The integrity of our elections rests with the Secretary of State. For the first time in NH history, the pervasive influence of money is threatening the integrity of the Secretary of State's election. Special interests with clever names like "NH Forward" and "Free and Fair NH" are polluting the election process.
The Democrat party wants Bill Gardner - a Democrat - out of office. Why? Two reasons. First, because he dared to participate in the President's voter fraud commission, refusing to kowtow to Democrats who opposed it. And second, because he has scrupulously followed our ever-changing election laws and has done so without any partisan bias.
Enter Democrat avenger Colin van Ostern, who has raised over a quarter of a million dollars to buy the office of Secretary of State. Partisan money - out-of-state money, and lots of it - is being used to campaign for the office responsible for the integrity of our elections. Control the office, and you control the process. Putting an unabashed partisan wannabe into the Secretary of State's office will enable Democrats to do just that. It will turn a scrupulously nonpartisan position into a political contest.
Let's talk specifics.
Van Ostern claims the Secretary of State's office needs modernization, yet he refuses to use the online campaign finance system to file receipt and expenditure reports. He files paper copies instead, making it much harder to "follow the money" in his campaign. Rather than embracing modernization and transparency by using the state's electronic reporting system, he deliberately made it harder to learn who's really behind this shameful episode.
Van Ostern raised more money in his campaign for Secretary of State than any General Election candidate for state office except the Governor and one state senate candidate. He's been anything but transparent with his filings. Required reports have been deliberately submitted on paper to keep the contents out of the searchable database. He changed formats on paper filings to make researching his donors almost impossible. In every required filing during his failed 2016 campaign for Governor he listed contributors in alphabetical order by first name, making it much harder to "follow the money." His filing history is anything but transparent.
Van Ostern's entire campaign is about retribution against Gardner and loyalty to a party that wants to control the office overseeing our elections.
Gardner is a Democrat, and I'm a Republican. But I've supported him for Secretary of State, since I was a freshman State Representative in 2001, without reservation because his loyalty is not to any party or special interest, but to the integrity of elections and the people of New Hampshire. Thousands of legislators have supported him for decades - without the influence of Van Ostern's money and party politics - precisely because he has served our state with distinction and earned the unconditional trust and respect of every legislator we've sent to Concord.
Let's not pollute the office of our Secretary of State with out-of-state special interest money or partisan retribution. We deserve better. Tell your legislators you expect them to vote for unimpeachable integrity and scrupulous honesty. Tell them to keep partisanship and special interest money out of it. Tell them you want Bill Gardner as your Secretary of State.