Five Former N.H. Governors Write Letter To Boost Gardner

Nov 28, 2018

Credit josh rogers / nhpr

Five former New Hampshire governors  -- Republicans John Sununu, Judd Gregg, Steve Merrill Craig Benson, and Democrat John Lynch -- want lawmakers to give Secretary of State Bill Gardner another term. The ex-governors say putting Colin Van Ostern in the job would place the independence of the office and the state’s presidential primary at risk.

Former Governor John Lynch already spoke of Gardner’s behalf before the House Democratic Caucus voted 179 to 23  to back Van Ostern over Gardner.

This open letter, cosigned by 4 Republican predecessors, ups the ante.

The governors describe Gardner, who’s nominally a Democrat, as a figure of “absolute independence and incorruptible motive.” They suggest Van Ostern, a former Executive Councilor and gubernatorial candidate who’s worked for politicians including John Edwards and Jeanne Shaheen, carries what they call “partisan desires." They say his candidacy, which has raised more than $200,000, isn’t about new ideas, and amounts to “politics pure and simple.”

The op-ed is the latest effort by political elders to help Gardner keep the job the he’s held since 1976. Lawmakers will decide if Gardner or Van Ostern gets to hold the job for the next two years on December 5th.