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  • Writer's picturejohn kepler

Trump Fights Back: Appeals Maine Secretary of State's Primary Ballot Decision

Washington — Former President Donald Trump asked a state court in Maine to toss out the secretary of state's determination that he is disqualified from holding public office under the Constitution's so-called insurrection clause and cannot be listed on the Republican presidential primary ballot.


Trump Fights Back: Appeals Maine Secretary of State's Primary Ballot Decision


Trump's move to appeal the decision by Secretary of State Shenna Bellows was expected. Bellows, a Democrat, halted the effect of her ruling to allow Trump to seek the state superior court's review.

In his 11-page complaint, filed in Maine Superior Court in Kennebec County, Trump argued that Bellows was "biased" and should have recused herself from considering the challenges to the former president's eligibility for office brought by two groups of voters.

Trump also said he was denied due process because he was not given adequate time and opportunity to put forth a defense, and said Bellows lacked statutory authority to hear the challenges to his candidacy under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

The former president asked the court to require Bellows to "immediately" list his name on the Republican presidential primary ballot and toss out her ruling.


Trump's eligibility for the presidency has been challenged in more than two dozen states. Bellows is the only top election official to unilaterally find that Trump is disqualified from holding public office under Section 3.

In Colorado, a 4-3 majority of the state's supreme court found that Trump should be kept off the primary ballot there because of his conduct surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. The court halted its decision until Jan. 4 to allow Trump or the Colorado Republican Party to seek review from the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Colorado GOP appealed the state court's decision to the Supreme Court last week. Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold said Trump will be included on the GOP primary ballot unless the justices decline to hear the case or uphold the Colorado Supreme Court's ruling.

The group of six Colorado voters who are seeking to bar Trump from the primary ballot also urged the Supreme Court to step in on Tuesday and decide whether he is constitutionally eligible for the presidency.


Unlike in Colorado, Maine law requires voters to petition the secretary of state with challenges to a candidate's qualifications, after which a public hearing is held where the challengers make their case as to why the primary nomination should be invalidated.

Bellows held a public hearing last month after receiving two challenges to Trump's nomination from voters who argued he is barred from holding office because of his actions related to the Jan. 6 attack. 

In her 34-page decision, the secretary of state said the record established that Trump inflamed his supporters by making false claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election. She determined he directed them to block Congress' certification of state electoral votes and prevent the transfer of presidential power.

"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," she wrote. "I am also mindful, however, that no presidential candidate has ever before engaged in insurrection."

Bellows said state law requires her to act in response to "an assault on the foundations of our government."

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