ALTON — Walter Havenstein, who retired from the United States Marine Corps with the rank of colonel and served as an executive with several major defense contractors, confirmed this week that he is "seriously considering" becoming a Republican candidate for governor.
Havenstein is an active member of the Alton-Barnstead-Gilmanton Republican Committee and with his wife Judy is well known for hosting fundraising events and contributing to candidates. Last week, the New Hampshire Sunday News reported that he has been encouraged to run and quoted one unidentified "senior GOP strategist" who called him "the strongest potential candidate considering the race."
So far Andrew Hemingway of Bristol, a 31 year-old, self-described entrepreneur who chaired the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire, is the lone announced GOP candidate for governor.
Democratic incumbent Governor Maggie Hassan of Exeter is expected to seek re-election.
A graduate of the United States Naval Academy with a degree in aerospace engineering, Havenstein served in the Marine Corps from 1971 to 1983, specializing in tactical communications and systems acquisition management, and completed his service in the reserve in 1999.
Havenstein began his career in the private sector the aerospace and communications division of ITT Corporation and later held a handful of executive positions with the Raythen Company. In 1999 he joined Sanders Associates of Nashua, then a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Aerospace Electronic Systems, serving as president of the firm, which when it was acquired by BAE Systems a year later.
At BAE Systems, Havenstein was president of two operating groups between 2000 and 2003 when he became executive vice-president of BAE Systems North America. When the company reorganized in 2005 he became president of the Electronics & Integrated Solutions Operating Group within what became BAE Systems, Inc. Two years later Havenstein was named president and CEO of BAE Systems, Inc,, which employs more than 50,000 people and posts annual sales of more than $20 billion.
In 2009 Havenstein left BAE Systems, Inc. for Science Applications International Corporation, a contractor for government services and information technology, where he served as president and CEO until 2012 when he retired for personal reasons.
Havenstein serves on the bard of the Whittemore School of Busienss at the University of New Hampshire and is the vice-chairman of FIRST (For Inspiration & Recognition of Science & Technology), the non-profit organization founded by Dean Kamen, the inventor and entrepreneur, to foster interest in scientific and technical careers among young people.
Word of Havenstein's interest in the race of governor drew a prompt response from the right. Writing for Granitegrok, Steve MacDonald noted that Havenstein contributed $1,000 to Christopher Boothby's recent campaign for the Executive Council, which "establishes Havenstein's credentials as an inside the NH-GOP moderate, also known in NH-GOP insider-circles as 'the good candidate.'"
MacDonald went on to point to the GOP's "old-rich-big-business-crony-insider-white-guy image problem" that weakens its appeal to young voters. But, when Hemingway, "a young sharp, tech-entrepreur, announced his candidacy, he wrote that "the 'insiders' respond by courting a retired older-rich-big-big business-crony-GOP insider-white-guy; an establishment one-percenter."
"Exactly who would Walter Havenstein represent?" MacDonald asked. "I am going to have to go with the . . . government-first wing of the GOP for the time being."