Comptroller 'confident,' despite opponent's funds

August 17, 1994|By Marina Sarris | Marina Sarris,Sun Staff Writer

Political newcomer James B. Moorhead has raised almost twice as much money as Maryland's longtime comptroller, Louis L. Goldstein, in his bid to unseat the incumbent in the Democratic primary.

Mr. Moorhead, a 40-year-old Rockville lawyer, has raised $376,500 in his campaign for the nomination, compared with $192,100 raised by Mr. Goldstein.

"I have never raised that kind of money," said Mr. Goldstein, 81, who has been the state's tax man and chief financial officer for 36 years.

Both candidates revealed their campaign finances in reports due yesterday to the state election board in Annapolis.

Mr. Goldstein has more money in the bank than his challenger. The comptroller has spent only $72,500, leaving a balance of $119,600.

Mr. Moorhead has spent almost $300,000 of his money, including $100,000 on ads scheduled to run on Baltimore and Washington television stations next month. That leaves just $77,100 in the bank.

Mr. Goldstein said he had no comment on his rival's fund raising. He has relied for years on his folksy speeches, frequent appearances at community events and high name recognition to win elections.

"My record is one of performance, and people know what I do from one end of Maryland to the other," he said.

Mr. Goldstein said he is "confident" that he will win in September. "I'm an old Marine. I'm in a good physical state and a good mental state . . . and I know I have good name recognition. And that's what counts."

There's no disputing his name recognition among voters.

Mr. Goldstein led Mr. Moorhead by a large margin in a statewide telephone poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Political/Media Research Inc. in mid-July. Sixty-one percent of the 422 Democratic voters polled said they would vote for the incumbent. Nine percent supported Mr. Moorhead. Almost one-third were undecided.

However, Mr. Moorhead said he believes he can win over voters by the Sept. 13 primary.

"This is a race that will get decided at the end, when voters make a full study of the incumbent's record and my qualifications. There will be an increasing amount of paid advertising and media attention and public interest in this race," he said.

Mr. Moorhead, a former federal prosecutor making his first run for state elective office, has spent the last few months criticizing Mr. Goldstein.

In radio commercials in May, he blasted Mr. Goldstein for his personal financial dealings and his office's record on promoting women and minorities. Mr. Goldstein, however, denied any wrong-doing in his business dealings and claimed his record of promoting minorities and women is better than Mr. Moorhead makes it seem.

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