New Hampshire has abandoned their attempt to prohibit former President Donald Trump’s name from appearing on the 2024 election ballot.
The state was one of several states seeking to block Trump’s eligibility based on what many say is a dubious reading of the 14th Amendment.
New Hampshire’s decision is key in that the state holds the distinction of being the first primary in the Republican election cycle — those setting the tone for the race to unfold.
At Wednesday’s news conference held at the State House in Concord, Secretary of State Dave Scanlan said that “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 added: “That language is not discretionary.”
Fox News reported that Scanlan also announced that “the filing period for the 2024 presidential primary will start on Oct. 11.”
Democrats found several unlikely allies in the bid to block Trump’s name from appearing on the ballot.
Bryant (“Corky”) Messner, a Republican attorney who won the 2020 Republican Senate nomination with the support of then-President Trump, turned on Trump and was one of the backers of the move to block his name from appearing on the ballot.
Messner publicly questioned the former president’s eligibility to run again, citing Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Section 3 disqualifies individuals from holding office if they’ve “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the U.S. “or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
Legal experts note that Trump has not been convicted of “insurrection or rebellion” and that the clause proponents of the move to block are citing expired in 1898.
John Anthony Castro, a Texas-based Republican attorney and struggling GOP candidate for president, was also a proponent of the move to block Trump.
Thus far, nine states have open legal filings seeking to keep the clear GOP frontrunner’s name from appearing on the ballot.
Scanlan perhaps set a precedent — being the first state to formally reject the petition. In announcing that New Hampshire would not block Trump from participating in the democratic election process, Scanlan said:
“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 added. “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.”
Scott Simon, a Democrat and secretary of state for Minnesota said in a statement last week that his office did not have the authority to block Trump’s name from being on the ballot and could only do so if a high court ruled on the matter.
Many legal experts believe the issue will need to be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court.
New Hampshire GOP chair Chris Ager told Fox News: “I’m very happy with the decision. It made a lot of sense to me the way the Secretary articulated the process and the decision-making, and now we can put the 14th Amendment to bed in New Hampshire and get back to campaigning.”
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