A Republican from Texas who is running a write-in presidential campaign has filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to disqualify former president Donald Trump from having his name appear on Maine’s ballot in 2024.

Election 2024

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event at the South Carolina Statehouse on Jan. 28, in Columbia, S.C. Alex Brandon/Associated Press

John Anthony Castro of Mansfield, Texas, filed the complaint for injunctive relief in U.S. District Court in Portland on Tuesday, naming Trump and Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows as defendants. Trump holds a commanding lead in Republican primary polling.

Castro is a little-known candidate who has registered as a presidential candidate with the Federal Election Commission – a status he says gives him legal standing to file the lawsuit in Maine. On his campaign website, One America United, Castro describes himself as a fiscal conservative who graduated from Georgetown University Law Center.

According to documents filed in U.S. District Court, Castro argues that Trump violated the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution – Section 3 in the 14th Amendment states that a person who has engaged in insurrection or rebellion after taking an oath of office to support the Constitution should be prevented from running for office again.

Castro argues that the 14th Amendment also gives fellow political rivals the opportunity to seek relief from political injuries caused by Trump’s behavior. He cites instances in which Trump called on insurrectionists to support his false election claims including Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio “when he instructed them on live TV to stand back and standby.” Tarrio was sentenced to 22 years in prison this week for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, rioting at the U.S. Capitol.

Following the violent attack on the Capitol by his supporters, Trump on live TV told his supporters “we love you, you are very special,” Castro states in his complaint.


“Donald Trump provided the insurrectionists with comfort in the form of words of sympathy,” said Castro, adding that in 2022, Trump stated that if he is elected he would consider giving the insurrectionists pardons.

Castro has filed similar ballot complaints against Trump in several states, including New Hampshire, Florida, Utah, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Two of Maine’s constitutional officers are reviewing whether Trump is eligible to appear on the presidential ballot in Maine.

Secretary of State Shenna Bellows and Attorney General Aaron Frey, both Democrats appointed by the Democratic-controlled Legislature, cited “14th Amendment election law questions” in a written statement Aug. 30, but didn’t mention Trump by name.

“As Maine’s Chief Election Official and Chief Legal Officer, we swear oaths to defend the Constitution and the laws of our nation and state, and we take that responsibility very seriously,” they said.

“Our offices are working together to research and analyze the legal requirements for ballot access, including presidential ballot access, as we do prior to every major election. Any decisions about ballot access will be made dispassionately at the proper time in accordance with the laws and the Constitution, which will be our sole consideration.”

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