Trump kept on California GOP primary ballot despite 14th Amendment call to remove him

The Democratic lieutenant governor had called for him to be ruled ineligible.

December 29, 2023, 12:44 PM

California Secretary of State Shirley Weber has kept Donald Trump on the 2024 Republican primary ballot despite calls from the state's Democratic lieutenant governor to consider declaring him ineligible under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

Thursday was the deadline for Weber, also a Democrat, to certify the official candidate list for California's March 5, 2024, presidential primary election.

Trump was included among the slate of certified Republican candidates released by the secretary's office Thursday evening, not long after Maine's Democratic secretary of state ruled him ineligible for that state's GOP primary ballot, becoming the second state to do so after Colorado.

Weber has not yet issued an explanation of her decision to include the former president, despite acknowledging last week that she would address the legal questions surrounding the removal of Trump from the GOP primary ballot as requested by Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis.

Republican 2024 presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event in Waterloo, Iowa, Dec. 19, 2023.
Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images

The day after the Colorado Supreme Court historically ruled Trump ineligible to participate in that state's Republican primary, Kounalakis sent a letter to Weber, prompting her "to explore every legal option to remove" the former president from California's GOP ballot.

"California must stand on the right side of history. California is obligated to determine if Trump is ineligible for the California ballot ... The Colorado decision can be the basis for a similar decision here in our state. The constitution is clear: you must be 35 years old and not be an insurrectionist," Kounalakis wrote.

Responding to Kounalakis' request, Weber noted that because the issue is of particular concern to the public, she was obligated to address it within legal parameters and in the best interests of all California voters.

"It is incumbent upon my office to ensure that any action undertaken regarding any candidate's inclusion or omission from our ballots be grounded firmly in the laws and processes in place in California and our Constitution," Weber said.

Weber specifically noted that she would consider the question in light of the Colorado Supreme Court decision and impending appeals.

"My office will continue to assess all our options, including those that may arise as a result of any action taken by the United States Supreme Court or other changing circumstances," Weber continued.

ABC News has contacted the offices of Weber and Kounalakis in response to the secretary's decision.

In declining to remove Trump from their primary ballot, Weber has placed California among the more than a dozen states that have rejected attempts to bar the former president from seeking the GOP presidential primary nomination under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

Trump's campaign has blasted the attempts as "election interference."