LITTLETON, N.H. — New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald has been rejected as the next chief justice of the state Supreme Court.

The Democrat-led Executive Council on Wednesday voted 3-2 along party lines against MacDonald, who had been nominated by Republican Gov. Chris Sununu to replace retiring Chief Justice Robert Lynn.

MacDonald would have been the first in at least a century to become chief justice without ever having served as a judge. He had faced criticism for that, as well as his past ties to conservative Republican politics.

Councilor Andru Volinsky said MacDonald's assurances that he would follow the law weren't enough because he believes political extremism is undermining the law. Expressing disappointment with the vote, Sununu said the council had interjected politics into the process for the first time.