Trump to stay on primary ballot
Last updated 1/22/2024 at 12:30pm
By Mary Murphy and Aspen Anderson
It was still dark outside when people with MAGA hats and anti-Trump signs gathered outside the entrance of the Thurston County Courthouse Jan. 18.
A court filing that would push former President Donald Trump off the primary ballot in Washington State was the issue that drew them.
Alexis Wallace showed up early displaying a cardboard sign that read, "What happened to: "Our democracy?" Ha Ha Ha." Wallace is a precinct committee officer from Thurston County.
"All the progressives and Democrats are always screaming, 'Our democracy, our democracy' and here they are taking away our democracy," Wallace said. "We are here supporting our President, President Trump."
Neil Peck, an artist from Olympia stood outside of the courtroom bright and early with a sign that displayed the former president's mugshot with a large red X painted over it.
"Donald Trump is the greatest criminal that has ever set foot in the United States," Peck said. "No insurrectionist shall hold any office under the United States. This is the time to exercise what the Constitution says to follow the democratic framework. If enough people think it's OK we should disregard the Constitution and allow an insurrectionist to run for president? No."
The issue in the case is similar to other actions brought across the United States. The 14th Amendment to the U.S. The Constitution bars from federal office any officer of the United States who participates in an insurrection. The amendment was adopted following the Civil War to bar people from the Confederacy from serving.
In the end, Judge Mary Sue Wilson made short work of the request by Port Orchard middle school teacher Frankey Ithaka.
"The court is denying the request of the petitioner electors to take any action that would direct the Secretary of State to remove former president Donald J. Trump's name from presidential primary ballots," Wilson said in her ruling.
Explaining her verdict, Wilson cited arguments from GOP lawyer Joel B. Ard who argued the 14th amendment is not applicable. Wilson also said the amendment could not apply to primary elections, only general elections.
"The court is going to dismiss the case without prejudice today, reflecting that there is no dispute to go forward any further in this court, but that is subject to petitioners, or other petitioners, when it is ripe potentially pursuing issues related to the general election ballot," Wilson said.
Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, speaking for the state GOP chair, called the lawsuit a "silly action."
"The spirit of this is bad," Walsh said. "This is antidemocratic and is an attempt to use an eccentric reading of the law and a lawsuit to mess with the democratic process, and we are very strongly opposed."
The suit filed here is similar to others filed around the United States. Two states have issued decisions to remove the former president from the ballot. Those decisions await a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.