For many years, Marylanders who ran in to Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein on the campaign trail were likely to come away with a souvenir of the encounter -- a gold-colored coin with the inscription "God Bless Y'all Real Good."
The coins and the phrase were the political trademarks of the late Goldstein, who served as the state's top tax collector for almost 40 years until his death in 1998.
Now the current occupant of that office, Peter Franchot, is seeking to capture some of the Goldstein magic by distributing his own version of comptroller coins. They're larger and heavier than the Goldstein baubles, but Franchot acknowledges the source of his inspiration.
"Everyone asks me from time to time about where my gold coins are," he said. "I finally got sick of it and had a really nice medallion made."
The black and gold medallions bear the seal of his office on one side and the state flag and his name on the other. Franchot emphasized that his campaign committee, not the state, is footing the bill.
Unlike Goldstein, Franchot doesn't give out his coins to just anybody. He said they're usually an award to people who have performed some meritorious service.
"I enjoy giving it to someone because they're so pleased to get it," he said. "It obviously builds on the Louie Goldstein legacy but it's not a complete knock-off."
Franchot was elected comptroller in 2006 after he defeated the late William Donald Schaefer in the Democratic primary. He was re-elected easily in 2010 and after flirting with the notion of running for governor in 2014 decided to seek a third term as comptroller. No credible challenger has yet emerged.
The comptroller said he realizes he's no Louie Goldstein.
"He's like a giant, and I'm not a giant," Franchot said.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun