CONCORD -- Former BAE Systems CEO Walt Havenstein of Alton has decided to run for governor and filed the necessary documents Wednesday with the Secretary of State's office.
Havenstein has been heading toward a run since UnionLeader.com first reported in February that he was interested and that state establishment Republicans were excited about him running. He faces a GOP primary from conservative activist and IT entrepreneur Andrew Hemingway of Bristol, who has already formally announced his candidacy.
In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Havenstein said, "Today, I will be filing papers with the Secretary of State to form a campaign committee in order to run for governor. Our state is at a critical juncture, and I believe my experience, ideas, and leadership are what is needed to address the many challenges facing New Hampshire.
"I am very grateful for the encouragement and support that I have received over the last several weeks as I considered this opportunity, and I look forward to continuing the effort to organize and raise the resources needed, and assemble my campaign team."
Havenstein said, "It is my intention to officially announce my candidacy in two weeks, at which time I will deliver formal remarks about my campaign and the election."
Havenstein could face a challenge to his eligibility to run for the office.
The state Democratic Party says Havenstein is "clearly ineligible" to run for the top New Hampshire office because he signed a tax break document for a condominium in Maryland declaring that Maryland was his "principal residence."
Party officials are expected to review the issue with attorneys now that Havenstein is a candidate.
A political adviser to Havenstein, however, said last week that under Maryland law, Havenstein can be a "statutory resident" of that state for tax purposes but is domiciled, for voting purposes, in the Granite State.
State Democratic Party chairman Raymond Buckley said in a statement, "It's sad that the NHGOP and their Washington cronies can't find someone from New Hampshire to run for governor, and now are resorting to an out-of-touch, multimillionaire from Maryland who has proven that he thinks he's above the rules that apply to the rest of us. Walt Havenstein already got caught claiming primary residency on his million dollar Maryland condo to avoid paying property taxes – and now he's trying to claim he's a resident of New Hampshire.
"It's clear that Walt Havenstein doesn't respect the laws of either New Hampshire or Maryland, and Granite State voters can't trust that he would respect them either," Buckley said.
State GOP Chair Jennifer Horn said, "Republicans are looking forward to a positive and productive gubernatorial primary that will strengthen our eventual nominee.
"Governor Maggie Hassan has been a failed leader who was incapable of managing the state budget process and has pledged to sign a disastrous gas tax increase that will hurt small businesses and working class families. Granite Staters are fed up with her abysmal leadership and are eager to replace her with a fiscally responsible Republican in November."
Meanwhile, Hemingway's campaign called Havenstein's announcement "irrelevant. He won't make it on the ballot. NH law is very clear."