Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman eyes governor's job

CARSON CITY " When asked in the past whether he was interested in running for governor, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman often said he was the happiest mayor in America " his way of saying no. But he has a new line now.

"I'm not saying 'no' anymore," Goodman told the Las Vegas Sun in discussing a potential race for the state's top elective post. "I'm very unhappy with the direction things are going."

Goodman, a Democrat, said he has not made up his mind whether to run for governor in 2010 and plans to first look at other potential candidates who decide to challenge Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons.

"Hopefully, people will step up" to run for governor, Goodman said. "Hopefully, people who agree with my philosophy that they want the state to be the best of everything."

Jim Ferrence, Goodman's political consultant, said the mayor would not run against Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, the most frequently mentioned Democratic possibility for 2010.

"If it turns out the speaker is definitely running, the mayor will not run," Ferrence said.

Though Gibbons isn't up for re-election until 2010, his first 16 months in office have been marred by gaffes and missteps. His pending divorce from first lady Dawn Gibbons also has some allies wondering whether he will seek re-election.

"All this is predicated on Gov. Gibbons' being unelectable, but he's well on his way," Ferrence said.

Jim Denton, a political consultant for Gibbons, said the governor plans to seek re-election in 2010 but is now focused on the state's issues, from the hepatitis C crisis to the budget crisis.

"He's given me every indication he'll run for re-election," Denton said. "Two and a half years is a lifetime in politics. I expect that a lot of people will express interest in running, as they have in the past."


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