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Las Vegas mayor’s wife looks to win job

Carolyn Goodman, wife of Mayor Oscar Goodman of Las Vegas, has vowed to carry on his vision for transforming downtown. Carolyn Goodman, wife of Mayor Oscar Goodman of Las Vegas, has vowed to carry on his vision for transforming downtown. (Julie Jacobson/ Associated Press)
Associated Press / April 7, 2011

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LAS VEGAS — The wife of the mayor of Las Vegas easily topped 17 other candidates in a primary election to replace him as Sin City’s leader, but she didn’t get an outright win.

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

But she needed more than 50 percent of the vote to become mayor. That was the outcome she had hoped for and had seemed headed toward.

Instead, she will face off against second-place finisher Chris Giunchigliani, Clark County commissioner, in the June 7 general election.

Oscar Goodman has led this city of neon lights and cheap cocktails for 12 years with his entourage of bejeweled showgirls and his gin martinis.

Forced to select his successor, voters now must choose either a woman who says the city needs a serious leader, or the mother of Goodman’s four children.

Carolyn Goodman and Giunchigliani both have backgrounds in education and penchants for fiery prose. And both are prepared to fight hard.

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

“It is just reasonable for a smooth transition of the city and all the people who love him and know what he has done and want this to continue,’’ Carolyn Goodman said.

Giunchigliani conceded that Oscar Goodman was as much her opponent as was his wife.

“I am running against a name, let’s put it that way,’’ she said in a telephone interview. “But I think the public recognizes that the time for that type of leadership style has passed.’’

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