Newsom Rebukes Calls To Take Trump Off California Ballot

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) threw some shade at his fellow Democrats as he stated on Friday that he would not try to fight to get former President Donald Trump taken off California’s primary ballot.

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

The Colorado Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that Trump be disqualified from running for president because of his actions on January 6, 2021, which it said violated the insurrection clause of the 14th Amendment. The ruling is the first in history to disqualify a presidential candidate under the 14th Amendment.

Other states have followed Colorado’s lead, pursuing the option of removing the former president from their Republican primary ballots.

In Newsom’s state of California, Sen. David Min (D-CA) planned to introduce a bill to allow Californians to sue to block ineligible candidates, but the bill is not likely to take effect before the state’s March 5 presidential primary.

On Wednesday, Lt. Gov Eleni Kounalakis (D-CA) sent a letter to California Secretary of State Shirley Weber asking her to “explore every legal option” to keep Trump off the ballot.

“California must stand on the right side of history,” Kounalakis wrote. “California is obligated to determine if Trump is ineligible for the California ballot.”

Kounalakis, a 2026 Democratic gubernatorial hopeful, characterized the decision to remove Trump from the ballot as “a dire matter that puts at stake the sanctity of our constitution and our democracy.”

In Michigan, the watchdog group Free Speech For People sued on the behalf of voters to keep Trump off the ballot, writing a letter to their state Supreme Court, using the Colorado decision in defense. In that case, Michigan’s Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday that Trump will remain on the ballot, citing Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

Shenna Bellows, the Democratic secretary of state in Maine is also considering complaints challenging Trump’s eligibility. She invited lawyers on both sides to file supplemental briefs in light of the Colorado decision.

Many contenders for the 2024 presidential nomination, including Republican Vivek Ramaswamy and Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), have also denounced the Colorado decision which kicks their opponent out of the race.