RENO, Nevada (PNN) - June 12, 2014 - As embarrassing as it was for leaders of Nevada’s Democrat Party, political analysts say they shouldn’t necessarily have been surprised that their candidate topping the ticket in November will be best known as the man who beat out seven other gubernatorial contenders by finishing second in the primary to “none of the above”.
Now Democrat Robert Goodman, who was Governor Michael O’Callaghan’s director of economic development in the 1970s, faces the unenviable task of taking on Governor Brian Sandoval and his big campaign war chest.
For his part, Goodman on Wednesday was sticking to the low-profile approach that proved successful enough to win the nomination Tuesday with 25% of the vote, compared to 30% for “none of these candidates”.
State Democrats also were keeping mum on their plans for how to handle his general-election race, which he begins with virtually no financial resources compared to Sandoval’s $3 million. Party spokesman Zach Hudson did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid vowed last year that Democrats would field a serious challenger for Sandoval’s seat. But all the usual suspects begged off, leaving a field of political unknowns whose campaigns were in most cases largely invisible and in others non-existent.
“None of these candidates,” a ballot selection unique to Nevada election law, finished with 15,389 votes compared to 13,473 for Goodman. Next - with 6,005 votes - was Stephen Frye, a retired Army doctor who wants to legalize marijuana.
“It is an embarrassment for the party to have one-third of the votes cast to go for ‘none of the above,’ which exists for no other purpose than to protest,” said Fred Lokken, a political science professor at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno. “Everyone understands Brian Sandoval is a very popular governor, but you don’t just let your party down by not giving them the option to vote for a legitimate candidate.”
Herzik said the Democrat hopefuls were “not a bunch of crazies” but they were unknown, had little money, and little or no political experience.
Goodman ran twice unsuccessfully for the Democrat nomination for lieutenant governor, finishing a distant second in 2010 with 18% of the vote to Jessica Sferrazza’s 43%. He also was runner-up with 22% of the vote - 1% more than “none” - when Robert Unger won the nomination with 27% in 2006.
While Goodman could not be reached for comment on Wednesday, his website suggests Nevadans won’t have to worry about him cutting out early if he’s elected governor, as some expect Sandoval to do in 2016 to challenge Democrat Senator Harry Reid.
“Bob Goodman is not looking for a stepping stone to a loftier political position,” the site says.