This December, Colin Van Ostern is looking to unseat incumbent Bill Gardner for the office of N.H. Secretary of State. Bill Gardner has been our Secretary of State for Colin Van Ostern’s entire life – 42 years – making Bill the longest serving Secretary of State in the nation. Bill is well known nationally as a “guardian” of NH’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary. He has overseen over 500 recounts, including more than 20 that came down to a single vote.
According to the New Hampshire state constitution, there are no term limits for this office and anyone can run. It is chosen every two years by a joint ballot of New Hampshire State Senators and members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives.
In a controversial 2017 decision, Bill Gardner joined the President’s now defunct Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. In his January 4th statement, Gardner indicated that he had joined this panel to “maintain the most accessible and trustworthy elections” for the state of New Hampshire and was “disappointed the Commission will no longer be able to explore why voters participate and why, sadly, many choose not to.” On his website, Van Ostern states that his platform consists of standing up for voting rights and modernizing and securing state elections. Both gentlemen support protecting New Hampshire’s first presidential primary.
Colin Van Ostern is a former member of the Executive Council and ran for Governor during the last election.
While Colin has started a political committee, Bill does not attend political events, endorse candidates or accept donations. Different styles for sure.