Maine will keep former President Donald J. Trump off its Republican primary ballot, Secretary of State Shenna Bellows said on Thursday, a week after Colorado’s top court disqualified Mr. Trump from appearing on the ballot there.
In a written decision, Ms. Bellows, a Democrat, said that Mr. Trump did not qualify for the ballot because of his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. capitol, agreeing with a handful of citizens who had challenged his eligibility on the grounds that he incited an insurrection and was thus barred from seeking the presidency again under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.
“I am mindful that no secretary of state has ever deprived a presidential candidate of ballot access based on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. I am also mindful, however, that no presidential candidate has ever before engaged in insurrection.,” Ms. Bellows wrote.
Similar arguments were successful in Colorado, where the state’s highest court ruled 4 to 3 last week that Mr. Trump should be excluded from the ballot. The court cited a section of the amendment that prohibits people who have taken an oath “to support” the U.S. Constitution from holding office if they have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same,” or have “given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
Mr. Trump can appeal Ms. Bellows’s decision to Maine’s Superior Court within five days. The Republican primaries in Maine and Colorado are both scheduled for March 5, known as Super Tuesday because so many states hold primaries that day.
Challenges to Mr. Trump’s ballot access have been brought in more than 30 states in recent weeks, largely through the courts. Because of a quirk in Maine’s Constitution, registered voters seeking to block candidates there must first file a petition with the secretary of state.
Ms. Bellows heard arguments on three such petitions on Dec. 15.
After the Colorado decision, lawyers for Mr. Trump argued in new Maine filings that the Colorado ruling should be irrelevant there because the two states have different laws and standards, and because Mr. Trump did not have a fair opportunity to litigate the facts in Colorado. They also maintained that the secretary of state lacked the authority to exclude him from the ballot.
“The constitution reserves exclusively to the Electoral College and Congress the power to determine whether a person may serve as president,” they argued in the filing late last week.
The Trump campaign has said it will appeal the Colorado decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. Should the high court take the case, challenges in other states to his ballot eligibility are likely to be put on hold.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.