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Granite Status -- Gardner: 'No settlement' with ACLU-NH over data suit


August 31. 2017 12:14AM


Secretary of State Bill Gardner’s office surely suffered a hiccup this week before sending voter data to the Presidential Election Integrity Commission after some nonpublic information had wrongly been left on public checklists.

But Gardner also pushed back on reports that the American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against the state about sending this information to the Trump administration was “settled” or the result of any deal between the parties, as some other media outlets reported.

As proof, Gardner points to an Aug. 18 filing by the ACLU — not previously reported until now — in which the group notifies Hillsborough County Superior Court South of its “notice of voluntary nonsuit without prejudice.”

“I am not doing anything different than I was going to do from the very beginning,” Gardner said, producing the only email contact his office had with ACLU-NH officials before they filed the lawsuit.

“There was no settlement, no deal, nothing other than the other side reading our brief and then canceling the suit from going forward.”

It should come as no surprise that’s not how Paul Twomey, co-counsel with the ACLU-NH, views the dispute.

Twomey produced versions of seven media stories in which he said Gardner indicated he was going to release a “data file” or left open the chance he could turn over private checklist information.

“We were told they were considering it until the day before the hearing,” Twomey said.

“He can call it whatever he wants, a settlement, a seal, a banana, it doesn’t matter. He didn’t tell us what he intended to do until just before we went into court.”

Twomey noted the ACLU and parties went back into court and have “reignited” the lawsuit against the state to ensure Gardner’s office properly takes out confidential info before sending any of it to the integrity panel.

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A New Hampshire State House fixture resettled to San Antonio and Corpus Christi, Texas, a few years back is letting his friends back in the Granite State know that he’s come through Hurricane Harvey just fine.

Larry Elliott spent 10 years in the House as a Republican representing the towns of Hillsborough and Antrim.

He also served as a selectman in Hillsborough and at one point was chairman of the Adult Parole Board in the state, before heading to Texas to get his certification for vocational rehabilitation in 2012.

“All is well in Corpus Christi. A few trees down and we lost a lot of fences. Thank God I’m a country boy. I did get my morning coffee, made it on the BBQ,” Elliott said.

His Corpus Christi home went four days without electricity, but Elliott reported little damage to the structure.

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A former newspaper reporter became the first candidate to file for a vacant state representative’s seat in Dover this week.

Casey Conley, 33, is an associate editor for Navigator Publishing in Portland and contributes to both Foster’s Daily Democrat and the Portsmouth Herald.

Conley, a father of two, is running in the Dover Ward 1 seat that became vacant with the June 30 resignation of Democrat Issac Epstein.

The primary will be Oct. 24 and the general election Dec. 12.

If there is no primary, the election will be Oct. 24.

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Hillary Clinton will return to New Hampshire to sign copies of her new book, “What Happened” on Dec. 5 at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord.

Tickets to the event will cost $30 and go on sale Sept. 5.

This will be Clinton’s first visit to the state since she narrowly beat Trump here and in the popular vote but got buried in an Electoral College rout last Election Day.

Other stops she’ll make on this tour include Ann Arbor, Mich., and Milwaukee, Wis., the heart of two key state she neglected and where Trump won stunning upsets.

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Two-time Second Congressional District Republican candidate Jim Lawrence of Hudson is back in the local media spotlight at least.

He’s got a weekly talk radio show gig on WSMN-AM 1590 in Nashua.

This week, Lawrence spoke with an activist from Kemah, a section of southeastern Houston, Texas, about the Harvey aftermath.

Lawrence hasn’t ruled out a future return to electoral politics after a better-than-expected showing vs. Annie Kuster in 2016.

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Congresswoman Annie Kuster takes advantage of students returning to college campuses Thursday with a forum protesting proposed Trump budget cuts to higher education.

The presidents of Keene State College and Franklin Pierce University are joined by students and financial aid executives for the 11 a.m. event.

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OK, Joseph Stallcop will be known not only as the first Democratic state legislator flip to the Libertarian Party since the 2016 election.

This week, Stallcop announced a fundraiser for the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

If his lofty goal of $50,000 is met, Stallcop posted online that he’ll strip down for a full body waxing.

And maybe this is too much information but Stallcop promises that he would receive the waxing on video to prove to donors that he did it.

Also, in case you were concerned, your donation goes straight to the Red Cross via fundraising site Crowdrise.

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One of the state’s most powerful women long before that was cool passed away last week.

Geraldine Sylvester, 86, was a trendsetter in many ways, as the first woman mayor of Dover in 1974 to 1976 and elected to seven consecutive terms on the Seacoast city council when it had always been a boys’ club.

Then there was when then-Gov. John H. Sununu named her to direct the Office of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention at the same time that the nation’s first lady was launching her “Just Say No” to drugs campaign in 1983.

“Not only was Geraldine a great public servant, but she was also a great friend,” Sununu said.

“She did a wonderful job as my little drug czar. She certainly grabbed hold of the issue, and if you are going to do that job effectively, you had to have compassion.”

The next two Republican governors reappointed her, but perhaps her greatest achievement was as a foster mom, she and her late husband Bob taking in more than 200 children, many of them delinquent, from 1969 to 1981.

Kevin Landrigan contributed to this week’s Granite Status. Email news and tips to granitestatus@unionleader.com.


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