Goldstein, Curran secure nominations

September 14, 1994|By Marina Sarris | Marina Sarris,Sun Staff Writer Sun staff writer Howard Libit contributed to this article.

Maryland Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein and Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. pummeled their aggressive challengers to capture Democratic nominations last night.

Mr. Goldstein, 81, who has been comptroller since Dwight D. Eisenhower was president, trounced James B. Moorhead, a lawyer half his age who had twice as much campaign money. With almost all precincts reporting, Mr. Goldstein led 66 percent to 34 percent.

Mr. Moorhead, a political newcomer, ran an unusually well-financed campaign that accused Mr. Goldstein of getting rich at the public trough. Democrats, however, apparently did not believe the nine-term incumbent was, as Mr. Moorhead implied, "corrupt."

"People have renewed their confidence in the comptroller's office of this state and me personally," said Mr. Goldstein, who is believed to be the longest-serving statewide office-holder in the nation today. "I'm a very happy man."

In the race for attorney general, Mr. Curran handily dispatched challengers Eleanor M. Carey and Patrick J. Smith. They had claimed Mr. Curran, 63, was no longer energetic enough to be Maryland's top lawyer, but voters apparently disagreed.

With nearly all precincts reporting, Mr. Curran had almost 53 percent of the vote. Ms. Carey, 52, a former deputy attorney general from Baltimore, had 33 percent, while Mr. Smith, 46, a Rockville attorney, trailed with just under 15 percent.

"I couldn't possibly lose this election because I have a great office," said a beaming Mr. Curran, as happy staffers celebrated at his Baltimore campaign headquarters.

This was Ms. Carey's second and last try for the attorney general post. She lost to Mr. Curran in a three-way primary race in 1986. "The voters have spoken twice," she said. "I may not have listened the first time but I heard it this time around."

The mild-mannered Mr. Curran waited until fairly late in the campaign to fight against Ms. Carey's charges that he was a weak leader. He launched a television commercial last weekend pointing out that she has never tried a criminal case. The intent was to undermine Ms. Carey, who made crime-fighting proposals a major thrust of her campaign.

Mr. Curran faces Republican Richard D. Bennett, who had no opponent in his primary.

Mr. Bennett, the strongest GOP candidate to run for that office in years, has had the luxury of only plotting his general election strategy, while Mr. Curran was fighting Ms. Carey.

Like her, Mr. Bennett is portraying himself as the stronger general for the war on crime. And he isn't wasting any time.

His campaign will begin airing television and radio commercials today that emphasize his experience as a former federal prosecutor for Maryland.

Mr. Curran has been highlighting his own eight-year record. "It's like my secret weapon," he said. He has prosecuted drug dealers on income tax charges, supported gun control, and targeted environmental crime and insurance fraud.

"The general election can be close and I'm not taking anything for granted," he said.

While incumbency can be a drawback for some, Comptroller Goldstein has made a virtue of his half-century in elected offices. He trounced Mr. Moorhead, even though the 40-year-old had raised an unprecedented amount of campaign money for that race -- almost $400,000 -- much of it from out-of-state friends.

Mr. Moorhead bought radio and television commercials that blasted Mr. Goldstein's personal financial dealings and accused him of using his office to get rich.

Mr. Goldstein, however, denied any wrongdoing. He accused Mr. Moorhead of lying and of rehashing old allegations that had been laid to rest years ago.

Mr. Goldstein will face Republican Timothy R. Mayberry of Washington County in the general election. Mr. Mayberry, a 38-year-old banking consultant with a shoestring campaign, scored an upset victory over lawyer Richard P. Taylor, 66, a national committeeman for Maryland.

ATTORNEY

GENERAL

1,702 of 1,702 precincts - 100%

Republican

Richard D. Bennett uncontested

Democrat

J. Joseph Curran *244,655 .. ..53%

Eleanor M. Carey 152,474 .. .. 33%

Patrick J. Smith 67,584.. ... .15%

COMPTROLLER

Republican

1,702 of 1,702 precincts - 100%

Timothy R. Mayberry 93,189 .. .. 52%

Richard Taylor 85,486 .. .. .. ..48%

COMPTROLLER

Democrat

1,702 of 1,702 precincts - 100%

/%Louis L. Goldstein *311,860 .. ..66%

James B. Moorhead 161,278 ... .. 34%

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