We’re not sure when was the last time that five former New Hampshire governors agreed so completely on any subject more serious than a commemorative postage stamp. But on our facing opinion page today, they agree on something very serious indeed.

Political party is not the driving force behind Democrat John Lynch signing on with Republicans John Sununu, Steve Merrill, Craig Benson, and Judd Gregg. Partisan politics is what these five men recognize as a threat to an office that has been free of it in modern times.

Their support for Secretary of State William Gardner is genuine and sincere. But it goes beyond the man. It goes to the heart of an office that has rarely had its integrity questioned and has never been shown to play partisan politics on any issue.

That is vital for the office that deals with elections, from state representative races right up to the presidential primary. Any appearance of political favoritism would be used as an excuse by one or both national parties to do what some have long wanted — end little New Hampshire’s role.

We side with the governors and others who are calling on the New Hampshire House and Senate to reelect Secretary of State Gardner next week. Information on how to contact your own legislators is at the bottom of the governors’ commentary.