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Maine rules Trump ineligible for 2024 primary ballot

By Ehren Wynder
Maine followed Colorado as the second state to bar former President Donald Trump from running in the 2024 primary. Trump is expected to appeal the decisions to the U.S. Supreme Court. Photo by Alex Wroblewski/UPI
Maine followed Colorado as the second state to bar former President Donald Trump from running in the 2024 primary. Trump is expected to appeal the decisions to the U.S. Supreme Court. Photo by Alex Wroblewski/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows ruled Thursday former President Donald Trump is ineligible to appear on the state's primary ballot next year.

The ruling on Thursday evening made Maine the second state in the nation to disqualify Trump from seeking the Republican presidential nomination under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

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Colorado was the first state to bar Trump from running on the grounds that he incited the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Bellows' office said her decision would not be enforced until the U.S. Supreme Court weighs in, "given the compressed timeframe, the novel constitutional questions involved, the importance of this case and impending ballot preparation deadlines."

Trump is expected to appeal the decision and others like it to the U.S. Supreme Court. So far, most courts have sided with Trump. Michigan, Arizona and Minnesota all ruled against citizen-led petitions to disqualify the former president from appearing on those states' ballots.

Trump previously demanded Bellows recuse herself from ruling on his eligibility, citing the Democrat's public statements concerning Jan. 6.

In a letter sent Wednesday, Trump's attorneys said Bellows "has already concluded that President Trump has engaged in insurrection" and has "exhibited a personal bias in this matter."

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His counsel pointed to statements she made on X, formerly Twitter, as evidence of her bias. In February 2021, Bellows posted the "Jan. 6 insurrection was an unlawful attempt to overthrow the results of a free and fair election."

In response to the ruling, the Trump campaign issued a statement calling Bellows "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 will quickly file a legal objection in state court to prevent this atrocious decision in Maine from taking effect, and President Trump will never stop fighting to Make America Great Again," Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung said in the release.

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment bars from public office any former official who swore an oath to the Constitution and who has "engaged in insurrection or rebellion."

The Colorado Supreme Court concluded Trump should be considered an insurrectionist for instigating violence in the lead-up to Jan. 6. The decision is on hold until Jan. 4 while the U.S. Supreme Court weighs in.

Both Maine and Colorado hold their primary elections on Super Tuesday, March 5, but federal law requires them to send ballots to overseas military members and others 45 days prior, meaning the ballots need to be prepared in January.

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