Lierman to end job as Democrat's party chief

He leaves state post to lead Hoyer team

May 12, 2007|By Jennifer Skalka | Jennifer Skalka,Sun reporter

Maryland Democratic Party Chairman Terry Lierman said last night he is resigning to become chief of staff to House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer.

He is leaving after 2 1/2 years and at a high point, having shepherded the Democrats to victory in last year's contentious U.S. Senate and gubernatorial contests.

"We took back our state is what we did," said Lierman, 59. "And now I want to have a role in helping take back our nation."

On Lierman's watch, Martin O'Malley defeated Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., and then-U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin pushed back a challenge from former Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele in the U.S. Senate contest. Both Republicans had large campaign treasuries and support from their national party.

Maryland Democrats nearly swept state races lower on the ticket as well in 2006. Nominees for attorney general and comptroller scored victories, and the House of Delegates and state Senate remain firmly in the party's control.

"Terry was instrumental in raising funds for the coordinated campaign and bringing together the diverse ethnic and religious groups that make up our Democratic Party. He will be very difficult to replace," O'Malley said last night.

On the campaign trail, Lierman would tell voters that he put 67,000 miles on his car during his chairmanship. The message was clear: He was working hard for a Democratic victory, and so should they.

A native of Beloit, Wis., Lierman has been friends with Hoyer for 26 years.

"It's a match made in heaven," said Bill Cable, Hoyer's current chief of staff, who is retiring.

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