Peter Franchot served in the United States Army from 1968 to 1970. Franchot has experience as an attorney and a self-employed business development consultant. From 1980 to 1986, Franchot served as staff director to Congressman Edward J. Markey. Prior to his election to statewide office, Comptroller Franchot served 20 years (1987-2007) in the General Assembly, representing the people of Montgomery County, Maryland in the Maryland House of Delegates. In 1988, while serving his first term in the Maryland General Assembly, Franchot ran for Maryland's 8th congressional district against incumbent Connie Morella (R-MD). Morella defeated Franchot, 63% to 37%, in the general election.
During his time in the Maryland House of Delegates, Franchot was a member of the Appropriations Committee and served on multiple subcommittees.
Law enforcement & transportation subcommittee
Education and transportation subcommittee
Oversight committee on program open space and agricultural land preservation
Capital budget subcommittee
Chair, Public safety & administration subcommittee
Oversight committee on pensions
Oversight committee on personnel
During Franchot’s service, prior to his appointment as the Comptroller of Maryland he served on several other committees as well.
Special joint committee on MED-EVAC Program
House Chair, Joint Committee on Federal Relations
Chair, Special Committee on County Finances, Montgomery County Delegation
Transportation Committee, Montgomery County Delegation
Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus
Maryland Veterans Caucus
National Conference of State Legislatures (transportation committee)
A candidate for Comptroller of Maryland, Franchot defeated incumbent William Donald Schaefer and fellow challenger Janet S. Owens in a close Democratic primary election on September 12, 2006. He defeated the Republican nominee Anne McCarthy in the General Election on November 7, 2006. Franchot was sworn on January 22, 2007.
In 2011 Franchot protested the decision by Bowie State University to purchase 32 Steinway pianos at a total cost of $552,000, calling the decision "out of touch" with the state of the economy at the time.
Franchot campaigned against bringing slot machine gambling to Maryland. As a member of the House of Delegates, he led a successful coalition of lawmakers to oppose the Constitutional amendment to legalize slots. The coalition succeeded in placing before the voters a Constitutional amendment to legalize slots. In 2008, Franchot, along with hundreds of grassroots leaders from around the state, launched Marylanders United to Stop Slots to encourage a 'no' vote on the referendum. Franchot argued that the high social costs of increased crime, broken families and bankruptcies would outweigh any revenue gains.
Franchot endorsed Barack Obama for President in early January 2008  and actively campaigned for him across the state.
“Any education funding that goes into the Education Trust Fund is subject to being raided by the legislature," Franchot said. "That is what's happened historically; that inevitably is what will happen again."
The gambling referendum passed by a narrow margin, 52 percent to 48 percent.