Wife of Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman leads primary

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Mayor Oscar Goodman calls himself the happiest mayor in the world, and he had another reason to celebrate Tuesday after his first lady easily topped 17 other candidates in a primary election to replace him as Sin City's leader.

Carolyn Goodman captured 37 percent of the vote in the crowded field, more than double the ballots of her nearest competitors in the race.

"She is going to be able to acquire institutional knowledge overnight," Oscar Goodman told The Associated Press last week.

The first lady needed more than 50 percent of the vote to become mayor. It was an outcome she had hoped for and seemed headed toward in the early days of the election. Instead, she will face off against Larry Brown or Chris Giunchigliani, two Clark County commissioners, in the June 7 general election.

After her lead became clear, Carolyn Goodman sent a photo to supporters on Twitter that showed her celebrating with her husband, their four children and their grandchildren. The message read, "The heart and soul of my life...my family."

The Goodmans could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

Brown and Giunchigliani, meanwhile, were battling for second place in a race divided by just 15 votes. With nearly all of the ballots counted, each had 17 percent.

Guinchigliani was edging forward with 8,395 votes to Brown's 8,380 votes. Neither could immediately be reached for comment and it was unclear whether Brown would concede or demand a recount.

Larry Lomax, Clark County registrar of voters, said his staff would audit the election results to check for mistakes. Brown could then request a recount but would have to pay the cost.

Lomax said no one reported any problems with voting machines Tuesday.

"Everything went really well," he said.

Term limits kept Oscar Goodman from running for a fourth term, much to his disappointment. To protect his legacy, he campaigned hard for his wife, who promised to carry out his vision of a transformed downtown Las Vegas.

Carolyn Goodman was an early favorite and outraised her rivals with the backing of her husband's affluent friends, a group that includes casino bigwigs, Nevada politicians and celebrity lawyers.

The other candidates included wealthy French businessman Victor Chaltiel, tequila maker George Harris and City Councilman Steve Ross.

Oscar Goodman was a mob lawyer before he became mayor of Las Vegas in 1999, and he was easily re-elected twice. He is an unapologetic connoisseur of gin martinis and outlandish policies. During his 12 years in office, he advocated for cutting off the thumbs of graffiti vandals, told schoolchildren he would bring a bottle of gin to a deserted island, and defended legalized prostitution.

The revitalization of downtown Las Vegas has been a pet project for the mayor, and his would-be successors had all promised to carry out that charge.

Carolyn Goodman stood out on the ballot because of her last name. But she is a Las Vegas player in her own right. She is the founder of a private school attended by the children of casino owners and has rubbed elbows with Sin City's elite alongside her husband for years.

"I have lived, ate and breathed this for 12 years side by side with him," she has said. "If the voters don't want me or they don't want what he has done, that's their choice."


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment