Gardner seeks 23rd term as New Hampshire secretary of state

  • FILE— In this Nov. 8, 2019 file photograph, then Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden hands the pen to New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, second from left, after filing to have his name listed on the New Hampshire primary ballot, in Concord, N.H. Gardner, the nation's longest serving secretary of state, is seeking a 23rd term in New Hampshire. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

Associated Press
Published: 11/19/2020 4:27:36 PM
Modified: 11/19/2020 4:27:26 PM

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner is seeking a 23rd term in office, now that the dust has settled after an unprecedented election cycle.

Gardner, the nation’s longest-serving secretary of state, was first elected by the Legislature in 1976 and easily returned to office every two years since, except last time. He faced his biggest challenge ever that year, winning by just four votes over former gubernatorial candidate Colin Van Ostern.

The next vote will be Dec. 2, and Gardner confirmed Thursday that he is running. He said he hadn’t made up his mind as recently as three weeks ago, given all the anxiety and uncertainty associated with holding elections during a pandemic. But he said he wants to stay on to maintain the independence and integrity of the office.

Gardner has built a reputation for fiercely defending New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary, but he has faced criticism from fellow Democrats for supporting Republican legislation they viewed as voter suppression.

Former state Rep. William Pearson, a Keene Democrat who had been considering a run, said Thursday he will not seek the position. The House clerk’s office said no one else has come forward yet.

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