Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows has ruled that former President Donald Trump’s primary petition is “invalid,” though she also suspended the impact of her decision, which means that it may never take effect.
In the ruling, she claimed that evidence showed “the falsity of Mr. Trump’s declaration that he meets the qualifications of the office of the presidency. Therefore, as required … I find that the primary petition of Mr. Trump is invalid,” she noted. “I will suspend the effect of my decision until the Superior Court rules on any appeal, or the time to appeal … has expired.”
“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. I am also mindful, however, that no presidential candidate has ever before engaged in insurrection,” Bellows wrote.
The Trump campaign has vowed to swiftly challenge the decision. “We will quickly file a legal objection in state court to prevent this atrocious decision in Maine from taking effect,” spokesperson Steven Cheung said in a statement.
After the House of Representatives voted in favor of impeaching Trump in the wake of the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot, Bellows expressed disappointment that the Senate vote fell short of the threshold needed to convict. “He should have been impeached. But history will not treat him or those who voted against impeachment kindly,” she tweeted. Trump was no longer in office at the time the Senate vote occurred.
But Bellows has claimed that her opinions about January 6 did not influence her ruling. “My decision is based exclusively on the record before me, and it has in no way been influenced by my political affiliation or personal views about the events of January 6, 2021,” she wrote.
Earlier this month, the Colorado Supreme Court declared that Trump should not be included on the presidential primary ballot, though the court stayed its decision until January 4, noting, “If review is sought in the Supreme Court before the stay expires, it shall remain in place, and the Secretary will continue to be required to include President Trump’s name on the 2024 presidential primary ballot until the receipt of any order or mandate from the Supreme Court.”
The Colorado Republican Party has sought Supreme Court review.
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