Maine Sen. Angus King (I), who caucuses with the upper chamber’s Democrats, disagreed with the Thursday decision to remove former President Trump from the state’s ballot, saying the choice of whether or not to consider sending him back to the White House “should rest with the people.”
Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows (D) announced Thursday that she would bar the former president from the 2024 primary ballot in the state, citing his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Like the Colorado Supreme Court, which blocked Trump from its state’s ballot earlier this month, Bellows cited section 3 of the 14th Amendment. The text, enacted in the wake of the Civil War, bars from office candidates who previously took oaths to support the Constitution and “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the U.S.
“Although I respect the Secretary of State’s careful process—which she was specifically required to undertake under Maine law—absent a final determination of a violation of the 14th Amendment’s disqualification clause, I believe the decision as to whether or not Mr. Trump should again be considered for the presidency should rest with the people as expressed in free and fair elections,” the Maine senator said in a statement on Friday. “This is the ultimate check within our Constitutional system.”
King voted with the entire Democratic caucus and five Republicans to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial in 2021, over the events surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. King’s fellow Maine senator, Susan Collins, was among the Republican votes.
Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine), who also voted for the 2021 impeachment, expressed a similar sentiment in response to the Maine secretary of state’s decision on Thursday, saying, “We are a nation of laws, therefore until he is actually found guilty of the crime of insurrection, he should be allowed on the ballot.”
Collins gave a similar response in a tweet Thursday night, saying “the Secretary of State’s decision would deny thousands of Mainers the opportunity to vote for the candidate of their choice and it should be overturned.”
Maine is the only state in which ballot eligibility challenges go through the secretary of state rather than the court system. The Colorado Republican Party, the co-defendants in the Colorado case, have appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.
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