Donald Trump
GOP frontrunner facing efforts to keep him off state ballots Image Credit: AP

Washington: Maine's secretary of state ruled that Donald Trump cannot run in the state's Republican primary, citing his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

The ruling, which is certain to face court challenges, marks the latest attempt by states to keep Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination in polls weeks before the first votes are cast, off the ballot.

"We are witnessing, in real-time, the attempted theft of an election and the disenfranchisement of the American voter," Trump's campaign said in a statement Thursday night, shortly after Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, released her decision.

Bellows said she took action after receiving three challenges from Maine voters, and cited Trump's actions during the insurrection at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

"I do not reach this conclusion lightly. Democracy is sacred," Bellows wrote. "I am mindful that no secretary of state has ever deprived a presidential candidate of ballot access based on Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment. I am also mindful, however, that no presidential candidate has ever before engaged in insurrection."

She added that Trump could appeal her decision.

Trump's campaign noted that other states have blocked efforts to keep the former president off the ballot.

"State courts in Michigan and Minnesota have rejected these bad-faith, bogus 14th Amendment ballot challenges, as have federal courts in New Hampshire, Arizona, Florida, Rhode Island, West Virginia, along with ten other federal jurisdictions," the campaign said in its statement.