Controversy Erupts as Maine GOP Rules Trump Ineligible for 2024 Primary Ballot
Former President Trump was removed from the state’s presidential primary ballot by Maine’s Democratic secretary of state on Thursday.
Sec. of State Shenna Bellows used U.S. Constitution Section 3 in her decision, which prohibits anybody who “engaged in insurrection” from holding public office.
A nonpartisan coalition of former lawmakers and other state citizens had contested Trump’s candidacy, and Bellows had rendered the decision.
Given that Bellows’ tweets appeared to be biased, Trump’s attorneys asked that Bellows revoke her nomination. Attorney and former executive director of the ACLU Bellows lamented that Trump was not found guilty by the Senate after the House impeached him, calling the attack on the US Capitol an “insurrection” in the tweets.
Bellows was mocked by Trump Campaign spokesman Steven Cheung, who called her “a virulent leftist and a hyper-partisan Biden-supporting Democrat who has decided to interfere in the presidential election on behalf of Crooked Joe Biden.”
“We are witnessing, in real-time, the attempted theft of an election and the disenfranchisement of the American voter,” Cheung added. The attempt by Democrats in blue states to summarily remove President Trump’s name from the ballot is an act of recklessness and unconstitutionality that suspends the civil rights of American voters.
“This is a hostile attack on American democracy, no doubt about it. Political parties are trying to influence elections.” Instead of depending on the authority of government institutions to maintain their hold on power, Biden and the Democrats merely do not believe that American voters will participate in a free and fair election.”
Likening the decision to an assault on democracy was the Maine Republican Party.
“Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, once named the most progressive Senate candidate in America, unilaterally threw Donald Trump off the ballot,” the Republican Party of Maine said in a statement.
“Since these backroom insiders began trying to undermine democracy by toppling President Trump, the Maine Republican Party has been battling them. We will fight this in court, if necessary to the Supreme Court, so rest assured. And we reserve the right, as a private organization, to employ a caucus system to prevent a Democrat Hack Secretary of State from violating the voting rights of the people of Maine.”
Congressman Jared Golden, a Democrat from Maine, expressed his disapproval of the decision, saying he did not think Trump should be re-elected as President of the United States and voted to impeach him.
“[W]e are a nation of laws, therefore until he is found guilty of the crime of insurrection, he should be allowed on the ballot,” Golden said in a tweet.
Vermont senator Susan Collins stated that the people of Maine “should decide who wins the election – not a Secretary of State chosen by the Legislature.”
“The Secretary of State’s decision would deny thousands of Mainers the opportunity to vote for the candidate of their choice, and it should be overturned,” she said in a tweet.
Bellows held the public hearing in December as required by Maine law about the matter. After the historic Colorado Supreme Court ruling on December 19 that declared Trump was ineligible to run for office under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, Bellows granted both parties the opportunity to present further arguments.
For the time being, Bellows stayed her decision pending a decision from Maine’s state Superior Court.
Part 3 of the 14th Amendment was used by the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision earlier this month to remove Trump from the race. Republican candidates are not anticipated to face much opposition in Colorado, a state with a Democratic tilt.
Maine, however, is one of two states to split its four electoral votes. Taking Trump off the ballot might have a big impact on the election, especially if he ends up winning one of Maine’s electors, which he did in 2020. His 2024 campaign would begin with one fewer Electoral College vote if he is not listed there.
Opponents of the former president’s removal from the primary ballot in their states under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment are waging similar campaigns against election officials in other states.
A nationwide ruling about Trump’s eligibility is anticipated from the U.S. Supreme Court.
The report was aided by the Associated Press.