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Maine Bars Trump From 2024 Presidential Primary

Shenna Bellows, Maine’s Secretary of State and a Democrat, has temporarily removed Donald Trump from the state’s primary ballot for the upcoming U.S. presidential election. This decision, influenced by Trump’s alleged involvement in the Capitol attack on January 6, 2021, marks Maine as the second state to take such action. Bellows’ decision hinges on Trump’s role in the 2020 election fraud claims and the subsequent Capitol incident, viewing it as incitement of insurrection. This suspension will remain until Maine’s supreme court delivers a verdict.

This move follows claims by ex-Maine lawmakers, citing the U.S. Constitution’s clause preventing individuals from office if they have participated in insurrection after swearing an oath to the U.S. The impact of this ruling is confined to the March primary, but it may extend to the November general election. It adds urgency to the U.S. Supreme Court’s need to address Trump’s nationwide eligibility under the 14th Amendment’s Section 3.

Despite facing indictments in federal and Georgia state cases related to the 2020 election overturn efforts, Trump is not charged with insurrection for the January 6 events. He remains a strong contender for the 2024 Republican nomination.

Colorado’s supreme court previously barred Trump from its state primary ballot on December 19, a historic first. Trump plans to challenge this in the U.S. Supreme Court, criticizing such ballot objections as “undemocratic.” The Colorado Republican Party has already filed an appeal.

Other states, like Michigan, have rejected similar disqualification efforts. Maine, typically Democratic-leaning, awarded Trump one electoral vote in both the 2016 and 2020 elections due to its unique Electoral College vote distribution. A candidate needs 270 Electoral College votes to secure the presidency.

Several advocacy groups and anti-Trump voters have challenged his candidacy in multiple states, invoking the 14th Amendment’s Section 3, originally intended to prevent former Confederates from holding government positions. Bellows’ role in Maine required her to evaluate Trump’s disqualification before judicial review.

Trump’s lawyers argue that his actions do not constitute insurrection and claim his January 6, 2021, statements are protected under free speech. They also highlight procedural issues, such as the absence of Section 3 eligibility criteria in Trump’s state ballot paperwork.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s impending decision in the Colorado case could potentially settle this matter across the country. Notably, three of the court’s conservative majority justices were nominated by Trump.

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