UPDATE: Donald Trump will be on the California ballot for the state primary in March.
Late on Thursday, Secretary of State Shirley Weber released a list of certified candidates for the March 5 primary. Trump’s name was included on the list, released the same day that the secretary of state of another state, Shenna Bellows of Maine, said that the former president was ineligible to hold office.
Weber did not issue a statement on her decision to keep Trump on the ballot.
In the wake of a Colorado Supreme Court ruling that the former president was ineligible, California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis had called for Trump to be kept off the ballot. But Weber responded with a letter that suggested that it would be up to the courts to decide.
“Removing a candidate from the ballot under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment is not something my office takes lightly and is not as simple as the requirement that a person be at least 35 years old to be president,” she wrote.
PREVIOUSLY: The secretary of state of Maine has determined that former President Donald Trump is ineligible to appear on that state’s ballot, finding that he is disqualified under the 14th Amendment‘s insurrection clause.
Shenna Bellows wrote that Trump “used a false narrative of election fraud to inflame his supporters and direct them to the Capitol to prevent the certification of the 2020 election and the peaceful transfer of power.” She wrote that she also concluded that Trump “was aware of the likelihood of violence and at least initially supported its use given he both encouraged it with incendiary rhetoric and took no timely action to stop it.”
Read the Maine decision.
The decision follows a Colorado Supreme Court ruling that Trump is ineligible to hold office. But state Republicans filing an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, his name will still appear on the ballot unless the high court justices turn the case down or side with the state court.
The clause in the 14th Amendment holds that those who have taken an oath should be barred from office if they “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
In her decision, Bellows wrote that she did “not reach this conclusion lightly.” “I am mindful that no Secretary of State has 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.”
Judges in other states like Minnesota and Michigan have turned back efforts to keep Trump off the ballot. In California, Governor Gavin Newsom was skeptical of legal movements to block the former president from appearing on ballots. Per the Los Angeles Times, Newsom said in a statement last week that “There is no doubt that Donald Trump is a threat to our liberties and even to our democracy, but in California, we defeat candidates at the polls. Everything else is a political distraction.”
Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement, “The Maine Secretary of State is a former ACLU attorney, a virulent leftist and a hyper-partisan Biden-supporting Democrat who has decided to interfere in the presidential election on behalf of Crooked Joe Biden. We are witnessing, in real-time, the attempted theft of an election and the disenfranchisement of the American voter. Democrats in blue states are recklessly and un-Constitutionally suspending the civil rights of the American voters by attempting to summarily remove President Trump’s name from the ballot.”