If you didn't know that you have to have been a New Hampshire resident for the past seven years to qualify to run for State Senate, you're not alone.
Berlin Republican Mark P. Evans, a State Senate candidate for District 1, has been removed from the ballot for failing to meet the residency requirement.
We have learned that shortly after the June filing period, the Secretary of State's office received an anonymous tip that Evans does not have the necessary residency requirement.
Rather than fight the charges, as Fergie Cullen foolishly did a decade ago, Evans simply allowed his name to be removed from the ballot. Of course, he had committed fraud when he filed his candidacy paperwork asserting that he met all the qualifications, but at least it was unintentional fraud.
That was clearly not the case with Cullen who, with a straight face, took his case all the way to the Ballot Law Commission and lost a decade ago. Clearly, Cullen had not lived in the state seven years in a row when he decided to run for Senate, and the Commission agreed with Democrats who challenged his candidacy.
It's one of the little known attempts to deceive the public in the state's electoral history. Rather than be shunted aside in disgrace, Cullen actually went on to serve as Republican party chair, probably the worst one in the history of the state, and now writes an op-ed regularly for the Union Leader.
I guess we can expect disgraced D. J. Bettencourt to sign aboard with the Union Leader which doesn't seem to care about fraud when it chooses its writers. If it's good enough for Fergie, why not Deej? Why not Mark P. Evans.
Even with the Evans' departure, Republian voters have a decision to make come primary day. Running for the seat being vacated by the great John Gallus are Debi Warner, from Littleton, wife of a former State Representative, and Frank Dumaine, from Colebrook. The winner will meet former Democratic State Chair Jeff Woodburn, from Dalton, in Novemvber. Woodburn was about as effective as party chair for the Democrats in 1998 as Cullen was for Republicans prior to John Sununu's inheritng the mess a few years.
That is to say both were terrible. Current Democratic Chair Raymond Charles Buckley was living with me during Woodburn's chairmanship, and it was a rare day indeed when Raybo did not come home swearing a blue streak about Woodburn's incompentence.
Hey, maybe Woodburn will be a better senator than he was a party chair, but I suspect he'll never get the chance. I'd rate Warner the slight favorite in this Great North Counry race .
With the Gallus departure, the District 1 race shapes up as ene of the most interesting in the state, right along with one at the other numerical end, District 24 in which Republican Senator Nancy Stiles faces former Senate President Bev Hollingworth.