There are currently legal challenges in several states aiming to get former President Donald Trump removed from the 2024 presidential ballot, on the grounds that he is ineligible to be president. This is based on a legal argument proposing that the Fourteenth Amendment bars anyone who has taken part in an insurrection from serving as president.
That argument was made in a paper by a pair of conservative law professors last month. More legal challenges have followed in different states.
One of the first states where the move was considered was New Hampshire, but that state’s secretary of state now says he will not block the former president from the ballot.
According to Fox News, New Hampshire Secretary of State Dave Scanlan, who supervises elections in that crucial early primary state, says he will not invoke that Constitutional clause.
If Trump “submits his declaration of candidacy and signs it under the penalties of perjury, pays the $1,000 filing fee, his name will appear on the presidential primary ballot,” Scanlan said at a news conference this week, Fox reported.
“There is nothing in the 14th Amendment that suggests that exercising the provisions of that amendment should take place during the delegate selection process as held by the different states,” Scanlan said, per Fox. “There is nothing in our state statute that gives the Secretary of State discretion in entertaining qualification issues once a candidate swears under the penalties of perjury that they meet the qualifications to be president.”
A former candidate in that state named Bryant “Corky” Messner had expressed interest in suing to block Trump from appearing on that state’s ballot. And John Anthony Castro, a long-shot presidential candidate, sued in New Hampshire, also to block Trump.
At the same time, Scanlan announced that the 2024 presidential primary will open its filing period on Oct. 11, meaning that the state will likely end up in a showdown with the Democratic National Committee. The DNC has announced plans to move Iowa and New Hampshire from their traditional spots at the front of the calendar, with South Carolina becoming the first state to vote, but the state has not played along with that.
“I’m just assuming we’re going to be in noncompliance with the Democratic National Committee,” Scanlan told Fox News.
State law says that New Hampshire must hold the first presidential primary in the nation.
That, per USA Today, could result in President Biden not appearing on the primary ballot, and possibly even losing the New Hampshire primary to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. or another fringe candidate. Therefore, Democrats in the state are attempting to organize a write-in candidacy to make sure Biden wins the state.
“There are a lot of us who strongly support President Biden, we support his agenda, and we want to make sure that he gets reelected, so we don’t plan to vote for anybody in our primary except for him,” Jim Demers, who co-chaired former President Barack Obama’s campaigns in that state, told USA Today.
As for the Republican side, Politico reported this week that when it comes to the New Hampshire primary in 2024, the focus is on who might be Trump’s pick as vice president.
“In a state that built its political identity as a presidential proving ground, Donald Trump’s commanding lead in the GOP primary is turning the 2024 campaign on its head. It pains Granite Staters to say it,” the Politico report said. “But from the back rows of town halls to the vinyl booths of the state’s famed diners, New Hampshire voters are starting to give voice to a new reality — and a growing fear among the former president’s critics — that their vetting is no longer truly for the top of the ticket.”
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Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @StephenSilver, and subscribe to his Substack newsletter.