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Ex-Mob Lawyer Now Las Vegas Mayor

June 9, 1999

LAS VEGAS (AP) _ Oscar Goodman, a flamboyant lawyer who defended mobsters like Meyer Lansky and Tony ``The Ant″ Spilotro, was elected mayor of Las Vegas tonight.

Goodman appeared headed toward an easy win over Arnie Adamsen, a veteran city councilman, completing his transformation from mob mouthpiece to a populist figure promising to solve the burgeoning city’s growth problems.

With eight of 204 precincts reporting, Goodman had 14,124 votes, or 65.1 percent, to Adamsen’s 7,573 votes, or 34.9 percent.

``I want to make things happen overnight,″ Goodman said earlier in the evening. ``Unlike other people, I’m impatient. I’m ready to get going.″

Goodman, 59, came within 277 votes of winning the mayor’s post outright against Adamsen and seven others in the May 4 primary.

He entered the race expecting he would have to defend his past with the same zeal he once used to defend his mob clients. Instead, he found out that Las Vegas voters didn’t mind.

``It looks like a non-issue as far as Las Vegas is concerned,″ Goodman said Tuesday during some last-minute campaigning. ``It was always a non-issue with me. I love my past. I don’t apologize for one day in my life.″

Goodman campaigned with bluster and bravado, calling for developers to be assessed fees to help pay for road and air-quality improvements made necessary by the city’s runaway growth. Donations from casinos poured in to his campaign.

Adamsen prided himself on paying attention to more mundane matters such as crossing guards and stop signs.

``I’m colorful. That’s what got me in the limelight,″ said Goodman, who played himself in Martin Scorsese’s movie ``Casino.″ ``But I honestly believe I’m going to be the best mayor Las Vegas ever had.″

Polls showed Goodman with a 19-point lead over Adamsen, whose warnings that Goodman would be dangerous for Las Vegas’ image failed to take hold with the voters. Sixty-nine percent said in a newspaper poll last week that Goodman would not hurt the city’s reputation.

Mayor Jan Jones is retiring.

In Virginia, two state legislative primaries became unusually interesting because of spiteful party infighting.

In one primary for the House of Delegates, Democrat William P. Robinson easily defeated challenger Luther C. Edmonds, a former friend who allegedly pistol-whipped Robinson in 1997. Edmonds’ trial ended in a mistrial when a jury deadlocked last month.

In another House race, Republican Anne G. ``Panny″ Rhodes was nominated for a fifth term even after party leaders took the rare step of supporting her conservative challenger. Gov. Jim Gilmore and others in the GOP establishment were upset that she had bucked them on tax cuts, welfare reform and abortion restrictions.

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