CONCORD – House Majority Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued the following statement relative to the House Democratic Caucus’ straw vote on the election of Secretary of State, at which time 179 members voted in support of partisan candidate Colin Van Ostern.

Hinch said, “We find it deeply concerning that a majority of House Democrats chose to support a proven partisan political operative over a lifelong public servant. It’s a sad day in New Hampshire when candidates for the office of Secretary of State should need to raise a campaign war chest, when they are the one who will charged with administering our state campaign finance and election laws. Mr. Van Ostern has raised and spent over $200,000 with over 100 donations from people outside of New Hampshire. We hear a lot about getting money out of politics, but this has injected money and politics in to a non-political office.”

Hinch continued, “Republicans in the House will be standing with and voting for a person who has exhibited fairness and decency throughout his career in public service. Bill Gardner has proven to our state that he can do his job without partisan motivations, and without the need to solicit donations from party activists. Bill has earned our support, and I will be advocating that my Republican colleagues in the legislature vote for him on December 5th. I ask that the members of the Democratic Caucus who did support Sec. Gardner talk with colleagues in their party and help restore sanity to the election for this very important position.”