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By Chronicle Editorial Board
THE ISSUE: Disingenuous candidacy.
OUR OPINION: Dirty politics an insult to democracy.
There’s a ringer in the Democratic primary for the Florida House.
On their primary election ballot, Democrats will see they have a choice between Robert Raymond Goocher and Lynn Thomas Dostal in the District 34 race. The problem is, Robert Goocher is a shill; a tool of those trembling in their tasseled loafers that Independent Nancy Argenziano could whip incumbent state Rep. Jimmie T. Smith in the November general election.
With a Democrat, Republican and Independent in the general election, there’s no doubt party-line Democrats would siphon potential Argenziano votes, helping to tip the scales for Rep. Smith.
Mr. Goocher’s primary opponent, Lynn Dostal, initially indicated he’d bow out of the race to clear the way for a Smith-Argenziano faceoff in November. That was before Robert Goocher threw his hat in the ring. Mr. Dostal now asserts he’s in the race for real.
To that end, Mr. Dostal is out and about, sharing his platform at forums and has interviewed with the Chronicle editorial board. One big question on his mind — and the minds of many others: Where is Robert Goocher?
Goocher, 24, is a mystery man — a no-show at forums and candidate interviews. He doesn’t return phone calls or candidate questionnaires, and those seeking to track him down at his place of employment, Bob’s Car Care, are left disappointed that they’re unable to meet the man.
In June, he did grant the Chronicle a brief telephone interview, but said he had to run to do an oil change, offering to call back. A return call never materialized.
Voters have received high-gloss mail-outs touting Robert Goocher’s desire to stand up for the working folks. The problem is, the literature doesn’t mention if he’s running for state House, president or Mosquito Control.
Why would Robert Goocher run for office if he’s reluctant to get out to press flesh and court votes? Lynn Dostal and Nancy Argenziano are sure it’s a GOP scheme to divert votes from Ms. Argenziano in the general election.
That makes sense. Look at those who have contributed to his campaign:
* His mom, a Republican who has no interest in answering a reporter’s questions.
* A Homosassa insurance executive, who has also contributed to Rep. Smith’s campaign.
* A Republican Levy County bail bondsman. (Levy County is not in House District 34.)
* Two Winter Park political action committees.
As for Robert Goocher’s mail-out pieces, they were produced by some Tallahassee-based entity called Putting Florida First Inc., although that reveals little about the underlying motivations.
There is a Beverly Hills resident who spent some time coaching Robert Goocher in “Politics 101.” While he said he doesn’t think Mr. Goocher is a Republican plant, he did say, “He’s a little over his head.”
If there’s anything to be learned about this, it’s that conniving, underhanded politics is alive and well — and Democrats shouldn’t waste a vote on mystery man Robert Goocher.