Baltimore Del. Brooke Lierman made history Tuesday night, becoming the first woman elected as state comptroller and to an independent state government office in Maryland.
“It’s been 20 years since the one and only time Democrats nominated a woman for one of our three statewide offices and I’d like to give a shout out to that woman, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend — as well as all the women who’ve run and whose shoulders I stand on: from Eleanor Carey to Valerie Ervin to Heather Mizeur and Kelly Schulz,” Lierman said to a packed hotel ballroom in Baltimore. “We represent more than 51% of the population here in this state and tonight I’m humbled that for the first time in our state’s 200-plus year history, we have finally elected a woman to one of our top three offices.”
She noted that it had been 36 years since Barbara Mikulski “smashed a glass ceiling” in the state and in the country, becoming the first woman U.S. senator who was not elected as a replacement for their spouse.
“To every girl and woman out there: let’s keep shattering glass,” Lierman told the assembled crowd. “I may be the first, but I will do my best to ensure I’m not the last.”
With about 96% of Election Day precincts reporting, Lierman appeared to secure victory in the race Tuesday night, leading the Republican nominee, term-limited Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, with 56% of the vote.
Glassman, who was endorsed by Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and distanced himself from Trump-endorsed GOP candidates in the state, conceded the race around 11:30 p.m. in a phone call to Lierman.
He issued a short statement later in the evening.
“Special thanks to all of the Marylanders who supported my bid for comptroller. Although it was unsuccessful, I am proud of our campaign and the positive message we presented,” he said. “Congratulations to Delegate Lierman. I wish her much success. Finally, to my beloved Harford County, thank you for allowing me to serve you for 30 years. It has been an honor.”
Hours earlier, Lierman, 43, danced on stage in celebration with her husband, siblings, children and other family members.
She reflected on her success as a group effort, from her mother convincing each of her neighbors at an assisted living facility to vote for her to the many events her father, former state party chair Terry Lierman, attended in her stead, to the parades that her children marched in, even as she missed some of their events for ones on the campaign trail.
“You are the joy of my life and I am doing this for you and for all of the children of Maryland so we can build a state that is worthy of our kids,” Lierman said.
Among other priorities once in office, Lierman wants to promote participation in the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit, a program she voted to expand during the 2021 legislative session.
On the campaign trail, she has also pitched the tax collectors’ office as a way to guide more equitable and climate-conscious statewide policies. Lierman has pledged to use the comptroller’s seat on Maryland’s powerful Board of Public Works to more strictly enforce rules to encourage state contracts with businesses owned by women and people of color, and to make state procurement more competitive by cutting back on single-bid contracts.
Lierman spoke about uniting Marylanders across interests and geographies — and made the case for investment in the city she’s represented for eight years.
“Maryland can never be a truly great state until our largest city, Baltimore, reaches its full potential,” Lierman said to wild applause.
On Tuesday night, Lierman’s victory was celebrated by House Speaker Adrienne Jones, who was on hand for the crowded victory celebration.
Jones, who was elected in 2019 by her House colleagues as the first woman and first Black legislator to serve as speaker, told the assembled crowd that the road to higher office comes through the House of Delegates, pointing to the success of other Democratic victors on Tuesday night: U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Attorney General-elect Anthony Brown,
Jones endorsed Lierman early in the election season, as did several of her legislative colleagues, and state Democratic leaders.
The comptroller’s seat was open this year after Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot decided to seek the Democratic gubernatorial nomination after 15 years as the state’s tax collector.
Tuesday night’s election results are not final. There are more than 239,000 mail-in ballots in Maryland that were sent to voters but had not been returned by Monday evening; local election boards will continue to canvass those votes on Thursday morning.