In 1982 primary, he went from victory to defeat
hard-fought primary election victory.
The then-36-year-old had clinched the Democratic nomination for St.
Joseph County Probate Judge, beating out incumbent Frank X. Kopinski
and Peter F. Nemeth, both more than three decades his senior.
A photograph in the South Bend Tribune on May 5, 1982, showed a
smiling Ambler celebrating the win with friends and family at M.R.
"The place was packed with well-wishers," recalled St. Joseph Superior
Court Chief Judge Michael Scopelitis, who was Ambler's campaign
treasurer. "Larry spoke, and thanked everybody for helping him. The
party commenced, with food and dancing."
But if it felt too good to be true, it was.
Three days later, as the St. Joseph County Vote Canvass Board
completed the painstaking process of counting every vote for an
official total, it became clear there had been a serious mistake on
The private firm hired by local media outlets to count votes had
incorrectly programmed its computers to count Ambler's votes as