Negative campaigning may have limited effect in Las Vegas races

If you get your information about the Las Vegas city elections from television commercials and mailers, here’s what you’ve learned:

■ Chris Giunchigliani is mean and nasty and wants to suck every dollar in the world into government coffers to further feather the nests of do-nothing government employees.

■ Carolyn Goodman loooooves foreclosures and thinks they’re the best thing that’s happened to Las Vegas except for her husband, Mayor Oscar Goodman, whose coattails she’s riding even though she doesn’t know what he’s done.

■ Adriana Martinez is a lying liar who lies about things like where she lives, and as a city employee she’s personally responsible for not shutting down more shady massage parlors.

■ Bob Coffin’s best friends are probably pedophiles. He also supports prostitution so much that his name should be Pimp Mac Daddy McSuperfly.

Ah, civic discourse. Doesn’t it make you proud to be an American?

Negative campaigning is as old as politics, of course. It persists because it works despite the complaints that people lodge election after election about sleazy accusations and inflated, out-of-context, misleading messages.

But such tactics probably will have a diminished effect in the Las Vegas mayoral and Ward 3 City Council races, experts say, because of the size and makeup of the electorate, which in a city election is smaller, older and often more engaged than voters in state and national elections. Plus, voters are more likely to be acquainted with the candidates, all longtime area residents who were in the public eye before running.

"The last-minute hit pieces like this have very little substantive value," said Mark Peplowski, a political science teacher at the College of Southern Nevada. "In a race like this where there’s hardly any reason to go to the polls, people are either planning on voting or they’re not.

"If they’re not planning on voting, you’re not going to get them to the polls with this stuff. If they’re planning on voting, they’ve probably already made a decision."

Still, it’s a well-developed tactic, said Kenneth Fernandez, a political scientist at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Campaigns use everything possible to win.

"Candidates don’t want to lose an election and say, ‘Boy, I wish I would have used that one piece of information,’ " he said.

"You’re trying to convince the people who have the least amount of information, who are on the fence."

QUOTES AND VOTES

In the mayoral race between Goodman and Giunchigliani, the turn toward the negative began in earnest in mid-May with a Giunchigliani ad that portrayed Goodman as having no skills except being married to the current mayor, Oscar Goodman. Carolyn Goodman founded the Meadows School and ran it until last year and had previous jobs in marketing and counseling.

A subsequent ad picked out quotes from Goodman’s television appearances to make it appear Goodman was calling home foreclosures "wonderful." She was pointing out, as many have, that low real estate prices make Las Vegas an attractive place to invest.

Goodman responded with ads criticizing Giunchigliani’s legislative and commission records, accusing her of raising taxes, wanting to raise them further and voting in pay increases for herself.

County commissioners, including Giunchigliani, approved salary increases in 2007 but have unanimously canceled cost-of-living raises for the last two years as a symbolic budget-cutting effort, and Giunchigliani voted yes on a pay cut this year.

The next mayor will be paid about twice as much as the current mayor, with a salary of around $130,000. The job also becomes full time, meaning the mayor no longer can accept other employment while in office.

As a legislator, Giunchigliani voted for the $836 million tax package in 2003 for schools and the state’s budget — but so did many others, and a Republican governor signed it into law.

Goodman also wants to tar Giunchigliani as a potential tax raiser as mayor by noting the commissioner’s support for more local control of city revenue sources, most of which is controlled at the state level now.

That’s tricky ground for her, though, because as mayor, Oscar Goodman has called for the same power, bemoaning the fact that local governments are basically at the Legislature’s mercy when it comes to revenue.

NEGATIVE EARLY, OFTEN

The Ward 3 race, meanwhile, has been nasty from the start.

For the entire campaign, Martinez has had to face the allegation that she didn’t live in Ward 3 when she filed for office, which would make her ineligible to run. A challenge to her candidacy has been languishing in the Nevada Supreme Court since March awaiting a decision on technical issues. No one expects a ruling before Tuesday’s vote.

She has fired back at Coffin for his remarks when he was a state legislator that he would be willing to discuss legalizing prostitution in Nevada’s urban areas. Coffin said he doesn’t support doing so but that elected officials should be willing to listen to proposals.

Martinez also tried to link a $330,000 sale of historical railroad documents by Coffin to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1997 to the school’s current financial woes. No tax money was used in that transaction, and Coffin received the blessing of the Nevada Ethics Commission before completing the sale.

The pedophile charge stems from an early debate. The discussion had turned to the possibility of predators lurking at city parks, and Coffin noted that "pedophiles certainly have rights."

In an academic sense, that’s not controversial, said Fernandez, who moderated that debate. Everybody has those rights — to face their accuser, to due process, to a fair trial, and so on.

But the idea of child molestation provokes the kind of knee-jerk emotional response that’s the reason for negative ads, even if the actual accusation is absurd.

Examples abound, but one of the most well-known comes from the 2000 presidential campaign. John McCain was surging in the GOP presidential primary when he was hit by a smear campaign in South Carolina that he had fathered an illegitimate black child. The falsehood is credited with derailing him in the state and handing victory to the originators of the smear — the George W. Bush campaign.

"Negative campaigning rarely backfires," Fernandez said. "It may not help you. But it’s very, very rare to find a case where going negative, even really, really negative, is going to hurt you.

"Until people get punished (at the ballot box), that’s how it is."

Contact reporter Alan Choate at achoate@reviewjournal.com or 702-229-6435.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County School Board president Deanna Wright on travel expenses
Clark County School Board President Deanna Wright says she followed proper expense protocol in trip to Florida last year.
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Shooting leaves 1 dead in southeast valley
A man was found fatally shot in the doorway of a squatter apartment after an argument ended in gunfire on Sunday night. Officers responded about 10:30 p.m. to the Silver Pines apartments and discovered the man in a breezeway in one of the buildings. The wounded man died at the scene, despite the efforts of another person, who tried to administer medical aid. Witnesses saw a man and a woman flee the scene, but were unable to give police a clear description.
North Las Vegas unveils new school crosswalk
North Las Vegas councilman Isaac Barron talks about the new school crosswalk in front of CP Squires Elementary School Monday, August 6, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
LVMPD Briefing on OIS #13
Assistant Sheriff Tim Kelly held a press conference to discuss details of the 13th officer-involved-shoot for the department in 2018. Video shows the moments before the suspect was shot. The shooting, which has been edited out, occurred as the suspect lunged at an officer outside the apartment. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sedan and semitrailer collide in south Las Vegas
An early Wednesday morning crash has left one person in critical condition. A sedan and semitrailer collided around 4 a.m. at the corner of Spencer Street and Serene Avenue. Police do not believe impairment is a factor in the crash. Spencer has been blocked off north of Serene while police continue their investigation.
Cybersecurity Professionals Flock to Las Vegas for Black Hat
Black Hat USA, the largest annual cybersecurity conference, is expecting a record 17,000 attendees during its six-day run at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center this week. One thing attendees have in mind is making sure they don't get hacked while they're there. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police chase ends with suspects captured in east Las Vegas
An early Tuesday morning chase ended with a car crash in an east Las Vegas neighborhood. Police were pursuing the vehicle, which they say was involved in robberies in Las Vegas and North Las Vegas, when the driver crashed at Owens and Statz Street. A man was taken into custody. A woman was ejected from a vehicle and taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The intersection at Mojave Road and Owens Avenue was shut down while police officers searched for the suspect and investigated. The intersection will remain closed for most of the morning.
Record number participate in Touro University Nevada White Coat Ceremony
Three hundred sixty-five medical students received their white coats during the Touro University Nevada White Coat Ceremony at the M Resort in Henderson Monday. The ceremony was developed to honor students in osteopathic medicine, physician assistant studies, nursing, occupational therapy and physical therapy as they accept the professional responsibilities inherent in their relationship with patients. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Stop for school buses, urges CCSD
Clark County School District Police Department hold a mock traffic stop at Centennial High School in Las Vegas, Monday, Aug. 6, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Work Begins at Las Vegas Community Healing Garden
Crews moved the wooden Remembrance Wall at the Las Vegas Community Healing Garden on South Casino Center Boulevard Monday. Construction on a permanent wall is set to begin within the week. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Man wounded outside Cottages apartment
Las Vegas police don't have a motive after a man was shot early Monday morning outside a northwest valley apartment. The man's mother called police to say her son had been shot. She called police around 1:15 a.m. Other people were inside the apartment but no one else was injured. Police are still looking for the shooter.
Ride new Interstate 11 segment in one minute
Interstate 11 opens to the public Thursday, providing sweeping views of Lake Mead, art deco-style bridges and a mural illustrating the construction of Hoover Dam. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Miss El Tiempo 2019
Miss Teen El Tiempo and Miss El Tiempo 2019 were crowned at Sam's Town Saturday, August 4, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Las Vegas Woman Raises Awareness for Anxiety and Depression
Cassi Davis was diagnosed with anxiety and depression after the birth of her second child. After seeking help and support, she felt that there wasn't enough for support for those living day in and day out for those with mood disorders. She created the Crush Run, set for Sept. 22, to raise money for the Anxiety and Depression Association of America and bring together a community of people who live with the same conditions she does. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
North Las Vegas marks the opening of Tropical Parkway connector
The City of North Las Vegas, Nevada Department of Transportation and other partners celebrated the opening of the Tropical Parkway connector to Interstate 15 and the Las Vegas Beltway. The stretch of road will make access easier for distribution centers for Amazon, Sephora and other companies moving into an 1,100-acre industrial area rising near the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bighorn sheep with West Temple in background at Zion National Park
A bighorn sheep walks through Zion National Park (National Park Service)
Adult Superstore location closes after 45 years
The Adult Superstore on Main Street has closed its doors for good after 45 years. The shop, which offered a multitude of adult toys, novelty items and movies, opened in 1973. Four other locations remain open. A note on the front door tells customers, “We can’t fully express our sorrow.” Adult Superstore was awarded Best of Las Vegas adult store by the Review-Journal in 2016 and 2017 .
Funeral held for Las Vegas corrections officer
Department of Public Safety Correctional Officer Kyle Eng died July 19 after a fight with an inmate at the Las Vegas Jail. A funeral was held for Eng at Canyon Ridge Christian Church Monday, July 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What Back-To-School Shopping Is Like For a CCSD Parent and Teacher
Laura LeBowsky, a CCSD special education teacher and mother of two, set out to shop for her children's supply lists at her local Walmart and Target. She was looking for deals to try to keep the total under $150, while also allowing Chloe, 8, and Brady, 6, some choice in what they wanted. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Businesses struggle to fill food manufacturing jobs
Chelten House is a family-owned food manufacturing company from New Jersey. They created a facility in Vegas five years ago and have struggled to find experienced workers in the area. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LeBron heckler crosses line, altercation erupts
NBA superstar LeBron James, his wife, Savannah, and daughter Zhuri were at Liberty High School to watch Bronny James in action Wednesday night. But an unruly fan wearing a Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls jersey heckled the newest Los Angeles Laker. The man screamed at event security with LeBron and his family about 150 feet away. The man had to be restrained, triggering a brief altercation with security. James and his family were escorted out a side door along with Bronny's team, the North Coast Blue Chips. Event officials canceled the game between the Blue Chips and Nike Meanstreets.
Las Vegas Oddities Shop in Downtown Las Vegas
Las Vegas Oddities shop owner Vanessa VanAlstyne describes what's for sale in one of the weirder and wackier stores in Downtown Las Vegas. The store opened less than a year ago and carries everything from human bones to "rogue" taxidermy to Victorian death photography. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trying to Staying Cool in the Las Vegas Heat
Cooling stations like Cambridge Recreation Center's opened across the Las Vegas Valley this week after the National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for the area. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MountainView's nurses protest outside hospital
MountainView Hospital's nurses affiliated with the Nevada chapter of the national Nurses Organizing Committee picketed outside MountainView Hospital Tuesday to urge the hospital to address high turnover rates and understaffing. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Excessive Heat Slams Las Vegas This Week
The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for Tuesday, July 24 through Thursday, July 26 in Las Vegas. People are reminded to limit outdoor activity, drink plenty of water and wear sunscreen. Visit weather.gov/heat for more heat safety tips. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Burning car in Las Vegas Spaghetti Bowl
Firefighters extinguish a burning car on the Martin Luther King offramp from northbound Interstate 15 in the Spaghetti Bowl in Las Vegas on July 23, 2018.
Fire Department Issues Warning About Water Safety
Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Buchanan made a public safety announcement about water safety after Clark County Fire responded to 27 calls that were classified as drowning incidents between May 1 and July 20. Clark County Fire, Las Vegas Fire & Rescue and North Las Vegas Fire responded to 55 total calls during the same time. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Taxpayer-funded LVCVA boss negotiating exit pay despite criminal investigation
CEO Rossi Ralenkotter is the third-highest-paid public official in the state He has a pay and benefits package valued at $863,000 annually. Ralenkotter does not have an employment contract He announced his retirement in mid June, amid a scandal over airline gift cards LVCVA bought $90,000 in Southwest Airline gift cards between 2012 and 2017. Now auditors can’t account for more than $50,000 of the cards. Ralenkotter and his family used $16,207 in gift cards on 56 trips. Brig Lawson, the senior director of business partnerships, was responsible for buying and distributing the cards. He recently resigned. Ralenkotter's retirement settlement package could cost taxpayers thousands of dollars.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like