Maine secretary of state disqualifies Trump from primary ballot

Maine’s secretary of state on Thursday ruled former President Trump is disqualified from holding office and appearing on the state’s primary ballot under section 3 of the 14th Amendment over his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 assault on the U.S. Capitol.

“The U.S. Constitution does not tolerate an assault on the foundations of our government, and Section 336 requires me to act in response,” Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, wrote in her decision.

“Given the compressed timeframe, the novel constitutional questions involved, the importance of this case, and impending ballot preparation deadlines, I will suspend the effect of my decision until the Superior Court rules on any appeal, or the time to appeal…has expired,” Bellows added.

The ruling notes that the decision can be appealed to the Superior Court within 5 days.

Bellows is the first election official to unilaterally make a decision on Trump’s eligibility. Under Maine law, voters must first petition the secretary of state with challenges to a candidate’s qualifications for office, and then a public hearing is held where the challengers must make their case as to why the primary nomination should be invalidated. 

“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,” wrote Bellows. “I am also mindful, however, that no presidential candidate has ever before engaged in insurrection.” 

The Trump campaign said it will appeal.

“We will quickly file a legal objection in state court to prevent this atrocious decision in Maine from taking effect,” Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement Thursday night.

“We are witnessing, in real-time, the attempted theft of an election and the disenfranchisement of the American voter,” he added.

On Wednesday, Trump’s lawyers sent a letter hat asked Bellows to disqualify herself and claimed she had “personal bias,” citing prior statements where she had “already concluded that President Trump engaged in insurrection.”

The Maine decision comes a week after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Trump is disqualified from the ballot in that state — a decision that has been stayed while it is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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