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Lierman wins Md. comptroller, first woman to win state office independently

Lierman, a state delegate from Baltimore, defeated Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, who ran as a centrist in the mold of Gov. Larry Hogan

Brooke Lierman speaks at a campaign event for Wes Moore at Bowie on Nov. 7. (Julio Cortez/AP)
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Democrat Brooke E. Lierman won the comptroller’s race Tuesday, making history as the first woman independently elected to state office in Maryland.

“To all the girls and women out there I’m going to say I may be the first, but I’m not going to be the last!” she told the crowd at the Democrats’ watch party.

Lierman, a state delegate from Baltimore, defeated Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, who broke with his fellow Republicans on the ticket to run as a centrist who could carry on the legacy of Gov. Larry Hogan.

But Democrats successfully painted Glassman as part of a ticket whose far-right views were out of step with most Maryland residents and used their fundraising advantage to share the message on television and social media.

Lierman spoke to supporters about 9:15 p.m.

“I am so proud and so humbled to let you know we got our numbers and we are going to make history tonight,” she said to cheering.

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2022 Maryland midterm election results


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Glassman called to concede shortly after 11 p.m., said Lierman’s campaign manager, Joe Francaviglia. At that point, she was leading by 14 percentage points, the Maryland State Board of Elections site showed.

In Maryland comptroller race, two views of the same job

Lierman has said she will leverage the broad powers of Maryland’s chief financial officer to help Maryland residents achieve financial resilience and advance policy priorities such as climate sustainability. She ran to protect “our tax dollars and our values,” she said in recent ad.

Glassman positioned himself as a Republican check on what is shaping up to be one-party rule in Annapolis, and was the only statewide candidate for whom Hogan (R) cut a television ad.

Both candidates spent the day canvassing voters at the polls, while Democrats touted their history-making ticket, which was poised to elect the first Black governor and attorney general and the first woman of color as lieutenant governor.

“We really are welcoming the next generation of leaders in Maryland and it’s very exciting to be watching this unfold this year,” Del. Maggie McIntosh (D-Baltimore City) said in a phone interview last week.

Lierman’s achievement is the culmination of female elected officials before her, from McIntosh — who will retire this year after three decades in office — to former U.S. senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D), the state’s first female senator. (Mikulski endorsed Lierman in the primary.)

“I have tears well up when I think about that,” McIntosh said.

Lierman thanked Mikulski, a fellow Fells Point Democrat, joking, “I don’t know what they put in the water in Fells Point but I am so proud to follow her from rabble rousing in Fells Point to state office.”

She also detailed the piano recitals and bedtime stories she missed during the campaign, but thanked her two children for walking in parades and waking up early to see her off.

“You are my joy and my light and I’m doing this for you and for all the children of Maryland,” she said.

Lierman will replace Peter Franchot, who defeated the incumbent Democrat to win the comptroller seat in 2006 but stepped down this year to run unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for governor. His exit from the contest presented a rare opportunity for a new voice in the prominent office; the last time the comptroller race was wide open, with no incumbent running, was 1998.

The state comptroller, known as the state’s chief financial officer or accountant, collects about $16 billion annually in taxes. The office also handles information technology for the state and pays the state’s bills and employee paychecks. The agency has 1,100 employees and a budget of $110 million.

With the governor and treasurer, the comptroller sits on the powerful Board of Public Works, which Lierman says approves an average of $480 million in state contracts every other week.

As comptroller, Lierman said she will modernize the office by upgrading technology to help small-business owners pay taxes more efficiently, and reach out to families and seniors who are eligible for but not yet receiving tax credits.

Lierman, co-chair of the special joint committee on pensions in the legislature, said she will also minimize risk to state pension fund investments related to the negative impacts of climate change.

Lierman, 43, works as a civil rights and disability lawyer at the Baltimore firm Brown, Goldstein & Levy. Her father is Terry Lierman, a former chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party and longtime party insider.

She has a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and a law degree from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. She has served two terms in the House and bested Bowie Mayor Tim Adams for the Democratic nomination for comptroller.

Lateshia Beachum contributed to this report.

2022 Maryland Gubernatorial Election: What to know

Races to watch: Wes Moore is projected to become Maryland’s first Black governor. In other historic races, Anthony G. Brown declares victory as Maryland’s first Black attorney, and Aruna Miller will be the state’s first immigrant and first woman of color to serve as lieutenant governor.

Key issues: Maryland’s vote to legalize recreational marijuana is among key issues that residents care about. Here’s what to know about Maryland’s recreational marijuana law.

What’s at stake: Why are midterm elections important? Democrats could dominate all branches of government if they prevail in November, and Republicans hope to keep a seat at the table.