California’s Secretary of State has decided to keep former President Donald Trump on the state’s presidential primary ballot as other states are disqualifying him based on the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment and Democrats push for his removal from state ballots.
For his actions in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021, Trump has been disqualified by two states, Colorado and Maine, with the former temporarily reversing its decision pending a ruling from the Supreme Court on the matter. On Thursday, California’s Democratic Secretary of State, Shirley Weber, announced the state’s presidential primary ballot with Trump included. (RELATED: Maine Secretary Of State Disqualifies Trump From Primary Ballot)
After the Colorado decision, Democratic Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis of California, who is running for governor in 2026, wrote a public letter to Weber asking her to explore every legal option to disqualify Trump from the ballot. Weber later responded to Kounalakis’ letter, writing that she is “a steward of free and fair elections and the democratic process,” though she did not indicate her decision at the time.
“As you may not be aware, my office has been engaged in multiple lawsuits regarding the former President’s appearance on the ballot. While we can agree that the attack on the Capitol and the former President’s involvement were abhorrent, there are complex legal issues surrounding the matter,” wrote Weber in her response. “Removing a candidate from the ballot under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment is not something my office takes lightly.”
Apart from Trump, the list of candidates includes Republicans such as Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, former Govs. Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Chris Christie of New Jersey and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas as well as Vivek Ramaswamy. Among Democrats, President Joe Biden, Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota and Marianne Williamson are listed.
Third-party candidates such as Jill Stein for the Green Party and Cornel West for the Peace and Freedom Party are also listed. However, independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who previously ran in the Democratic primary, is not listed.
To appear on the ballot, Republican candidates had to obtain the signatures of 1% of registered voters with the party from across the state, for a total of 52,863 signatures by Dec. 15, according to Ballotpedia. Democratic candidates, meanwhile, had to obtain the signatures of either 1% of registered voters with the party from each Congressional district or 500 such persons, whichever number was fewer.
The Colorado Supreme Court’s decision to disqualify Trump has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court by the state’s Republican Party, though it is unclear whether the court will grant certiorari to review the case and when it may announce its decision. Legal scholars, however, have opined that the matter ought to be resolved by the court quickly, given that the first state primary elections will be held in January.
Other states that have considered the question of Trump’s presence on the state ballot, such as Michigan and New Hampshire, have declined to disqualify Trump from the state ballot. Trump is the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 and is currently leading Biden, the leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, in multiple polls.
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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