Scramble on to fill Goldstein position

July 07, 1998|By BRENDAN KIRBY

For about two days, Boonsboro accountant Timothy R. Mayberry had the Maryland comptroller's race all to himself.

But that changed in a hurry on Monday, as 18 candidates - including former governor William Donald Schaefer - scrambled to beat the 9 p.m. filing deadline.

The flood of new candidates was precipitated by the death Friday of popular incumbent Louis L. Goldstein, 85, of a heart attack.

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Schaefer's entrance into the race came just hours after Gov. Parris N. Glendening appointed former congressman Michael D. Barnes as interim comptroller.


Barnes is chairman of Glendening's re-election campaign.

Schaefer, who acknowledged he might change his mind and withdraw from the race, said he may be the best qualified candidate in the suddenly crowded Democratic field to replace another Maryland legend and bring disparate parts of the state together.

Schaefer's entrance capped a wild day in which 15 candidates joined the campaign.

Mayberry, who collected 39 percent of the vote when he ran against Goldstein in 1994, said he had expected to run well in this year's rematch.

"To tell the truth, we don't really see a whole lot of difference" in the way his campaign will be run, he said. "We have been running a very positive campaign and we plan to continue on that way."

Mayberry, who said he will continue to push his 10-point plan that he says will save taxpayers $200 million a year, dismissed the motives of the last-minute candidates as opportunism.

"It's kind of like dancing on the guy's grave. And I don't like that," he said.

Even some candidates who jumped into the race on Monday acknowledged it was awkward.

"It's almost like a feeding frenzy," said Larry M. Epstein, the 1990 GOP candidate who had been pondering a bid in 2002 if Goldstein retired.

Analysts said Schaefer's entrance will inject some excitement into the race.

University of Maryland professor Eric Uslaner said he expected a "fairly dull primary" - unless Schaefer got into he race.

Mayberry, who had a clear path to the Republican primary before Monday's filings, now must contend with a GOP field that includes six other candidates.

Even if he wins the GOP primary, he will face a Democratic nominee who will emerge from a field that includes a former governor, a former state senator, a former congressman and the Baltimore comptroller.

But Mayberry said he thinks he can beat any of the Democrats who emerge from the primary.

"Who's the bigger name than Louie Goldstein?" he said.

Democratic candidates in the race include:

- Gerald Berg, of Catonsville, Md.

- Joseph DiBlasi, of Baltimore.

- Joseph E. Carey, a Prince George's County lawyer.

- Mary Pat Clarke, a former Baltimore City Council president who ran unsuccessfully for mayor.

- Kenneth Frederick, of Baltimore.

- Lawrence E. Keval, who lives in Bowie, Md.

- Julian L. Lapides, a former state senator who ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary for Baltimore City comptroller.

- Joan M. Pratt, the Baltimore City comptroller.

- Eugene A. Walsh, of Ocean City.

- Lih Young, of Potomac, Md.

Other Republicans include:

- Ardath M. Cade, the wife of former state Sen. Jack Cade.

- Larry M. Epstein, a Baltimore County accountant who ran against Goldstein in 1990.

Epstein served as treasurer on Helen Delich Bentley's 1994 gubernatorial campaign.

After Bentley lost the GOP primary, Epstein lent his name to Republicans for Glendening. But he said the governor has broken his commitment to moderate government and is backing Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey this year.

- Jeff Hooke, director with a private investment firm in Chevy Chase, Md.

- Robert W. Kearns, who lives in Queenstown, Md.

- Michael Steele, a Largo, Md., resident.

- Eugene R. Zarwell, an international marketing specialist from Anne Arundel County who has run unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.

In addition to serving as the state's chief tax collector, the comptroller sits on the powerful Board of Public Works with the governor and the treasurer. The board approves all state contracts.

While Monday's filings sent shockwaves through political circles, Uslaner predicted most voters will shrug at the news.

"I don't know a whole lot of people who say, 'I wonder who's running for comptroller?'" he said.

- The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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