Rep. Mike Sobeleski (R-Phillips) filed a letter of intervention supporting former president Donald Trump’s right to appear on the 2024 ballot in Maine in preparation for Friday’s hearing on Trump’s eligibility.
“He has the constitutional right to be on the ballot,” Rep. Sobeleski told the Maine Wire.
“This is an attempt to obstruct his constitutional right to be on the ballot,” said Soboleski.
Last week, multiple letters were sent to Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows contesting Trump’s eligibility to run for office, including one from former socialist Portland mayor Ethan Strimling.
The hearing to assess whether Trump should be permitted to appear on the ballot will take place Friday morning at 10:00 am at the State House.
Because he filed a letter of intervention by the 3pm deadline Thursday, Soboleski will be one of the few people permitted to speak during the hearing.
The majority of the claims against Trump reference the January 6 protest at the U.S Capitol, casting it as an “insurrection” incited by Trump, thus preventing him from running for office.
The 14th amendment prevents an official who has violated his oath to defend the constitution by participating in an insurrection from holding office in the future.
Sobeleski objects to the claims against the former president on the grounds that Trump has already been acquitted of inciting an insurrection.
“The President was impeached for inciting the Capitol riots of January 6. He was subsequently acquitted of that charge by the U.S. Senate,” said Sobeleski, in his letter of intervention.
Because of Trump’s acquittal in the Senate, Sobeleski said there are no Constitutional grounds for barring Trump from the ballot in Maine.
“I find the case against his valid access to be flimsy at best and obstructionist at worse,” he said.
The hearing will be adjudicated by Secretary of State Bellows, a former Democratic State Senator and former head of the left-wing Maine ACLU.
At the hearing, a lawyer representing Strimling and his fellow complainants will argue to uphold their claims, then Trump’s lawyer will be given a chance to respond as well as anyone who, like Sobeleski, filed a letter of intervention in support of the former president.
The two other challenges to Trump’s appearance on the ballot were submitted by former Republican lawmakers Tom Saviello and Kimberly Rosen.
Sobeleski is currently running for the U.S House in Maine’s Second Congressional District against fellow Republican State Rep. Austin Theriault, of Fort Kent.
Both have men voiced support for Trump throughout their terms in office campaign and Trump’s more recent re-election campaign.
“The attempts to keep President Trump off the ballot are a ridiculous attempt to subvert the will of the people. This is a perfect example of why I’m running for Congress: the people in power right now aren’t on the side of regular working Mainers,” said Rep. Theriault.
Although Maine is a blue state, it is one of only two states (the other is Nebraska) that can split its Electoral College votes if a congressional district votes for a different candidate than the state as a whole, as happened in 2016 when Maine CD-2 went for Trump.