Gubernatorial race loses zing, possibly a worthy candidate

The circus wagon of Nevada politics lost a wheel Monday. The state sorely in need of a ringmaster learned it would have to make do without the gubernatorial candidacy of Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman.

It’s enough to make me want to dump out my Crackerjack box and go home.

Had the group of reporters who gathered in Goodman’s City Hall office displayed the appropriate journalistic emotion, they would have let out a collective sigh. Not of relief, but of resignation.

Without Goodman to liven things up, no amount of espresso and power drinks will keep the press awake during the 2010 governor’s race. Not with embattled Gov. Jim Gibbons fighting for survival in the primary against perfectly ordinary Republican rivals Brian Sandoval and Michael Montandon, with the winner taking on Rory Reid.

Talk about a ride on the Sominex Express.

I’ve used Gibbons’ every quirk and peccadillo for lounge comedy material since before his swearing in. Any fellow who starts his tenure with Metro and FBI investigations, followed by a divorce, can’t have much left to conceal. Even I get tired of punching the same old clown.

As for Reid, Sandoval and Montandon, these guys appear to be so square they squeak. That might be good for Nevada voters, but it does me no good whatsoever.

Without Goodman, we are left to ponder the motivations of candidates vying for a job only a kamikaze pilot could love. All three appear serious, sober and trustworthy, proving they’re better actors than they appear.

Frankly, I’m not sure a state reeling from a horrible recession hangover needs a milk drinker in the governor’s office. Not with a half-billion-dollar budget shortfall, 13 percent unemployment and no near-term prospect for improvement. This is a job for someone capable of channeling Winston Churchill. It’s dangerous duty best performed by a character of larger-than-life proportions, preferably one with no next of kin.

Goodman appeared to possess some of the qualities it would take to capture the jaded public’s attention and confidence and lead Nevada through its darkest hour.

Instead, the term-limited mayor politely folded his hand. Seated at a throne in an office that is a testament to the immense popularity of his "Happiest Mayor in the Universe" persona, he said he wouldn’t run. His wife, Carolyn, wasn’t keen on living in Carson City when her children and grandchildren are in Southern Nevada. His wife and family came first, he said.

Goodman would have faced a difficult statewide race at a time Nevada’s economic condition is no laughing matter. For the relentless showman, running for office would have been a kick in the pants. Getting elected would have been a kick in the teeth.

"I would love the race," he said. "I’d relish the race, every second of it. But if elected, I will not serve."

Goodman is a natural for lieutenant governor, where a large part of the duty includes promoting Nevada, but he admitted his ego prevented him from riding in that political clown car. (Perhaps he’s forgotten he reinvented the Las Vegas mayor’s job from ribbon-cutter to redevelopment agent.)

Although some will claim he has planned to drop out for weeks, the fact is he was still trying this past weekend to justify running. He recently changed his voter registration from Democrat to nonpartisan, and I think he would have drawn from both parties and won a high percentage of independent voters.

More than anything else, Goodman would have made things interesting. Only humorless boobs take politics very seriously. It’s a human circus, not a graduate seminar.

And if ever a state needed an independent governor with a sense of humor and a key to the liquor cabinet, Nevada is the place.

John L. Smith’s column appears Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. E-mail him at or call (702) 383-0295. He also blogs at

Vegas Homeless Remembered
Las Vegas vigil remembers 179 homeless people who died over the past year in Clark County. (David Guzman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A look inside Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory
Tesla's Gigafactory east of Reno produces the batteries that fuel the company's electric cars. Production has created more than 7,000 jobs, and the campus that includes one of the largest buildings in the world is expected to triple in size by the time it is completed. Tesla Vice President Chris Lister leads a tour of the facility. (Bill Dentzer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Garnet Interchange Ribbon Cutting
The Nevada Department of Transportation celebrated the completion of the $63 million I-15-US 93 Garnet Interchange project. The project includes a modified diverging diamond interchange and a 5-mile widening of US 93.
State Foresters Hunt for Record Trees
Urban foresters from the Nevada Division of Forestry hunt for record setting trees.
Rick Davidson directs NFR satellite feed
Rick Davidson directs the Wrangler NFR's live satellite feed from a production trailer outside the Thomas & Mack Center. (Patrick Everson)
Scott Boras, Bryce Harper's agent, speaks to media at baseball's winter meetings
Baseball agent Scott Boras updates media on the contract negotiations of his client Bryce Harper during baseball's winter meetings at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 12, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Achievement School District
The achievement district faced strong opposition from traditional schools back in its beginnings in 2016. But with schools like Nevada Rise and Nevada Prep, it's slowly and steadily growing. Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fresno State QB on record-breaking receiver
Fresno State quarterback Marcus McMaryion talks record-setting receiver KeeSean Johnson. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The annual 'Shop with a Cop' event at Target
This year’s "Shop with a Cop" event gave about 40 children the chance to shop at Target alongside a North Las Vegas Police officers. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Bizutesfaye
Melvin Dummar dead at 74
Melvin Dummar has died at 74. Dummar was famous for claiming to have saved Howard Hughes in a Nevada desert in 1967. Dummar claimed to have been left $156 million in Hughes’ will. The will mysteriously appeared after Hughes’ death in 1976. It was dismissed as a fake two years later. Dummar never saw a dime of the billionaire's fortune. Dummar died Saturday in Nye County.
Officer-involved shooting in Nye County
The Nye County Sheriff's Office gives information about a shooting in Pahrump on Thursday night after a man began firing shots outside of his home. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Law Enforcement Active Shooter Training Exercise
Multiple Las Vegas Valley law enforcement agencies held an active shooter drill at the Department of Public Safety’s Parole and Probation office on December 6, 2018. Officials set up the training exercise to include multiple active shooters, a barricaded suspect and multiple casualties. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Public memorial service for Jerry Herbst
Archiving effort hits milestone at Clark County Museum
The Clark County Museum catalogs the final item from the bulk of Route 91 Harvest festival artifacts. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Final Route 91 Harvest festival remembrance objects catalogued at Clark County Museum
The last of the more than 17,000 items left at the makeshift memorial near the Las Vegas sign after the Oct. 1 shootings have been catalogued at the Clark County Museum in Las Vegas. The final item was a black-and-white bumper sticker bearing "#VEGASSTRONG. An additional 200 items currently on display at the museum will be catalogued when the exhibit comes down. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dozier execution timeline
Scott Dozier was set to be executed July 11, 2018, at the Ely State Prison. Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez delayed the execution.
Grand Jury Indicts Constable for theft
A Clark County grand jury indicted Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell. A Las Vegas Review-Journal investigation prompted the criminal probe. The newspaper found Mitchell wrote himself thousands in checks, took out cash at ATMs and traveled on county funds. He faces four felony counts of theft and a county of public misconduct. Mitchell and his attorney could not be reached for comment.
93-year-old WWII veteran arrested during visit to VA hospital
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, 93, a World War II veteran, talks about his arrest during his visit to VA hospital on Friday, Nov. 30. (Erik Verduzco Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_Verduzco_
Pearl Harbor survivor struggles in her senior years
Winifred Kamen, 77, survived the attack on Pearl Harbor as an infant, works a 100 percent commission telemarketing job to make ends meet. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
Man shot in Las Vegas traffic stop had knife, police say
Police said the man fatally shot by an officer during a traffic stop in downtown Las Vegas had a “homemade knife.” Demontry Floytra Boyd, 43, died Saturday at University Medical Center from multiple gunshot wounds after officer Paul Bruning, 48, shot him during a traffic stop. Bruning pulled Boyd over on suspicion of driving recklessly at 7:41 a.m. near Sunrise Avenue and 18th Street.
Catahoula dogs rescued from home in Moapa Valley
Catahoula dogs were brought to The Animal Foundation after being rescued from home in Moapa Valley.
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses in California wildfire
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses she suffered in California's Woolsey Fire in Malibu in November. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benefit dinner for Kerry Clasby, the Intuitive Forager
Sonia El-Nawal of Rooster Boy Cafe in Las Vegas talks about having a benefit for Kerry Clasby, known as the Intuitive Forager, who suffered losses on her farm in California’s Woolsey Fire in Malibu. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former President George H.W. Bush dies at 94
Former President George H.W. Bush has died at the age of 94. He died Friday night in Houston, about eight months after the death of his wife, Barbara.
Las Vegans Celebrate Big Snowfall
Las Vegans celebrate big snowfall at Lee Canyon.
Exploring old mines for denim jeans and other vintage items
Caden Gould of Genoa, Nev. talks about his experiences looking for vintage denim jeans and other items in old mines and other places areas across Nevada and the west.
Officers share photo of dead gunman after Las Vegas shooting
A little over an hour after SWAT officers entered Stephen Paddock's suite at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas police officers far from the scene were already sharing cell phone photos of the dead Oct. 1 gunman.
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like