Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie faced another setback in his bid to secure a spot on the Maine Republican presidential primary ballot. Despite his campaign’s efforts to recover from the surprising setback on Super Tuesday, Christie’s latest attempt proved unsuccessful.
Earlier this month, the Maine Secretary of State’s office announced that Christie’s campaign did not meet the required number of certified signatures from Maine voters to qualify for the state’s Republican presidential primary.
The decision made by the secretary of state’s handling of the situation was upheld by a Maine Superior Court judge on Thursday, despite the campaign’s appeal.
Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows expressed her appreciation for the court’s decision in upholding the integrity of Maine’s longstanding ballot access requirements. In a statement, she acknowledged the importance of all candidates, including presidential candidates, adhering to the law in order to qualify for the ballot. Bellows further expressed satisfaction that the court recognized the practicality and fairness of Maine’s laws, ensuring an equitable process for all.
In a recent letter, Heidi M. Peckham, the Director of Elections in Maine, stated that Christie’s campaign failed to submit the required minimum of 2,000 certified signatures to appear on the ballot. Only 844 signatures were turned in.
Candidates had to first file their signatures with municipal clerks for certification before submitting them to the secretary of state’s office.
In response to the situation, a spokesperson for Christie addressed the matter by stating that the campaign had collected 6,000 signatures. They asserted that the issue was merely a procedural matter in the way the signatures were reviewed and that an appeal was underway.
However, Christie’s campaign’s arguments were unsuccessful in altering the position taken in the Maine case.
The spokesperson for Christie’s campaign expressed their disagreement with the court’s decision in a statement to CBS News on Thursday. They also mentioned that they are currently assessing their options.
Maine Superior Court Justice Julia M. Lipez has ruled that Christie failed to follow instructions from the Secretary by not separating petition forms by town or allowing himself enough time to submit the multi-town signature sheets to the relevant municipalities before the November 20 deadline.
Christie can still choose to file as a write-in candidate in Maine. The secretary of state’s office has set the deadline for this option on December 26.
The Christie campaign is facing yet another setback as pressure mounts for him to withdraw from the race and rally support behind an alternative candidate to former President Donald Trump, who is leading the GOP race. Christie’s primary focus has been on the upcoming New Hampshire primary on Jan. 23. While his campaign maintains that he still has a viable path forward after the contest, the challenges in Maine could potentially undermine that narrative.
Leading candidates from the Republican party, including Donald Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, and pastor Ryan Binkley, will be participating in the Maine contest on March 5.
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