48%
H. David Werder
Votes: 120,303
Percent: 35.52%
2012 PRIMARY
Rich Nugent
Unopposed
2010 GENERAL
Rich Nugent
Votes: 208,815
Percent: 67.49%
James Piccillo
Votes: 100,585
Percent: 32.51%
2010 PRIMARY
Rich Nugent
Votes: 52,586
Percent: 62.19%
Jason Sager
Votes: 31,969
Percent: 37.81%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (67%)

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