Las Vegas’ two mayoral front-runners sparred for months over a now-abandoned plan to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on a $200 million, 24,000-seat downtown soccer stadium.
Between the mudslinging mailers, the TV attack ads and the raucous debates, newly re-elected Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Mayor Pro Tem Stavros Anthony’s fight for the mayor’s seat was no one’s idea of a polite campaign.
Things got even nastier in the home stretch.
Freedom for a Middle Class — an independent expenditure group that received more than three-fourths of its financial backing from stadium supporters and generous Goodman donors at Laborers International Union Local 872 — put together a last-minute robocall that linked Anthony with “Robert Beers,” the author of several off-color remarks which have appeared in the comments section on the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s website.
The call asked some 65,000 voters: “Who says Catholics aren’t Christians, calls black people thugs and wants genocide against Muslims? That’s Bob L. Beers, supporter of Stavros Anthony and opponent of the soccer stadium. Paid for by Freedom for a Middle Class.”
Fellow stadium subsidy foe and Las Vegas City Councilman Bob T. Beers said the ad aimed to generate confusion between him and Robert L. Beers, a one-term former state assemblyman from Henderson and the reputed author of posted comments.
Arizona-based campaign strategist Matthew Capalby, who helped produce the call, stood by its phrasing. He said his team “extensively researched” Robert L. Beers’ ties to the remarks but did not personally get in touch with the one-time state legislator, who could not be reached for comment.
Laborers union business manager Tommy White — reached for comment at Goodman’s election night party — didn’t deny cutting a $10,000 check to the group that produced the call. His union wrote a same-sized check to the mayor’s re-election campaign.
White said he didn’t know what went into the call until he heard about it on Election Day. He didn’t seem bothered.
“Bob Beers took it the wrong way,” White said, referring to the Ward 2 councilman. “It was Bob L. Beers that said those comments. What does (Bob T. Beers) got a guilty conscience, that he has to jump right onboard?
“I’ve still got (contractors) looking in the medical district, and I still think we should build up downtown,” he added. “I’m all about putting people to work. We suffered, you know we did.”
Goodman’s campaign denied any prior knowledge of the robocall, which one staff member called “unfortunate.”
Contact James DeHaven at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3839.