CARSON CITY, Nev. -- Brian Sandoval vaulted into the governor's mansion without saying much. He didn't really need to.
His Republican primary rival, Gov. Jim Gibbons, was a mess of marital shenanigans and campaign blunders, such as evoking Nazi Germany to zing Sandoval. His Democratic opponent, Rory Reid, proved as troublesome as a fly; Sandoval rarely had to fend off attacks, and he won by nearly 12 points.
It helped that the handsome Sandoval was so gubernatorial in visage and voice that, in political cartoons, he often resembled Clark Kent. His sparkling resume -- federal judge, attorney general, state lawmaker, casino regulator -- was virtually free of controversy. He adopted a "no new taxes" mantra and gave pundits little else to shred.
His gubernatorial honeymoon lasted all of 21 days.