Rep. Cyrus Habib (D-48 LD) is running for the 48th LD Senate seat as a Democrat, but will he have other opponents?
I live in the 48th, and have pondered this a bit. I haven’t heard any scuttlebutt about potential opponents. Given the importance of this seat—Dems won’t control the Senate without it, and Dems get some chance of controlling the Senate if they win it—I would be very surprised if the Republicans didn’t try recruiting some high profile candidate.
One high profile candidate would be the former state Senator Luke Esser (R-48). Esser was defeated by Tom in 2006 after Rep. Tom switched from R to D and ran for Senate. Esser went on to be state GOP chairman until being unseated by Kirby Wilbur in early 2011.
I doubt Esser will run. He likely burned his bridges with the GOP when he became a lobbyist for the SEIU.
What about Tom’s 2010 opponent Gregg Bennett? Bennett lost to Tom, 47.3% to 52.7%, a mere 1,400 votes that year. Still, Bennett has not declared and his former campaign web site is dead.
So, imagine my surprise and delight this afternoon when I received a polling robocall from Republican pollster Moore Information. The poll included a pair of head-to-head match-ups of a Republican against Democrat Cyrus Habib. The first match-up was Habib against Gregg Bennett.
The second match-up was surprising. It sure sounded like Butch Goncharoff. I could have misunderstood the last name, but that’s what I wrote down as the poll was in progress.
Who is Butch Goncharoff? He is the nationally-ranked football coach for Bellevue High School. Really? Why would a football coach run for a part-time Senate position that doesn’t align very well with the school year or the football season? Besides that, a brief web search reveals no information about Mr. Goncharoff’s political affiliation. The man is all football, all the time. The PDC has no record of donations from him. The only thing that has the slightest whiff of politics is that Rep. Dave Reichart (R-48) once gave a House floor speech to congratulate Coach Goncharoff and his team. Maybe he is a friend of Reichert? Or not.
Aside from some kind of mid-life crisis, a run by Goncharoff seems highly unlikely. Still…the domain names GoncharoffForCongress.org and GoncharoffFor48th.org are, oddly, unavailable. That’s interesting, but hardly conclusive.
I see several possibilities:
1. Neither is running and the state Republicans commissioned the poll as a way of recruiting either Bennett or Goncharoff.
2. Bennett is thinking about running and they are using some other high profile person in the 48th as a diversion—to leave some ambiguity.
3. Goncharoff is thinking about running and they are using Bennett as a diversion.
4. They have both expressed interest in running…for the good of the party, only one will.
So…it seems that someone has Bennett or Goncharoff in mind as an opponent for Habib.