New Hampshire

Fate of State Official Raises Questions About NH Primary

AP Photo/Holly Ramer, File

The longtime protector of the New Hampshire presidential primary could get ousted by the Legislature this week despite concerns from his supporters that replacing him could jeopardize the state's coveted first-in-the-nation status.

Lawmakers will decide on Wednesday whether to re-elect Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who has held the position for 42 years and is known for fiercely protecting New Hampshire's top spot on the primary calendar.

Gardner's supporters argue that replacing him with former gubernatorial candidate Colin Van Ostern would politicize the office and could weaken the state's argument for staying first. Van Ostern counters that primary tradition is about more than any one person and that Gardner already has politicized the office by backing GOP legislation to tighten voter registration rules.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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