NH Secretary of State Bill Gardner is stepping down after decades in office

Gardner said he will transfer power to Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan.

FILE: New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner instructs Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., as she files to have her name listed on the New Hampshire primary ballot, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

CONCORD, N,.H. — The nation’s longest-serving secretary of state who built a reputation for fiercely defending New Hampshire’s position at the front of the presidential primary calendar says he will be stepping down.

The 73-year-old Bill Gardner was first elected by the Legislature in 1976.

He was reelected to his 23rd two-year term in 2020 with no challengers.

Gardner said he will transfer power to Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan.

In recent years, Gardner came under fire from Democrats for his participation in former President Donald Trump’s commission on voter fraud and for backing GOP legislation to tighten voter registration rules.

in a statement, Governor Chris Sununu said, ”Granite Staters owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Secretary of State Bill Gardner. For decades, Bill Gardner has fiercely protected New Hampshire’s First in the Nation presidential primary and overseen our elections that are truly a point of pride for our state - always open, fair, accessible, and accurate. We will miss Bill and his vast institutional knowledge of New Hampshire people, politics, and government. Here’s to a well-deserved retirement and best wishes from all the Sununus.”

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