New Hampshire Republicans are fighting over a move to keep former President Donald Trump off the ballot in 2024, with some seeking to disqualify him via the 14th Amendment.
The bid to use the 14th Amendment against Trump to disqualify him from the ballot was launched last year when Trump announced his third presidential bid following the midterm elections. It has gained traction since the announcement of the former president’s four legal cases: two at the state level and two at the federal level.
However, legally barring Trump from the ballot next November in New Hampshire, the first-in-the-nation primary state, is facing pushback from state party leaders, who say the effort is going nowhere.
Chris Ager, chairman of the New Hampshire GOP, said in an interview with Politico that he does not think the effort to “limit the options for our primary voters has any legs whatsoever.”
“The people who are opposed to President Trump have tried every trick in the book,” Ager said. “It really is up to the people to decide who they want their nominee to be, and no one else.”
Bryant “Corky” Messner, the 2020 U.S. Senate nominee who ran on Trump’s endorsement, said he wants to see the courts address whether Trump could be disqualified under the 14th Amendment.
Some legal scholars and critics of the former president say the amendment bars those who’ve taken an oath to support the Constitution from holding office again if they’ve “engaged in insurrection” against the United States or “given aid or comfort” to its enemies.
“I’m a Constitutional conservative. The words say what they say,” Messner said. “I quite frankly believe it is in Donald Trump’s best interest to get this looked at as quickly as possible.”
However, Ager disagrees with Messner’s suggestion.
“I am very confident that all of the known presidential candidates who are campaigning in New Hampshire, when they apply, they will be put on the primary ballot,” said Ager, who is neutral in the primary. “Corky’s a friend of mine and I respect him. I just totally disagree with him on this issue. And the Republican Party will fight to make sure that candidates are not denied access to the ballot.”
Free Speech for People, a legal advocacy group, sent letters to top election officials across nine states last month asking them to keep Trump from the ballot. The group has previously filed 14th Amendment legal challenges against Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and then-North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn.
Conservative legal scholars William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen amplified the groups’ campaign in an article in the Atlantic, which Messner said was a “compelling argument.”
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