LAS VEGAS -- Oscar Goodman, a flamboyant lawyer who defended mobsters like Meyer Lansky and Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, was elected mayor of Las Vegas on Tuesday.
Goodman defeated 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."I never went into anything I didn't expect to win," Goodman said.
With all 204 precincts reporting, Goodman had 32,765 votes, or 63.8 percent, to Adamsen's 18,620 votes, or 36.2 percent.
"People looked at me to be an underdog when I started the campaign. That's all right because I've always represented the underdog," Goodman said.
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.