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Gardner fires back, won't quit Trump voter panel

New Hampshire Union Leader

September 08. 2017 10:18PM
Secretary of State Bill Gardner (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER FILE PHOTO)

CONCORD — Secretary of State Bill Gardner fired back in an escalating war of words with the state’s entire congressional delegation over claims voter fraud played any role in the narrow New Hampshire Primary victories last November.

All four Democrats representing New Hampshire in Washington said Gardner risks “tarnishing his legacy” if he fails to quit President Donald Trump’s voter integrity commission because its vice chairman opined that fraud was pivotal in Democrat Maggie Hassan becoming senator and Hillary Clinton winning the state’s four electoral votes.

In their comments, Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan and Congresswomen Carol Shea Porter and Annie Kuster focus on former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the vice chairman of the commission. In a Breitbart News commentary, Kobach questioned whether 5,000-plus New Hampshire residents properly voted.

He also noted that could have changed the outcome in last year’s high profile U.S. Senate race between Hassan and Republican Kelly Ayotte.

The four Democrats said the allegations are false and damage the faith and credibility of Granite State elections.

“Secretary Gardner’s association with this partisan commission risks tarnishing his long legacy of fighting for the New Hampshire Primary and promoting voter participation, and it would be in keeping with his distinguished record to immediately relinquish any role with this commission,” reads a joint statement signed by Shaheen and Hassan.

“I urge New Hampshire Secretary of State Gardner to condemn this most recent claim and end his participation in President Trump’s voter commission,” said Kuster in a statement.

Gardner said it was “hypocritical” to make such a demand and he has no intention of quitting the panel.

“I don’t think they have ever stepped down from a Senate committee because they disagreed with the leadership on an issue,” Gardner said of this latest request.

The commission is expected to meet Tuesday morning at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College.

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