Maine’s secretary of state has delayed a decision about whether to deny former President Donald Trump access to the state’s presidential primary ballot after Colorado’s Supreme Court ruled he is ineligible in that state.

The delay will allow time for both sides in the dispute over Trump’s ballot access in Maine to file additional arguments in light of the Colorado ruling, which challengers said Wednesday strengthens their case to disqualify the Republican front-runner.

“The challengers were very excited to see the ruling out of Colorado last night,” said Benjamin Gaines, an attorney for challengers Ethan Strimling, Kimberly Rosen and Tom Saviello.

“We’re very hopeful that (Secretary of State Shenna Bellows), after a thorough review of all the evidence we presented, is going to reach the conclusion that former President Trump doesn’t meet the qualifications for the office of president and therefore has to be disqualified from the Maine ballot.”

The Trump campaign has said it will appeal the Colorado ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court and is confident it will be reversed.

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled 4-3 Tuesday that Trump is ineligible to appear on the primary ballot because he engaged in insurrection with his actions leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the Capitol, which disrupted the certification of the presidential election.


The decision came as Maine is weighing three challenges to Trump appearing on the presidential primary ballot. Bellows had been expected to rule on the challenges by the end of the day Friday but announced Wednesday afternoon that she now plans to issue a decision early next week.

A spokesperson for Bellows said the change in timeline is due to the Colorado ruling as well as technical difficulties in the secretary of state’s office that have interfered with deadlines for the parties to submit briefs.

Bellows also invited parties in the Maine challenges to file short supplements to their closing legal briefs to address the impact, if any, of the Colorado decision on the Maine case.

Challenges to Trump’s ballot access have been filed around the country, but the Colorado court is the first to find that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution applies to the former president. The section prohibits people from holding office if they “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the Constitution.

Strimling, Rosen and Saviello also cited Section 3 in a challenge to Trump’s appearing on the Maine primary ballot filed with Bellows this month. Bellows heard arguments from the challengers and attorneys for Trump at a hearing last week.

Gaines filed a notice with Bellows Wednesday morning notifying her of the Colorado decision. “Challengers also note that … the secretary is now bound by the Colorado courts’ findings on all pertinent factual issues,” the notice said.


The Trump campaign has dismissed the challenges and the Colorado ruling as politically motivated.

“Democrat Party leaders are in a state of paranoia over the growing, dominant lead President Trump has amassed in the polls,” Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung said in a statement Tuesday night. “They have lost faith in the failed Biden presidency and are now doing everything they can to stop the American voters from throwing them out of office next November.”


At issue in Maine are two questions: Does the secretary of state have the authority to decide whether Trump can appear on the ballot? And, does the 14th Amendment prohibit him from appearing on the ballot? Attorneys for Trump have argued that Bellows does not have the authority to remove Trump from the ballot on any grounds except in specific circumstances under state law.

Attorneys for the challengers have said Bellows does have the authority to remove Trump from the ballot.

Trump’s attorneys also have said Section 3 wouldn’t apply because its scope doesn’t include the office of president and because Trump hadn’t engaged in insurrection.

Attorneys for the challengers argued that Trump had engaged in insurrection, and at last week’s hearing played a series of video clips that they said showed a pattern of behavior by the former president in encouraging and applauding violent behavior by his supporters.

In addition to the challenge from Strimling, Rosen and Saviello – all former elected officials in Maine – Bellows also is weighing two separate challenges from Mary Anne Royal, of Winterport, and Paul Gordon, of Portland.

Royal has also argued that Trump violated Section 3, while Gordon’s challenge took a different tack, arguing that Trump is not eligible to be on the ballot because he claims to have won the 2020 election, which would have been his second term. The 22nd Amendment states that no person shall be elected to the office of president more than twice.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.