CONCORD — Secretary of State Bill Gardner said Thursday he will seek a record 23rd term as the state’s top election officer.

Gardner already is the longest-serving head of state elections in the country.

The Manchester Democrat said, as in past elections, he won’t accept campaign contributions, form a political action committee or take part in any partisan events.

“I will seek another term to maintain the integrity and independence of this office,” Gardner said.

“This is extremely important in protecting the longstanding tradition of the office as well.”

Gardner previously said he would not make his decision about running until recounts from the Nov. 3 elections were done. The recounts concluded last Wednesday afternoon.

He made the announcement after discussing the matter with past supporters, including Gov. Chris Sununu, former Gov. John Lynch, Senate President Donna Soucy and Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, both D-Manchester, and House Republican Leader Dick Hinch of Merrimack.

Several Democratic political activists have discussed with supporters a potential campaign for secretary of state, but none has publicly confirmed a bid for the job.

Two years ago, Gardner narrowly won his current term over Colin Van Ostern of Concord, a former executive councilor and 2016 Democratic nominee for governor.

The newly elected members of the New Hampshire Legislature will choose the next secretary of state and state treasurer when they meet to organize Dec. 2.

Friday, January 22, 2021