Trump remains on Wash. GOP primary ballot after Thurston County judge ruling

A Thurston County judge ruled against a motion that would bar former President Donald Trump from being on Washington presidential primary ballot.

Judge Mary Sue Wilson heard arguments Thursday morning at the county courthouse before deciding the state statute the lawsuit cited in its motion does not apply to her jurisdiction. The motion was filed by a group of eight Kitsap County voters, with their representative arguing to the court that Trump should be disqualified to run for office under a section of the U.S. Constitution due to his involvement with the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“Congress has found quite clearly that Donald Trump aided and abetted an insurrection in the Jan. 6 report,” David Vogel, the voters’ legal representative, said.

The 14th Amendment prohibits anyone who has served as an officer of the U.S. from holding any office if they have engaged in insurrection or rebellion. But the Washington State Republican Party fought against the motion.

“People alleged that Barack Obama was ineligible for the presidency, claiming he was born in Kenya,” Joel Ard, representing the Washington State Republican Party, argued in court. “That’s not a basis for removing those names from the primary ballot.”

Ard also argued that political parties, not the state, are responsible for who appears on primary ballots.

Judge Wilson eventually ruled that the Washington secretary of state made no “error” when he placed Mister Trump’s name on the ballot.

“The court determines that the secretary of state acted consistent with his duties,” Wilson said in court Thursday. “An order directing the secretary of state to take different action, an order from this court, is simply not supported by the statutes and not supported by the affidavit of the electors.”

The motion was also filed in Kitsap County, but Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Bassett declined to rule on it, according to the Seattle Times, as he thought the case should be heard in Thurston County, the home of the state capitol.

Additionally, Deputy Solicitor General Carl Smith, representing Secretary of State Steve Hobbes’ office, stated they are not taking a position regarding Trump’s name on the ballot.

Nevertheless, following Judge Wilson’s ruling, ballots and voters’ pamphlets for the March 12 Presidential Primary are moving forward and will begin to be printed. According to Hobbs, the Democratic Party submitted three candidates — Joseph R. Biden Jr., Dean Phillips and Marianne Williamson — while the Republican Party submitted five names — Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, Chris Christie and Donald J. Trump.

This motion follows similar debates seen in other states. Last month, Colorado’s Supreme Court ruled that former President Donald Trump wasn’t eligible to run for president, a decision now being challenged in the Supreme Court. Maine’s Democratic secretary of state followed Colorado’s decision with the same ruling for her state.

Trump’s ballot eligibility has been challenged in at least 35 states, as of this reporting.