- Associated Press - Monday, June 23, 2014

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - The state’s Ballot Law Commission said Monday it won’t delay a hearing scheduled for next week to determine the residency of Republican candidate for governor Walt Havenstein.

The New Hampshire Democratic Party has filed a petition challenging Havenstein’s assertion that he’s a legal resident of New Hampshire. The party says he was a resident of Maryland in 2010 and 2011, which would disqualify him from running for office here. Candidates for governor must live in New Hampshire for at least seven years.

Democrats point to a tax break Havenstein got on his Maryland condominium as evidence that he was not a New Hampshire resident during those years. Additionally, the party says Havenstein claimed residency in Maryland to get a driver’s license and mortgage.

“The fact remains that Havenstein is either ineligible to run in New Hampshire or was misleading Maryland on his taxes,” said party Chairman Raymond Buckley. “Right now, Havenstein appears to be arguing that he was misleading on his taxes, but either way it’s clear he’s wrong for New Hampshire.”

Democrats sought several records including complete state and federal tax returns, applications for licenses such as hunting and fishing, applications for membership in organizations such as country clubs and records that show BAE helped him relocate to Maryland.

The Democratic Party had asked for all the records at least 21 days before any hearing is held but BLC Chairman Brad Cook said Monday the hearing will still happen at 9:30 a.m. June 30. He said he encouraged both sides to share as much information as possible before then.

In a pre-emptive petition filed two weeks ago, Havenstein said he and his wife, Judy, have lived in New Hampshire since they bought a house in Alton in 1999 and that he has always voted in the state. In 2007, when he became chairman and CEO at BAE, he purchased a condominium in Bethesda, Maryland, and said he was lawfully entitled to the tax break there because he intended to live there at least seven of the next 12 months.

Havenstein provided copies of his 2006 to 2013 federal tax returns, with income and taxes paid blacked out, bearing the Alton address.

In the filing, the party said Havenstein did not disclose interest and dividend returns for 2010-11, the years he was living in Maryland. A spokesman for Havenstein, Henry Goodwin, said the candidate did not meet the financial threshold to require those forms in those two years.

“For months the Democrats have made sensationalized allegations about Walt’s longtime New Hampshire domicile,” Goodwin said in an email. “Now, they claim they need delay and so-called discovery in order to fish for the proof they acknowledge they don’t have. This is political gamesmanship.”

Julie McClain, spokeswoman for the Democratic Party, said it is reviewing its options.

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