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Nevada Wonk

Mayoral candidates go negative in televised debate


Leila Navidi

Las Vegas mayoral candidates Carolyn Goodman and Chris Giunchigliani debate on “Face to Face with Jon Ralston” inside the KSNV studio in Las Vegas on Wednesday, May 18, 2011.

Updated Wednesday, May 18, 2011 | 8:11 p.m.

Mayoral Debate

Las Vegas mayoral candidate Carolyn Goodman debates with Chris Giunchigliani on Launch slideshow »

Face to Face: Mayoral Debate

Mayoral debate on Face to Face

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  • Mayoral debate on Face to Face
  • Mayoral debate on Face to Face
  • Mayoral debate on Face to Face
  • Mayoral debate on Face to Face

The gloves came off Wednesday night during a debate between the candidates for Las Vegas mayor.

Chris Giunchigliani slammed Carolyn Goodman for lacking substance and ideas, while Goodman blasted Giunchigliani for what she described as her failed County Commission record.

The women faced off during a televised debate moderated by Sun columnist Jon Ralston on “Face to Face” on KSNV-Channel 3. It was the last mayoral debate before early voting starts Saturday.

Goodman took a noticeably more aggressive tone during the conversation, likely in response to a negative ad Giunchigliani debuted earlier in the day. In it, she accuses Goodman of riding her husband’s coattails and of being unprepared to be mayor.

Goodman called the ad misleading, then jabbed at Giunchigliani.

“Of course I’m proud of what he (Mayor Oscar Goodman) has done over these past 12 years, but I have operated a business, which my opponent never has,” Goodman said.

Giunchigliani shot back, “Running one elite private school does not create the opportunity to be able to walk in on Day 1 to the mayor’s office and be able to take over that job.”

Ralston then turned the tables on the candidates and aired a new commercial Goodman will soon begin running. In it, she slams Giunchigliani for being a “typical politician with a hostile reputation.”

The ad focuses on a meeting in which Giunchigliani cursed at a nurse, and quotes UMC adviser Jim Rogers saying Giunchigliani’s behavior will have a chilling effect on business.

“To be effective, the mayor must be a consensus builder,” a voice in the ad says. “That’s not Chris Giunchigliani.”

Ralston appeared surprised at Goodman’s ad, asserting that it was far more negative than Giunchigliani’s. Goodman, from the start, had promised to run a clean, positive campaign.

Goodman said she decided to run the ad in response to Giunchigliani’s ad. She said she had been warned about Giunchigliani’s reputation for running negative ads.

“I came into this so innocent, just wanting to do the job and go to the voters,” Goodman said. “My skin has thickened a little bit. I had been warned, and I was not going to be caught shy.”

Giunchigliani denied that she directed the curse at the nurse, then noted that it was one mistake in a 20-year history.

Goodman also accused Giunchigliani of failing to find budget savings in the county and criticized her for seeking the mayor’s job before her commission term is finished. “You had no leadership,” Goodman said.

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