Guardian of New Hampshire primary faces first challenge in decades




  • In US
  • 2018-12-05 11:11:33Z
  • By Reuters
FILE PHOTO: New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner answers a question in his office at the State House in Concord
FILE PHOTO: New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner answers a question in his office at the State House in Concord  

(Reuters) - Bill Gardner, the New Hampshire official who has zealously guarded his state's position kicking off U.S. presidential races for four decades, could end his long run in office on Wednesday if lawmakers pick a new secretary of state.

Gardner, 70, has held that role since 1976, when Democrat Jimmy Carter and Republican Gerry Ford won the state's nominating primary. Now he faces his first challenger in decades in Colin Van Ostern, a failed gubernatorial candidate.

Both candidates are Democrats, but Van Ostern is looking to capitalize on anger among Democrats in the state over Gardner's role in a now-defunct commission Republican President Donald Trump named to investigate allegations of voter fraud in the 2016 elections.

The same wave of anti-Trump sentiment helped Democrats regain majorities in both chambers of the legislature in the Nov. 6 elections.

Van Ostern, who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic gubernatorial nomination this year, has campaigned aggressively for the job, while Gardner has taken a more stand-back approach.

Gardner has long been tasked with protecting the state's key role in presidential politics. New Hampshire's nominating primary, where each party selects its candidate, is by tradition the second major contest in U.S. campaign seasons after Iowa's caucus, followed by a state-by-state series of contests.

The New Hampshire primary is preceded by months of visits by prospective candidates and hordes of media, an economic and public relations bonanza for the small and largely rural state. It also preserves an increasingly rare style of retail politics where candidates for the White House answer voters' questions in town halls and shake hands in diners, rather than communicating mainly through TV and online ads.

New Hampshire law mandates that its primary occur at least a week before any similar contests in other states, a position that Gardner guarded carefully through the 2008 and 2012 campaign cycles when the state's primary was squeezed into early January.

That timing did not suit the national Democratic and Republican parties, which concluded that it pushed too much campaign activity into the holiday period when many Americans were not paying attention to politics. The primary slipped back into February in 2016.

Before that contest, Gardner remained cagey about what he would do, saying in an interview, "I have never set the date and then changed it. I wait until I feel it's safe to do it and then I do it."

(Reporting by Ted Siefer in Boston, writing by Scott Malone; Editing by David Gregorio)

COMMENTS

More Related News

California judge orders porn star to pay Trump legal fees
California judge orders porn star to pay Trump legal fees

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Porn star Stormy Daniels must pay President Donald Trump nearly $293,000 for his attorneys' fees and another $1,000 in sanctions after her defamation suit against him was dismissed, a federal judge in Los Angeles ordered Tuesday.

Flynn to make arguments against prison time in Russia probe
Flynn to make arguments against prison time in Russia probe

WASHINGTON (AP) - Lawyers for Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, are poised to ask a judge to spare him prison time in a sentencing memorandum due by the end of Tuesday.

Republicans beginning to worry about Trump re-election
Republicans beginning to worry about Trump re-election

President Donald Trump's intensifying legal troubles are unnerving some of his fellow Republicans. Trump, ever confident of his ability to bend story lines to his will, mocks the investigations into his conduct as candidate and president as a "witch hunt" and insists he will survive the

Pence aide out of running to be Trump
Pence aide out of running to be Trump's next chief of staff

President Donald Trump evaluated new candidates to serve as his next chief of staff Sunday after plans for an orderly succession for departing John Kelly fell through. No obvious successor was in sight and there was some fretting that Trump may not be able to fill the job by the time Kelly was set to

Top House Dems raise prospect of impeachment, jail for Trump
Top House Dems raise prospect of impeachment, jail for Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) - Top House Democrats on Sunday raised the prospect of impeachment or almost-certain prison time for President Donald Trump if it's proved that he directed illegal hush-money payments to women, adding to the legal pressure on the president over the Russia investigation and other scandals

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.