Deep blue California keeps Trump on the presidential ballot

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California Secretary of State Shirley Weber on Thursday included former President Donald Trump’s name on the list of candidates certified to run in the state’s presidential primary, bucking several other blue states that are seeking to bar him from running.

Weber’s release of the list of candidates Thursday evening means Trump will appear on the ballot in California’s presidential primary on March 5. Weber’s decision came the same day that Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows declared him ineligible to run for president because of his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on Congress, and a week after Colorado’s Supreme Court reached the same conclusion.

Several elected Democrats had tried to remove him from the California ballot, including Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, who sent Weber a letter last week urging her to “explore every legal option” to keep him off. Weber had pushed back on Kounalakis’ letter, telling her that “it is more critical than ever to safeguard elections in a way that transcends political divisions.”

Democratic state Sen. Dave Min, an Orange County congressional candidate, had said he would introduce a bill letting California residents sue to block ineligible candidates — although given the legislative calendar, it is all but impossible for such a measure to be passed and take effect in time to apply to the March 5 presidential primary.

Gov. Gavin Newsom had signaled wariness of the attempts, issuing a statement last week warning fellow Democrats of getting ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court, which is almost certain to be the final arbiter of whether Trump can serve as president again.

“There is no doubt that Donald Trump is a threat to our liberties and even to our democracy,” he said, “but in California, we defeat candidates at the polls. Everything else is a political distraction.”

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