House rejects bill spurred by secretary of state race

February 17, 2019

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The New Hampshire House has rejected an attempt to limit fundraising by secretary of state candidates after last year’s contentious contest.

New Hampshire is among three states in which the secretary of state is elected by the Legislature. In December, Bill Gardner was nearly ousted after 42 years in office by Colin Van Ostern, who raised $200,000 through a political action committee.

That prompted proposed legislation barring secretary of state candidates from forming political action committees, something Maine already has done. But opponents argued doing so would have a chilling effect on free speech, and the House killed the bill Thursday on a vote of 236-129.