- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 28, 2018

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Most of New Hampshire’s living former governors are backing the re-election of Secretary of State Bill Gardner.

Lawmakers will decide on Dec. 5 whether to give Gardner a 22nd two-year term or give the position to fellow Democrat Colin Van Ostern, a former executive councilor and gubernatorial candidate.

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu backs Gardner, as do five former governors: Democrat John Lynch and Republicans Steve Merrill, Craig Benson, John H. Sununu and Judd Gregg. The former governors say Gardner has acted with “absolute independence and incorruptible motive,” and call the effort to replace him a “strategic political operation.”

Democratic former governors Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan aren’t taking sides.

Gardner has faced criticism for supporting legislation to tighten voter registration rules and serving on the Trump administration’s voter fraud commission.

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