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December 21, 2014

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Politics:

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman still considering bid for governor

Goodman says first step would be to become a non-partisan

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Dave Toplikar

Time is growing relatively short for Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman to decide whether he will run for governor. The mayor told reporters Thursday that he has until the end of the year to change his party affiliation to non-partisan, which would keep his options open.

He's still not saying. But he is still interested. And an incremental decision is coming soon — possibly by the end of this year.

That's what Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman said when questioned by reporters again today at his weekly press conference about whether he will run for governor of Nevada in 2010.

"I've always said that if I was going to run for governor I'm going to run as a non-partisan," said Goodman, who is currently a Democrat. "And I have until the end of the year in which to register as a non-partisan."

After that, he has until the March filing deadline to declare himself as a candidate, he said.

Pressed further, he said becoming independent of any party doesn't signal anything other than that he would still be keeping his options open.

"Right now, I'm just talking to folks, finding out whether or not, number one, can a governor make a difference and turn this state around, because the state really needs to be turned around. And number two, could I, as a non-partisan, be able to accomplish that," he said.

He said running as a non-partisan would be difficult to do and that, to his knowledge, no other candidate has tried to run as a non-partisan before in Nevada.

"I feel the only way, in my own mind, I would be a good governor and a successful governor, is to try to do it the same way I'm a mayor," he said. "To keep politics out of it. To treat all people equally. To serve Nevada and Nevadans. I don't think I could do that as a member of a specific party. I think when you're a member of a specific party, you have certain loyalties and commitments to others in your party. If I want to be able to do what I do now when somebody comes to me for something, I would try to help them without asking them if they are an 'R' or a 'D.'"

Goodman said he hasn't formed a formal exploratory committee.

"I go to Costco. That's my exploratory committee," he said. "I'm out and about all the time. When people come up and they say, 'Mayor, you're doing a great job,' that's my exploratory committee. When they say, 'Mayor you stink,' that's my exploratory committee."

However, Goodman said he's getting opinions of people who he respects that are knowledgeable about Nevada's political climate.

He said he was hoping that those people, if he did run, would associate themselves with him as his advisers.

"I like smart people. I don't like yes people," he said.

Goodman said it was a tough decision to make to run a campaign throughout the state and, if he won, would mean moving to Carson City.

"I love my wife. I love my family. I love Las Vegas. I love the warmth of my home. I love my bed. I love looking up in the morning when I'm having a cup of coffee and seeing my wife smile at me. I love opening up the stupid newspapers and reading the stupid things that are in them," he said, smiling. "There are a lot of good things that are indigenous to Las Vegas."

A poll last week by the Las Vegas Review-Journal has continued to fan speculation that Goodman might run.

The poll showed that Goodman is neck and neck with former U.S. District Judge Brian Sandoval in a hypothetical general election matchup for governor. In the poll, Goodman had 35 percent compared with Republican Sandoval's 32 percent and Democrat Rory Reid's 24 percent. Nine percent were undecided.

In a Republican primary, Sandoval would have 39 percent compared with incumbent Gov. Jim Gibbons' 18 percent and former North Las Vegas Mayor Michael Montandon's 6 percent. Thirty-seven percent were undecided.

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