Schaefer wins handily after 4-year retirement Central Md., D.C. suburbs are his strong areas

State comptroller

Election 1998 : Maryland

November 04, 1998|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,SUN STAFF Contributing writer Daniel Valentine supplied information for this article.

Four years after leaving Annapolis for a restless retirement, former Gov. William Donald Schaefer completed his political comeback yesterday by easily winning the election for state comptroller.

With all votes counted, Schaefer, who turned 77 Monday, defeated his Republican opponent, Larry M. Epstein, with 62 percent of the vote.

Schaefer won handily in Central Maryland and the Washington suburbs to put himself in a position to succeed the late Louis L. Goldstein, the comptroller for nearly four decades.

Addressing supporters last night at the Harbor Inn at Pier 5, he said he would seek to uphold the standard set by Goldstein.

"You don't have to remake an office," he said. "That's one of the dumbest things in the world, to go in and clear everyone out."

Schaefer concluded with Goldstein's trademark, "God bless you all real good."

Goldstein's death at age 85 in July -- three days before the filing deadline -- brought Schaefer back into politics. Initially reluctant to heed longtime supporters who urged him to enter a crowded race to succeed Goldstein, Schaefer declared himself a candidate and quickly became the consensus choice among Maryland's Democratic leaders.

A fidgety retiree

Friends said the former governor and Baltimore mayor had been fidgety as a retiree. Running for comptroller, he seemed more energetic and happier than he had in years, friends said.

For the race, he assembled a battle-tested team of confidants and former aides. He campaigned with his well-known quirks intact, donning a silly hat when the occasion called for it.

In his travels across the state and in radio advertisements, he presented himself as a senior statesman with the experience to run the comptroller's office and said he had the political backbone to sit as one-third of the powerful state Board of Public Works.

In the Democratic primary in September, he easily defeated his chief opponent, Baltimore Comptroller Joan M. Pratt.

Epstein's second race

Epstein, a 50-year-old Owings Mills accountant, was making his second run for the office. In 1990, he won his party's nomination but was routed by Goldstein in the general election.

After that race, he struck up a friendship with Goldstein and vowed not to run again against the legendary politician.

When Goldstein died, Epstein entered the race. In the closest statewide election in years, he defeated Timothy R. Mayberry, the GOP's 1994 nominee for comptroller, in the primary election by eight votes out of more than 180,000 cast.

For the general election, Epstein sought to mend a strained relationship with his party's gubernatorial candidate, Ellen R. Sauerbrey, but he received little support from her campaign.

In yesterday's election, he ran strongest in Western Maryland and on the Eastern Shore, where he won 58 percent of the vote.

Epstein said he would write to Schaefer today to congratulate him and to offer him "any assistance that he may feel is appropriate, considering my technical background. Hopefully, we were both in it for the good of the state."

Epstein said he plans to run for the office again in 2002.

Md. comptroller

Western Maryland

..... ..... ..... TP .... PR ... Schaefer ... Pct ..... Epstein ... Pct

Allegany .. ..... 36 .... 36 ... 11,787 ..... 65 ...... 6,486 ..... 35

Frederick ... ... 51 .... 51 ... 20,994 ..... 41 ...... 30,041 .... 59

Garrett ..... ... 16 .... 16 ... 2,975 ...... 39 ...... 4,594 ..... 61

Washington .. ... 43 .... 43 ... 11,106 ..... 35 ...... 21,026 .... 65

RegTotals ... ... 146 ... 146 .. 46,862 ..... 43 ...... 62,147 .... 57

Eastern Maryland

Caroline .... ... 9 ..... 9 .... 1,467 ...... 23 ...... 5,050 ..... 77

Cecil ... ... ... 14 .... 14 ... 9,730 ...... 50 ...... 9,792 ..... 50

Dorchester .. ... 36 .... 36 ... 3,525 ...... 45 ...... 4,334 ..... 55

Kent .... ... ... 10 .... 10 ... 2,789 ...... 44 ...... 3,526 ..... 56

Queen Anne's .... 11 .... 11 ... 4,326 ...... 35 ...... 8,137 ..... 65

Somerset ... .... 22 .... 22 ... 2,501 ...... 43 ...... 3,252 ..... 57

Talbot ..... .... 16 .... 16 ... 2,900 ...... 27 ...... 8,036 ..... 73

Wicomico ... .... 34 .... 34 ... 8,016 ...... 39 ...... 12,506 .... 61

Worcester .. .... 12 .... 12 ... 8,143 ...... 58 ...... 5,832 ..... 42

RegTotals ... ... 164 ... 164 .. 43,397 ..... 42 ...... 60,465 .... 58

Central Maryland

Anne Arundel .... 166 ... 166 .. 82,837 ..... 56 ...... 64,226 .... 44

Baltimore Co. ... 187 ... 187 .. 154,355 .... 67 ...... 77,715 .... 33

Baltimore ... ... 325 ... 325 .. 128,777 .... 87 ...... 18,896 .... 13

Carroll ..... ... 43 .... 43 ... 21,011 ..... 47 ...... 24,173 .... 53

Harford ..... ... 57 .... 57 ... 41,688 ..... 60 ...... 28,224 .... 40

Howard ...... ... 85 .... 85 ... 47,870 ..... 61 ...... 30,862 .... 39

RegTotals ... ... 863 ... 863 .. 476,538 .... 66 ...... 244,096 ... 34

Southern Maryland

Calvert ..... ... 15 .... 15 ... 10,391 ..... 49 ...... 10,752 .... 51

Charles ..... ... 28 .... 28 ... 15,094 ..... 50 ...... 15,042 .... 50

St. Mary's .. ... 20 .... 20 ... 10,245 ..... 50 ...... 10,182 .... 50

RegTotals ... ... 63 .... 63 ... 35,730 ..... 50 ...... 35,976 .... 50

Washington Suburbs

Montgomery .. ... 227 ... 227 ... 158,850 ... 62 ....... 99,010 ... 38

Prin. George's .. 199 ... 199 ... 139,010 ... 77 ....... 40,976 ... 23

RegTotals ... ... 426 ... 426 ... 297,860 ... 68 ....... 139,986 .. 32

Totals ... ... 1,662 ... 1,662 .. 900,387 ... 62 ....... 542,670 .. 38

TP = total precincts; PR = precincts reporting

Pub Date: 11/04/98

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