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California secretary of state leaves Donald Trump on presidential primary ballot

CBS News Live
CBS News Los Angeles Live

California's secretary of state declined to remove Donald Trump from the presidential primary ballot despite a call for her to do so from the state's lieutenant governor. 

Dr. Shirley Weber did not immediately issue a comment on her decision to include Trump after her office released the list of certified candidates on Thursday night. 

Last week, Weber issued a tepid response to an open letter from Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis. At the time, Weber did not indicate if she would fulfill Kounalakis's request and said her decision would be guided by her office's "commitment to and respect for the rule of law."

"Removing a candidate from the ballot under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment is not something my office takes lightly and is not as simple as the requirement that a person be at least 35 years old to be president," Weber wrote.

Some top Democrats in California joined Kounalakis' call to remove Trump from the ballot.

However, Gov. Gavin Newsom publicly opposed the move, saying Trump should be defeated at the polls.

Former President Trump Holds Rally In Waterloo, Iowa
Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump gestures as he wraps up a campaign event on Dec. 19, 2023 in Waterloo, Iowa.  Getty Images

The calls to strike the former president from the state's ballot came after Colorado's Supreme Court did the same thing, saying he violated the "insurrection clause," a Civil War-era provision of the U.S. Constitution.

Maine's secretary of state followed Colorado's footsteps on Thursday. "The U.S. Constitution does not tolerate an assault on the foundations of our government, and Section 336 requires me to act in response," Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, wrote in her decision.

"Given the compressed timeframe, the novel constitutional questions involved, the importance of this case, and impending ballot preparation deadlines, I will suspend the effect of my decision until the Superior Court rules on any appeal, or the time to appeal …has expired," Bellows added.

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