Despite the long odds of being a write-in candidate, Hanan Wiseman likes his chances to become Bedford’s next Town Moderator over Brian Shaughnessy.
“Believe it or not, for being a write-in candidate against a very well-connected individual, I feel really good about my chances,” Wiseman said Monday.
Shaughnessy was the assistant town moderate and played a key role in Bedford’s 2020 ballot snafu, coverup, and subsequent New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office investigation. He did not respond to a request for comment.
As the only candidate on the ballot in his race, Shaugnessy would be expected to ignore a write-in candidacy. Instead, he’s taken to Facebook to explain his actions regarding the 2020 ballot problems, and he sent a threatening letter to Wiseman suggesting he might sue his opponent for defamation.
“He’s just making things worse,” one Bedford Republican told NHJournal.
Win or lose on Tuesday, Shaughnessy will be the subject of an Executive Council meeting on Wednesday as they consider his nomination to become a Circuit Court judge. Sununu’s decision to pick the Bedford Democrat surprised some Republicans and alarmed others.
New Hampshire’s Republican National Committee member, Chris Ager, sent a letter to the four Republican Executive Council members urging them to vote against Shaughnessy.
“My concern is with a perception of a lack of transparency in our elections. I believe our system has credibility issues with many voters. This nominee will only deepen the distrust of our (in my opinion well run) elections,” Ager wrote.
Councilor Dave Wheeler has already announced his opposition and urged Sununu to pull the nomination.
Meanwhile, Wiseman says he’s been working hard for votes the past few weeks.
“We’ve reached over 5,000 people individually in this community and, as of today, I have only received negative feedback from two people,” Wiseman said. “Everyone else has been positive. I guess it will all come down to who shows up at the polls and whether or not they take the time to write me in.”
Bedford typically sees about 1,700 voters come out to the polls during the annual Town Meeting ballot vote. Bedford GOP Chair Bart Fromer said no matter how hard Wiseman might be campaigning, Shaughnessy still has the edge given he’s the only name on the ballot. Even with the 2020 ballot controversies, many voters may not be paying attention to the issues.
“Typical voters coming out to Town Meeting may not be focused on that race,” Fromer said
Wiseman knows he’s got a tough hill to climb when the voters go to the polls tomorrow.
“I certainly believe that if I were on the ballot, I would win this election in a landslide. Being a write-in right now is my greatest hurdle,” Wiseman said.
The town is currently the subject of another ballot-related investigation by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office after a second batch of 2020 ballots were discovered inside an election box during a September special election.
These ballots were counted during the 2020 election, but left out of the recount. Town officials were not notified about these ballots until November, and there were no plans to inform the public until NH Journal broke the story. The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office took control of the town’s ballot boxes and the investigation is ongoing.