Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows says Trump should not be allowed to run due his support of insurrection.
Former United States President Donald Trump has been kicked off the ballot for the 2024 presidential primary in Maine after a state official determined the Republican frontrunner is ineligible due to his support of insurrection.
Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, announced the decision to remove Trump from the ballot on Thursday, citing a clause in the US Constitution that bars those who have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” from holding public office.
Bellows said that Trump should be considered ineligible to run as the storming of the US Capitol on January 6 had “occurred at the behest of, and with the knowledge and support of” the former president.
“I do not reach this conclusion lightly,” Bellows wrote in a 34-page ruling.
“Democracy is sacred, and the highest court of this State has repeatedly recognized that ‘no right is more precious in a free country than that of having a voice in the election of those who make the laws under which, as good citizens, we must live.’ I am mindful that no Secretary of State has ever deprived a presidential candidate of ballot access based on Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment. I am also mindful, however, that no presidential candidate has ever before engaged in insurrection.”
The Trump campaign said shortly after the announcement that it would challenge the decision in court.
“We are witnessing, in real-time, the attempted theft of an election and the disenfranchisement of the American voter,” Trump’s campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement that described Bellows as a “virulent leftist and a hyper-partisan Biden-supporting Democrat”.
“Democrats in blue states are recklessly and unconstitutionally suspending the civil rights of the American voters by attempting to summarily remove President Trump’s name from the ballot.”
The move makes Maine the second state to disqualify Trump after the Colorado Supreme Court earlier this month ruled that he was not eligible to run due to his role in the January 6 uprising.
Trump has promised to fight the Colorado ruling in the US Supreme Court, where he appointed three of the six justices, setting up the possibility of a high-stakes ruling that could decide the issue of his eligibility on a national basis.
Trump is facing criminal charges over his alleged role in trying to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election, but the businessman-turned-politician has not been charged with insurrection.
Despite being one of the least populous US states, Democratic-leaning Maine could play an outsized role in the 2024 election due to an unusual arrangement that allows it to split its four votes in the electoral college.
Trump carried the rural 2nd district to secure one electoral vote in 2016 and 2020.