Donald Trump fights exclusion from Maine primary ballot

Donald Trump’s legal team disputes allegations of his involvement in Jan 6 incidents and questions Bellows’ authority to exclude him from ballot

Former US President and 2024 presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event in Waterloo, Iowa, on December 19, 2023. — AFP

Former US President Donald Trump is fighting to overturn a decision by Maine’s election official, Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, that disqualified him from participating in the state’s Republican presidential primary ballot next year. 

Reports from US media reveal that Donald Trump appealed on Tuesday, contesting Bellows’ decision, attributing his exclusion to his alleged involvement in the January 6, 2021, US Capitol attack.

Donald Trump, currently the leading contender for the Republican nomination, approached a state Superior Court, seeking a reversal of Bellows’ ruling that barred him from the ballot set for March 5. Bellows, a Democrat, deemed Trump ineligible for office under the US Constitution, citing his alleged role in inciting the insurrection post his defeat in the 2020 election.

Trump’s legal team has consistently refuted claims of his involvement in the insurrection and challenged Bellows’ authority to exclude him from the ballot.

The decision stemmed from a plea by former Maine lawmakers urging Bellows to keep Trump off the ballot, citing a constitutional provision disqualifying individuals who engage in “insurrection” after swearing allegiance to the United States.

Various advocacy groups and anti-Trump factions have initiated multiple challenges to Trump’s candidacy under the 14th Amendment’s Section 3. These legal battles focus on Trump’s alleged incitement of supporters with baseless election fraud claims, followed by the Capitol unrest aimed at impeding Joe Biden’s certification as President.

The matter is anticipated to reach the US Supreme Court following a similar exclusion of Trump from Colorado’s primary ballot. A Supreme Court ruling may offer a nationwide resolution to queries surrounding Trump’s eligibility.

While courts in other states have dismissed similar lawsuits against Trump, his campaign denounces these ballot challenges as an affront to American democracy.

Despite these legal tussles, opinion polls indicate Trump maintains a significant lead in the Republican nomination race as state-by-state contests kick off from January 15 onwards.


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