California secretary of state keeps Trump on primary ballot despite calls for his removal

California secretary of state keeps Trump on primary ballot despite calls for his removal

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California’s secretary of state declined to remove former President Trump from the presidential primary ballot despite calls from the state’s lieutenant governor for her to do so.

Shirley Weber (D) on Thursday published the list of candidates who will appear on California’s March 5 presidential primary, Trump included.

Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis (D) requested last week that the state look into “every legal option” to remove the former president over 14th amendment concerns, just one day after the Colorado Supreme Court kicked him off its state’s ballot due to its finding that he engaged in an insurrection through his actions surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

Weber responded to Kounalakis’s letter last Friday, saying her office has been engaged in multiple lawsuits regarding Trump’s appearance on the ballot.

“While we can agree that the attack on the Capitol and the former President’s involvement was abhorrent, there are complex legal issues surrounding this matter,” Weber wrote, adding that her office does not take the decision to remove him from the ballot lightly.

Weber said her office will “continue to assess” options, including the result of any action taken by the U.S. Supreme Court on the matter.

Several of California’s top Democrats joined Kounalakis in her request to remove Trump from the ballot, but Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) said the former president should be beaten in the polls.

Newsom warned that, while Trump is a “threat to our liberties,” efforts to prevent him from getting on the ballot could be a “political distraction.”

Just over a week after the Colorado ruling, which is on hold until Jan. 4 so Trump can seek review with the U.S. Supreme Court, Maine’s secretary of state said Thursday that the former president was ineligible to be on the state’s ballot.

Maine’s decision marks the first time a state official has removed a presidential candidate via the 14th amendment. As in the Colorado ruling, the Maine secretary of state found that Trump participated in an insurrection due to his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

Weber did not release a statement alongside the list of candidates to appear on the ballot in California. The Hill has reached out to both the secretary of state’s office and Kounalakis for comment.

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