First it was the Old Man of the Mountain. Now Bill Gardner. Is New Hampshire officially over?

Secretary of State Gardner announced his retirement last week. It was the right decision, to be sure. Gardner knows no one lasts forever (see that other Old Man) and he is going out on his own terms after an extraordinary career of service to his beloved New Hampshire. He leaves the office in the capable hands of his assistant of 20 years, Dave Scanlan, who will have a little time to demonstrate his own mettle for the top job.

The Legislature elects the Secretary of State every two years. Thanks to Gardner, the office has been properly viewed as nonpartisan ever since he won the job in 1976. He has been reelected no matter what party was in office. While he is a Democrat and Scanlan is a Republican, partisan politics has not figured into the running of that office, nor should it.

The state Democratic Party and its chairman, Ray Buckley, tried their damndest to overturn that long and important tradition in 2018, but a bipartisan coalition, which included former Gov. John Lynch and other prominent Democrats and Republicans, rallied to defend Gardner, who barely won.

Gardner and Scanlan have overseen the office with impeccable integrity, which is vital when it comes to overseeing our elections, especially in these fractious times. For decades, Gardner has been the gold standard in defending the New Hampshire Presidential Primary against attempts by both major parties over the years (sometimes at the same time) to end its first-in-the-nation primary distinction. It is a position that has been as important to the nation as it is a source of pride to the state (not counting some left-wingers, podcasters included). One sure way to endanger it is to turn the secretary of state position into another partisan divide.

Indeed, Gardner’s intestinal fortitude against partisan pressures has often made us wonder if he is made of the same granite as was the Old Man. He has said he wants to stay active in watching out for New Hampshire. Might he consider a perch above Profile Lake in Franconia Notch?

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Mayor Joyce Craig, confronted with what looks like a nice little pay scandal in the Manchester Fire Department, has her “policy director” out with the standard government-issue response.

Friday, January 14, 2022

The local landlord is a go-to bad guy in the pantheon of Bullywood villains. Trotted out to help a young Vito Corleone emerge a don in “The Godfather,” a landlord is pressured not to evict, but instead even to lower the rent, for a tenant who squanders a below-market lease by keeping a dog a…

When did New Hampshire’s Republican Party develop such an inferiority complex? We reference its House majority attempting to stack the voting deck to win future congressional races in the 1st District while ceding the 2nd District to the Democrats. Somewhere the ghost of Jim Cleveland must b…

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

In the matter of Harmony Montgomery, age 7, missing for more than two years, New Hampshire is going to need more than the “it takes a village” platitudes coming from New Hampshire’s outgoing child advocate. New Hampshire needs a full and transparent audit and accounting of any and all intera…

Outside of the Salem area, where he lives and runs his Freshwater Farms business, and Concord, where he is president of the state Senate, Chuck Morse flies under the radar. That will surely change this year as he campaigns for the U.S. Senate. He has our thanks and best wishes. He has done e…

Sunday, January 09, 2022

Some things are supposed to go downhill in New Hampshire. Perhaps it is fitting that even as the state loses the institution that is Secretary of State Bill Gardner, alpine skiing has been turned upside down.

Friday, January 07, 2022

The New Hampshire House did the state a service this week in sustaining a gubernatorial veto of legislation that would overturn the long-held tradition of having state political primaries in the fall. Next year, it should make quick work of spiking a bill that would be worse than the first.

The continued efforts at both state and national levels to “forgive” student loans would stick taxpayers with even more debt while only encouraging the real source of the problem: rampant, incessant, and totally unjustified increases in post-secondary education costs. Colleges and universiti…