New Hampshire’s top legislative leaders, including state Senate President Jeb Bradley and Speaker of the House Sherm Packard, have written to the Secretary of State demanding President Trump’s name appear on the presidential primary ballot next year.
“Since 1920, New Hampshire has been a state that prides itself on being the First-in-the-Nation to hold their primary elections and setting the stage for the rest of the country. But that status is now in jeopardy because of an absurd conspiracy theory to deny President Trump, the current front-runner in New Hampshire, from being on the ballot,” they wrote to Secretary of State David Scanlan on Tuesday.
The letter is a response to a fringe legal theory that each state’s election official can unilaterally block President Trump from the ballot if they decide he has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” in violation of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Local Republican Corky Messner, the 2020 nominee for U.S. Senate, has been touting this theory for weeks after reading a law review article proposing it.
However, on Tuesday Messner posted on social media that he’s been provided “a newly written draft law review article that concludes that Trump is NOT disqualified under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. I look forward to reading all 126 pages. It’s about time.”
Scanlan has made it clear he is not going to make such a profound, and legally-problematic, decision on his own. He has turned to state Attorney General John Formella for guidance. The two Republicans made a statement last month saying they were aware of the discussion around the 14th Amendment.
Asked about the letter, Scanlan told NHJournal: “I am in receipt of the petition and look forward to releasing my position on the Fourteenth Amendment issue tomorrow at 10:30 am.”
Legal scholars agree that if a state like New Hampshire did choose to use the 14th Amendment to block Trump from appearing on the ballot, the case would go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Granite State GOP leaders who wrote Scanlan, however, say the entire effort is pure, partisan politics.
“There is no legal basis for these claims to hold up in any legitimate court of law,” they wrote. “The opinions of those perpetuating this fraud against the will of the people are nothing more than a blatant attempt to affront democracy and disenfranchise all voters and the former President. These individuals who are seeking to deny voters access to support their candidate of choice are nothing more than political pawns of the Left doing their bidding, which is disappointing since the Democrat Party has continually tried to strip New Hampshire of its First-in-the-Nation status.”
While the list of Republicans who signed the letter is impressive, several names are notable by their absence: Gov. Chris Sununu and House Majority Leader Jason Osborne. The latter is backing Gov. Ron DeSantis for president, while the former is an outspoken Trump opponent. However, Sununu has also repeatedly said that Trump’s name will appear on the New Hampshire GOP ballot in 2024, and it should.
“If Donald Trump follows the rules like everybody else in and, you know, signs up like everybody else — that’s the beauty of the New Hampshire first-in-the-nation primary process,” Sununu told NBC News.
“It’s a very open, very easy process for a lot of folks to partake in, and so I see no reason why he wouldn’t be on that ballot,” Sununu said.
Bradley told NHJournal he appreciates the careful, cautious approach Scanlan and Formella have taken to this issue. And his message to both Republicans and Democrats is to have more faith in democracy.
“I hope we replace Joe Biden as president because he’s doing a terrible job. Whether it’s immigration or crime or inflation or energy policy, he’s failing the people of New Hampshire,” Bradley said. “But the way to deal with that is at the ballot box.”
The letter, in its entirety, is below:
Dear Secretary Scanlan,
President Donald J. Trump is once again at the forefront of political attacks, this time by those who are attempting to disqualify the former President from appearing on New Hampshire’s primary ballot by weaponizing Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment against him.
Since 1920, New Hampshire has been a state that prides itself on being the First-in-the-Nation to hold their primary elections and setting the stage for the rest of the country. But that status is now in jeopardy because of an absurd conspiracy theory to deny President Trump, the current front-runner in New Hampshire, from being on the ballot.
There is no legal basis for these claims to hold up in any legitimate court of law. The opinions of those perpetuating this fraud against the will of the people are nothing more than a blatant attempt to affront democracy and disenfranchise all voters and the former President. These individuals who are seeking to deny voters access to support their candidate of choice are nothing more than political pawns of the Left doing their bidding, which is disappointing since the Democrat Party has continually tried to strip New Hampshire of its First-in-the-Nation status.
New Hampshire GOP Chairman Chris Ager has previously assured that “the Republican Party will fight to make sure that candidates are not denied access to the ballot.” It is now up to the patriots in the New Hampshire legislature to stand with the Chairman, ensure President Trump is on the ballot, and set a date so Granite Staters can continue to be the First in the Nation when it comes to having their voices heard.
You have also publicly remarked that you are “not seeking to remove any names from the presidential primary ballot.” We agree wholeheartedly and we should continue to empower voters, not disenfranchise them.
The patriots in New Hampshire took a stand in 1776 when they were the first state to declare independence from Great Britain. Now it is time for the great leaders of the Granite State to ensure that their constituents have access to a free and fair primary election by standing against the misinterpretation and politicization of our Constitution.
Senate President Jeb Bradley
Speaker of the House Sherman Packard
Executive Councilor Joseph Kenney
Executive Councilor David Wheeler
Senator Kevin Avard
Senator Bill Gannon
Senator Carrie Gendreau
Senator Keith Murphy
Senator Ruth Ward
Majority Whip Jeanine Notter
State Representative Kimberly Abare
State Representative Keith Ammon
State Representative Louise Andrus
State Representative Judy Aron
State Representative Cyril Aures
State Representative Harry Bean
State Representative Stephen Boyd
State Representative Jacob Brouillard
State Representative Claudine Burnham
State Representative Tim Cahill
State Representative Jose Cambrils
State Representative Travis Corcoran
State Representative Mike Drago
State Representative Ron Dunn
State Representative Jess Edwards
State Representative Tracy Emerick
State Representative Keith Erf
State Representative Jim Fedolfi
State Representative Larry Gagne
State Representative Ted Gorski
State Representative Michael Granger
State Representative Gerald Griffin
State Representative Tina Harley
State Representative Juliet Harvey-Bolia
State Representative Gregory Hill
State Representative J.R. Hoell
State Representative Thomas Kaczynski
State Representative Diane Kelley
State Representative Stephen Kennedy
State Representative Catherine Kenny
State Representative Aboul Khan
State Representative Jim Kofalt
State Representative John Leavitt
State Representative David Lundgren
State Representative Wayne MacDonald
State Representative Dennis Mannion
State Representative Nikki McCarter
State Representative Valerie McDonnell
State Representative Dan McGuire
State Representative Charles Melvin
State Representative Sandra Panek
State Representative Joseph Pitre
State Representative Fred Plett
State Representative Tom Ploszaj
State Representative John Potucek
State Representative Kevin Pratt
State Representative Arlene Quaratiello
State Representative Karen Reid
State Representative Andrew Renzullo
State Representative Terry Roy
State Representative Matthew Santonastaso
State Representative John Sellers
State Representative Vanessa Sheehan
State Representative Shane Sirois
State Representative Lisa Smart
State Representative James Spillane
State Representative Walter Stapleton
State Representative Jonathan Stone
State Representative James Summers
State Representative Joe Sweeney
State Representative Jeffrey Tenczar
State Representative Paul Terry
State Representative Dick Thackston
State Representative Chris True
State Representative Paul Tudor
State Representative Len Turcotte
State Representative Lilli Walsh
State Representative Kenneth Weyler
State Representative Robert Wherry
State Representative Clayton Wood
Selectman Jim Guzofski
Former U.S. Senator Bob Smith