Baltimore Del. Lierman wins Maryland’s Democratic comptroller nomination, Adams concedes

Published on: July 20, 2022 at 9:51 am EDT

Brooke Lierman, Maryland candidate for comptroller, speaks at an election day event held at at Checkerspot Brewing Company on July, 19, 2022.

Baltimore Del. Brooke Lierman has won the Democratic nomination for comptroller.

The Associated Press called the race shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday with Lierman winning just under 64% of the vote to Bowie Mayor Tim Adams’ 36%.

Adams conceded to Lierman on Wednesday morning in a press release. “Although this is not the result we hoped for, I want to congratulate Delegate Brooke Lierman on a well-fought campaign and victory.” Adams thanked his supporters and pledged to ”continue the work of creating opportunity for those left behind.”

“We must now unite around Brooke and all our nominees to ensure Democratic victories up and down the ballot in November,” he said.

In November, Lierman will face Republican challenger and Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, who ran unopposed in his party primary. Glassman, a former state senator and delegate, enters the competition at a statistical disadvantage in a state where registered, eligible Democrats outnumber Republicans more than 2-to-1. A Republican hasn’t held the post since 1900.

If elected in the general election, Lierman would be the first female comptroller in the state’s history.

“Tonight we are one big step closer to building a better Maryland, together,” Lierman tweeted after the race was called. “Together, we can reimagine what the Comptroller’s office can do to support families, strengthen public schools, empower small businesses, and build a better Maryland for all.”

Lierman took the stage with her two children and her husband to a roar of applause from supporters at a Baltimore brewery just after 10 p.m. She expressed her “immense gratitude” to her family, staff, volunteers and supporters.

She acknowledged the “honor and privilege” of running against Adams, who she called “thoughtful and dedicated.”

Speaking for the Adams campaign Tuesday, a senior adviser said they will wait until all the votes are counted.

“Once we have all the votes, we will accept the will of the voters,” Kevin Harris said.

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Lierman held a substantial lead after early and election day votes were counted. Election officials will begin counting hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots starting Thursday, but it was not likely Adams could make up a roughly 95,000-vote difference.

The contest to be Maryland’s 34th tax collector marks a rare chance at one of the state’s most powerful elected positions — one incumbents have historically held on to for several terms. The seat is open after current Comptroller Peter Franchot opted to run for governor.

The comptroller not only collects taxes and forecasts revenue, but holds one seat on the state’s three-member Board of Public Works. Along with the governor and the state treasurer, the comptroller oversees a wide range of fiscal responsibilities, including monitoring state spending, managing debt and approving state contracts.

Since 1939, Maryland has had only six men serve in the position. All were white. The longest serving comptroller was Louis L. Goldstein, who died in 1998 while holding the office for nearly 40 years, according to the Maryland State Archives.

Lierman stepped into the comptroller’s race after serving eight years representing Baltimore City in the Maryland General Assembly. She currently sits on several house committees and subcommittees, including environment and transportation, and serves as the house chair on the committee overseeing the $66.6 billion state pension fund.

The civil and disability rights attorney said as the state’s tax collector she will streamline tax collection systems for individuals and businesses, and as one seat on the Board of Public Works she “will make the procurement process more transparent, more streamlined, and more accessible,” according to her campaign website.

Adams, elected the first Black mayor of Bowie in 2019, is the founder and CEO of defense contractor Systems Application and Technologies, Inc. and has a Ph.D. in business from Bowie State University. Adams’ campaign platform included closing tax loopholes on corporations, protecting Maryland’s AAA bond rating and maximizing the state pension’s investment returns.

During the campaign, Adams said he would use his power on the Board of Public Works to expand public transportation and fund affordable housing for low- and middle-income families. He also said he’d push to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana sales to increase state revenues.

Over the weekend, Lierman’s campaign deployed dozens of volunteers to knock on doors in Baltimore City and Montgomery, Howard, Baltimore, Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties. Her campaign manager, Joe Francaviglia, said hundreds of volunteers staffed each of the 96 early voting centers at least once during the week of early voting.

”We have a really good network of people showing up,” Francaviglia said.

Francaviglia said Lierman’s experience “resonates” with voters — highlighting her work, including championing a broadband expansion bill and the nation’s first statewide Styrofoam ban.

“When you have time to engage voters and you find a topic they are interested in, chances are Brooke has done something to directly address that issue as delegate,” he said.

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