Bill Gardner, Election Federalist, Retires

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What a run: New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who first took office in 1976, said last week he will soon step down amid his 23rd two-year term. “The two previous secretaries of state died in office,” Mr. Gardner told the press with a laugh on Monday. He’s now 73.

Mr. Gardner is notable for two things in addition to his longevity. First, he has been a defender of New Hampshire’s pivotal role in picking presidents, with its first-in-the-nation primary. As the 2012 campaign geared up, for example, Mr. Gardner threatened to hold his state’s vote in December of 2011, if that’s what it took to keep New Hampshire in front.

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