Former President Trump has called for the Maine secretary of state to recuse herself from deciding his ballot eligibility. Trump’s demand stems from the secretary’s past statements about the January 6 Capitol riot, which he believes may bias her decision.
Unlike other states where lawsuits have been filed to challenge Trump’s eligibility, Maine’s system allows the secretary of state to weigh in on the matter first. Challengers can then appeal the decision in state court.
Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, is set to issue a decision in the coming days in response to three petitions challenging Trump’s eligibility. However, Trump’s lawyers have written a letter to Bellows demanding her recusal based on three tweets she posted referencing the January 6 attack, where she described it as an insurrection.
Under the 14th Amendment, someone engaged in insurrection after taking an oath to support the Constitution is prohibited from holding any office under the United States. Trump’s lawyers argue that Bellows has already passed judgment on the core assertions of the challengers by using similar language to describe the events of January 6.
The spokesperson for Bellows has chosen not to provide comments on the ongoing situation. The communication from Trump’s legal team also makes reference to two of Bellows’s social media updates, including one that labeled the Capitol disturbance as an illegal attempt to subvert the outcome of a legitimate election.
Efforts to question Trump’s qualification for election ballots are surfacing in multiple states. The supreme court in Michigan recently dismissed a challenge based on the 14th Amendment, and similar legal actions have been turned down in other regions, such as Minnesota.
Yet, Colorado’s highest court has set a precedent by ruling Trump ineligible to appear on the primary ballot, a decision anticipated to be escalated to the U.S. Supreme Court imminently. This development introduces further intricacy to the already complex national discussion.
As we await the decision from Maine’s secretary of state, how this controversy will unfolds remains to be seen. The outcome of these ballot eligibility challenges will undoubtedly significantly impact Trump’s political future and the broader discourse surrounding the events of January 6.