It became even clearer over the weekend that the effort to oust Secretary of State William Gardner has nothing to do with his job performance and everything to do with an ambitious young politician on the make.
Consider the claim that Gardner is never to be “forgiven’’ for agreeing to participate in a presidential election commission. Since the President is Donald J. Trump, who has made wild accusations about voting (and other things), Gardner was quickly cast as an untouchable.
Gardner defended himself, in his own low-key manner, by saying he wanted to make sure that New Hampshire would have a voice to defend its election procedures.
Some partisans won’t listen to anything Gardner has to say. But others who will be voting for a Secretary of State on Wednesday may want to consider what another Democratic Secretary of State says about Gardner and the Trump commission.
That would be Maine’s Matthew Dunlap, who also served on the commission. He credits Gardner with helping its collapse.
“We had to agree to be on the commission,’’ Dunlap said, “otherwise it would have seemed as if we had something to hide. So by being there together we were able to confront those attacking our states and stop the commission in its tracks.
“Without our participation the commission would never have been held accountable to the people of the United States, and that accountability ultimately led to the commission’s dissolution.”
Undecided legislators should also consider the huge money that is behind Colin Van Ostern’s effort to turn the Secretary of State position into his personal stepping stone.
Reporting by the Union Leader’s Kevin Landrigan last week showed that the money trail backing Van Ostern is as tangled as it gets.
As former Democratic Rep. Peter Sullivan of Manchester noted in Landrigan’s story, “When you are running for secretary of state you have to avoid not just impropriety but the appearance of impropriety.”
Bill Gardner has always done what is right in that office and remains qualified to serve. His opponent is not.