Can Trump Run for President in Maine? The 14th Amendment Challenge He Faces

Can Trump Run for President in Maine? The 14th Amendment Challenge He Faces

Former President Donald Trump’s legal team submitted a request on Wednesday in Maine, urging Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, to recuse herself from the decision on his eligibility for the ballot. Bellows is tasked with ruling on three challenges that aim to disqualify Trump from the ballot under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment and the 22nd Amendment.

In a statement, Trump’s team expressed concerns about Bellows’ perceived bias, labeling her as a Democrat partisan and a Biden supporter. They argue that her alleged inability to make an impartial decision denies the people of Maine the right to vote for their preferred candidate. Trump’s team asserted that any attempt to remove his name from the ballot amounts to blatant election interference.

Highlighting the secretary’s “personal animus and bias,” Trump’s team contended that she is incapable of conducting a fair hearing on this crucial matter. Trump is currently facing over a dozen legal tests regarding his ballot eligibility under the 14th Amendment across various state and federal courts.

Former President Donald Trump sits at the defense table with his attorneys Christopher Kise and Alina Habba in New York State Supreme Court, Dec. 7, 2023, in New York City.
Pool/Getty Images

In a separate development on Wednesday, Michigan’s Supreme Court determined that the former president would not be disqualified from participating in the state’s GOP primary. Notably, Maine stands out as the first state where the secretary of state is empowered to rule on such challenges.

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Although Bellows was initially set to rule on the challenges last Friday, her decision was postponed until this week due to technical difficulties and in consideration of the Colorado Supreme Court’s recent ruling on a similar matter. Once Bellows issues her ruling, any dissatisfied parties can appeal the decision in state court.

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On December 15, Bellows oversaw a comprehensive hearing at the Maine State House in Augusta, where three challenges were deliberated. These challenges, filed with state election officials the previous week, all aimed to prevent Trump from featuring on Maine’s Republican primary ballot. The outcome of this ruling carries significant weight in the ongoing debate over Trump’s eligibility in the state.

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Ingrid Mueller

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