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Maine becomes second state to disqualify Trump from ballot, heightening 2024 turmoil

Trump vows to appeal decision by Democrat Secretary of State Shenna Bellows.

Published: December 28, 2023 7:04pm

Updated: December 28, 2023 9:24pm

Former President Donald Trump was removed from Maine's primary ballot under the Constitution’s insurrection clause on Thursday.

The decision was made by Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, whom Trump's legal team requested be disqualified from ruling whether or not Trump is eligible for the 2024 ballot. 

In other states, plaintiffs have sued regarding Trump’s eligibility, but in Maine, the Secretary of State first weighs in and the decision can be challenged in court.

Maine has only four electoral votes but it’s one of two states to split them, and Trump won one of Maine's electors in 2020.

Bellows determined that the former president could not run for office due to his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. She argued his actions violated the 14th Amendment. 

Earlier this month, the Colorado Supreme Court booted Trump from the state's ballot, arguing that he had engaged in an insurrection as well. 

However, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold announced shortly after the appeal that she will include Trump on the primary ballot on the Jan. 5 certification deadline, unless the Supreme Court decides not to take up the case or rules in agreement with the state.

Trump responded to the ruling in a statement. 

"The Maine Secretary of State is a former ACLU attorney, 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," Trump's campaign team wrote on X. "We are witnessing, in real-time, the attempted theft of an election and the disenfranchisement of the American voter."

Trump plans to appeal the Maine decision, his spokesman Steven Cheung said.

“Democrats in blue states are recklessly and un-Constitutionally suspending the civil rights of the American voters by attempting to summarily remove President Trump’s name from the ballot,” Cheung said in a statement. “Make no mistake, these partisan election interference efforts are a hostile assault on American democracy.”

Republicans have come out in support of Trump amid the removal.

"I stand with President Trump against the Left’s blatant attack on our democracy," Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. wrote on X. 

Fellow GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy called what was happening a threat to democracy. 

"The system is hellbent on taking this man out, the Constitution be damned," Ramaswamy wrote. "I stand by my prior pledge to *withdraw* from any state’s ballot that ultimately removes Trump from its ballot. I call on DeSantis, Christie, and Haley to do the same - or else they are tacitly endorsing this illegal and brazen election interference in the GOP primary. This cancer in American politics isn’t limited to the Democrats."

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine said the decision by the Secretary of State should be overturned.

 

"Maine voters should decide who wins the election – not a Secretary of State chosen by the Legislature," Collins wrote. "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."
 

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