State panel: GOP's Havenstein can run for governor - The Caledonian-Record - St. Johnsbury, VT
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home : news : regional August 27, 2015

6/30/2014
State panel: GOP's Havenstein can run for governor
AP PHOTOIn this April 16, 2014 file photo, Republican Walt Havenstein talks with supporters in Concord, N.H., after announcing that he is seeking his party’s nomination to run against Maggie Hassan for governor of New Hampshire in November. The state Ballot Law Commission will hear evidence Monday, June 30, 2014, whether Havenstein meets the residency requirement that gubernatorial candidates must live in the state for at least seven years.
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AP PHOTO

In this April 16, 2014 file photo, Republican Walt Havenstein talks with supporters in Concord, N.H., after announcing that he is seeking his party’s nomination to run against Maggie Hassan for governor of New Hampshire in November. The state Ballot Law Commission will hear evidence Monday, June 30, 2014, whether Havenstein meets the residency requirement that gubernatorial candidates must live in the state for at least seven years.


Eds: Updates with background on challenges to residency, details from hearing, reaction from Havenstein and Democratic party chair Buckley. With AP Photos.

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- Walt Havenstein is a legal resident of New Hampshire and eligible to run for governor, despite working and receiving a residential tax break in Maryland, the state's Ballot Law Commission ruled Monday.

After a two-hour hearing Monday, the five-member panel voted 3-2 to uphold the paperwork the Republican filed to run for governor. One Democrat joined two Republicans in favor of Havenstein's application. Two Democrats were opposed.

The day he filed the paperwork to run for office, Havenstein filed a pre-emptive petition asking the ballot panel to determine his eligibility. He provided tax returns for 2007-2013, all carrying the Alton address where he and his wife, Judy, have lived since 2003. They lived in Bedford for four years before that.

Candidates for governor in New Hampshire must live in the state for at least seven years.

Questioned by his lawyer, Havenstein repeatedly said that while he was an executive with two aerospace and defense firms, he worked in Maryland and lived in a condominium there but always intended to return to Alton, where Judy Havenstein stayed. He said he spent about 200 days of the year in Maryland and that he commuted to New Hampshire whenever possible.

Havenstein also said he always voted in New Hampshire, casting ballots on the two- and four-year election cycles, proving the state was his domicile.




"Domicile is the place you go to after you've been away," said his lawyer, David Vicinanzo.

Democrats had argued that he was a resident of Maryland from 2007 through 2012 and pointed to a tax break Havenstein got on his Maryland condominium as evidence he wasn't a New Hampshire resident during those years. The tax break was given if a homeowner intends to spend at least seven months of the year there.

Gregory Ahlgren, the lawyer representing the New Hampshire Democratic Party, said Havenstein's stated intent to return to New Hampshire was contradicted by a move he made in 2009 from BAE Systems to SAIC, another defense firm.

"Then after some period of time, he wanders back to New Hampshire," Ahlgren said. "As honest as his intention was, that's all well and good but he wasn't here."

Havenstein said he was "delighted" by the ruling and ready to continue campaigning. He faces a September primary against Andrew Hemingway for the nomination to run against incumbent Democrat Maggie Hassan in November.

"It really hasn't slowed us down," he said. "We've been out talking about the campaign."

Democrats stayed on the attack.

"During Walt Havenstein's hearing before the Ballot Law Commission today, he confirmed that he thinks he's above the rules, admitting that he took tax breaks available only for Maryland residents and didn't live in New Hampshire most of the year," party chairman Raymond Buckley said in a statement. "The taxpayers of Maryland will obviously want their money back and the people of New Hampshire are going to have a hard time understanding why someone who claims he wants to lead the Granite State was spending the majority of his year in another state."







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