The Maine secretary of state has received three challenges to former President Donald Trump appearing on the presidential primary ballot.

Former Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling and two former state lawmakers, Tom Saviello and Kimberly Rosen, together filed a challenge to Trump appearing on the ballot in a letter to Secretary of State Shenna Bellows dated Friday.

Election 2024 Trump

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a Commit to Caucus rally on Dec. 2, in Ankeny, Iowa. Matthew Putney/Associated Press

Mary Anne Royal, of Winterport, and Paul Gordon, of Portland, each filed letters with Bellows challenging Trump’s appearance on the ballot. All three letters were submitted prior to the department’s 5 p.m. deadline for receiving challenges on Friday.

“We intend to issue a notice of hearing for any properly filed challenge on Monday morning to the parties to the challenge,” Emily Cook, spokesperson for the Department of the Secretary of State, said in an email. She said the department will assess the challenges Monday to see if they meet all state requirements.

The filings come as the Republican frontrunner’s place on ballots is being challenged across the country. Challenges have been filed in at least 32 states, according to the blog Lawfare, which is tracking such efforts. It does not list any successful challenges to date.

Challengers in other states argue Trump should be ineligible because the 14th Amendment prohibits people from holding office if they “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”


Strimling, Saviello and Rosen also cited the 14th Amendment in their letter to Bellows, written by attorney Benjamin Gaines, saying Trump engaged in insurrection, contrary to his oath to support the Constitution, and is now ineligible to hold office.

In addition to serving as Portland mayor from 2015 to 2019, Strimling also served three terms in the Maine Senate as a Democrat. Saviello and Rosen both served as Republican state lawmakers.

“The constitution commands that, having sworn an oath to ‘preserve, protect and defend’ it, and then having desecrated that oath by directing a violent mob to storm the capitol while Congress was performing a core constitutional function essential to the transition of power, Trump is ineligible to hold any office under the United States, least of all president,” Gaines wrote in the letter sent to Bellows.

Gordon’s letter states that Trump violated a different amendment – the 22nd Amendment – which states that no person shall be elected to the office of president more than twice.

“Mr. Trump has said on numerous occasions that he won the 2020 election … When a candidate makes a factual representation that disqualifies him from the office he seeks, he cannot appear on the ballot,” Gordon wrote.

The third challenge, from Royal, does not specifically cite the 14th Amendment, but refers to language in it and says Trump should be disqualified for violating the Constitution.


“He organized, he welcomed, he sent, he watched, as Commander in Chief and did nothing to stop the assault on the Capitol which had the effect of bringing to a halt the constitutionally mandated procedure for certifying the election,” Royal wrote.

The Trump campaign did not respond to an email Friday night seeking comment on the challenges.

Under state law, only registered voters residing in the jurisdiction in which the election covers – in this case the state of Maine – can file a challenge. The challenge must be made in writing and submitted by 5 p.m. on the fifth business day following the final date for filing petitions for ballot access.

The secretary of state then has seven days to provide notice of and hold a public hearing on the challenge, and five days from the date of the hearing to rule on the challenge. State law also provides a process for appealing the ruling in court.

Trump is among six Republican candidates who qualified for the March primary ballot in Maine. The others are: Doug Burgum, the governor of North Dakota; Ryan Binkley, a Texas businessman and pastor; Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis; former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley; and Vivek Ramaswamy, a biotech entrepreneur from Ohio.

Burgum has since announced that he is suspending his campaign. Cook, the spokesperson for the secretary of state’s office, said they did not receive petitions from Asa Hutchinson, a former Arkansas governor who is also running for president.


The campaign of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie submitted only 844 signatures certified by municipal registrars – far less than the 2,000 signatures required, according to the secretary of state’s office.

Christie’s campaign has filed a petition for review in Kennebec County Superior Court, arguing that the Augusta City Clerk’s Office had a “rushed and incomplete process that deprived” the campaign of lawful signatures being counted and that municipalities that received signatures from residents of other communities should have still been able to verify those signatures for the campaign.

“The campaign collected and submitted over 6,000 signatures. This is simply a procedural issue with the way they reviewed signatures,” a spokesperson from Christie’s campaign said.

The Hutchinson campaign did not respond to an email asking if they had tried to get on the ballot in Maine.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: