For four decades, New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner (D) has earned bipartisan reverence for keeping his state’s primaries first in the nation. So why is he spending that hard-earned capital giving bipartisan cover to President Trump’s controversial voter fraud panel? … “I personally wish that he had declined to be involved,” Fergus Cullen, the former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party and a frequent Trump critic, told TPM. “It gives this farce a sense of legitimacy.” … Gardner has said he joined the Trump commission to prove whether or not there’s widespread voter fraud — something he’s much more skeptical of than others on the commission. But many argue that his mere presence fuels the insanity he’s trying to knock down, giving Trump and Kobach bipartisan cover.
“Bill says because people believe this we need to look at it to dispel this myth. No, it will do nothing to dispel the myth. The fact that you’re giving it enough credibility to say you’re looking into it confirms to those people that there were shenanigans,” said Cullen, lamenting that many of his fellow Republicans — from Trump to Gov. Chris Sununu (R) — have claimed with no evidence that busloads of Massachusetts Democrats come up every election to illegally vote in New Hampshire’s primaries. Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) even blamed that for his 2014 Senate loss in New Hampshire.
League of Women Voters of New Hampshire president Liz Tentarelli called Gardner after he was named to the commission to raise her concerns — one of many calls she says he personally fielded over that weekend to explain his reasoning to constituents upset with his decision.
“I think he was placed on the commission because he is at least nominally a Democrat and they wanted to be able to say that it’s a bipartisan commission,” Tenteralli told TPM. “I’m not sure they’re going to listen to Mr. Gardner.”