New Hampshire lawmakers choose the secretary of state — and while Gardner is nominally a Democrat, he’d been re-elected to the post for 40 years, largely without serious opposition.
Early in 2017, Gardner had criticized Trump’s claim that voters had been bused into New Hampshire, a swing state, from Massachusetts, a solidly Democratic state.
Also contributing to the Democratic backlash against Gardner was his support for a law — later blocked in court — that would have tightened residency requirements, including forcing college students to become permanent residents of New Hampshire to vote in the state.
Democratic lawmakers who had taken majority control of both chambers of New Hampshire’s legislature in the midterm elections voted in caucus in November by a massive margin — 179 to 23 — to back Van Ostern, the party’s 2016 gubernatorial nominee, over Gardner for secretary of state this year.
“I hope he heard the concerns expressed and views his re-election as an opportunity to both modernize the Secretary of State’s office, bringing more accountability and transparency to our elections, and to fight for all eligible voters’ right to cast a ballot, particularly in the face of efforts to restrict this basic right,” New Hampshire Democratic Chairman Ray Buckley said in a statement after Wednesday’s vote.
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