Who will succeed Goldstein? Monday deadline: Democratic nTC leaders must find quality candidates to run for state comptroller.

July 05, 1998

A PALL fell over Maryland Friday night when the state's most popular figure, Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein died at his Prince Frederick home in Southern Maryland. His demise at age 85 came three days before Monday night's filing deadline, in which Mr. Goldstein was the only Democratic on the ballot for comptroller.

Now Democratic leaders must rise above the shock of losing a beloved Maryland figure. While preparing to give Mr. Goldstein a fitting final tribute, they have to face political reality and recruit comptroller candidates.

That's a stiff challenge. Yet there are a number of well-qualified individuals who deserve serious consideration.

Two names will be much-discussed: Harford County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann and state Treasurer Richard N. Dixon. Both are skilled at government finances.

Ms. Rehrmann is running for governor. Yet she remains far behind Gov. Parris N. Glendening. A unity ticket would be formidable.

Mr. Dixon would also give Democrats a first-rate candidate. His fiscal conservatism, his popularity in rural Maryland and his appeal to minority voters would make him a strong possibility.

Republicans are pinning their hopes on Timothy R. Mayberry of Washington County, who ran -- losing badly -- against Mr. Goldstein in 1994. He is the only Republican to have filed.

The ebullient Mr. Goldstein served as state tax collector for 40 years. People loved his folksy "God bless y'all real good," and his genuine love affair with Marylanders. They appreciated his laser-like determination to represent the people's fiscal interests.

Voters will choose a new state comptroller in November. The bigger test will come in trying to live up to Louie Goldstein's record -- and the enormous integrity and devotion to public service that proved to be his hallmark.

Pub Date: 7/05/98

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