Wyoming Secretary of State Chuck Gray isn’t afraid to get involved in New England politics in defense of former President Donald Trump.
On Thursday, Gray sent a letter to New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan urging him to put Trump on The Granite State’s 2024 presidential election ballot. Gray, who was endorsed by Trump in his 2022 Secretary of State campaign, urged Scanlan, a Republican, to resist partisan politics and “grievances” and to not abuse his power by removing Trump from the ballot.
Scanlan did not immediately respond to Cowboy State Daily’s request for comment.
Gray told Cowboy State Daily he met with Scanlan earlier this year and remains concerned he is considering removing Trump from the ballot.
“It is crucial to communicate concerns with states like New Hampshire, as removal of a candidate from early primary elections will not only affect those states, but will have far-reaching ramifications in other states with later primaries, like Wyoming, and in turn the entire election process,” he said.
There has been a growing movement in recent months by people who say Trump may be ineligible to run for office because of the 14th Amendment, which states that a public official cannot hold office if he was involved in an insurrection.
Supporters of this Section 3 of the 14th Amendment argue that Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election and alleged involvement in causing the Jan. 6 Capitol riot prove that. Since it was ratified in 1868, Section 3 has only been invoked once, in 1919.
“First, I take issue with the extremely broad and overreaching interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment to unilaterally remove a candidate from the ballot before an election,” Gray wrote to Scanlan.
Gray said he plans to communicate with other states regarding this issue.
On Wednesday, a Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group filed a lawsuit on behalf of six Colorado voters to keep Trump off that state’s ballot.
The Connecticut secretary of state was also sent a letter last week, urging her to keep Trump off her state’s ballot, and ABC News reports threats of lawsuits are piling up in Arizona and Michigan to keep Trump off ballots there.
In an interview with ABC News, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, said that she and other secretaries of state from Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire and Maine started having conversations more than a year ago about preparing for legal challenges to Trump's candidacy.
"I'm talking every day with colleagues about this. We're all recognizing that our decisions that we make may in some cases be the first but won't be the last and there may be multiple decision points throughout the course of the election cycle," she said.
Gray Calls It ‘Weaponization Of The 14Th Amendment’
Gray believes Trump did not engage in an insurrection or rebellion and simply questioned the results of the election.
“Lest we are living through some Orwellian dystopia, the weaponization of the Fourteenth Amendment to remove political opponents from the ballot undermines the sanctity of the Constitution and our entire election process,” he writes.
Gray describes the application of the 14th Amendment clause to Trump’s candidacy as an “outrageous legal analysis” that would result in “wide-ranging consequences” for the election processes in other states, including Wyoming.
“Because these unprecedented theories take away the will of the American people and undermine our right to vote, I feel I must use my position to take a stand and speak out against this disgusting strategy of election interference,” he wrote.
Scanlan told the Boston Globe in August that he will seek input from his state’s attorney general’s office to see if Trump is disqualified from participating in the New Hampshire Republican primary. According to local news reports, Scanlan also met with a former Trump-endorsed candidate recently who is mounting a legal campaign to keep Trump off the ballots.
If Trump were withheld from the New Hampshire ballot, it would be a striking blow for his campaign, as the New Hampshire primary is traditionally the first to be held in presidential campaigns. Gray warned Scanlan that removing Trump from the ballot would have “far-reaching ramifications” for other states’ elections and would “artificially” alter the momentum of the race.
Gray finished his letter by reminding Scanlan that the right to vote is sacred in America and that any attack on that right is a strike against representative government.
“We cannot allow authoritarian election officials to use outrageous legal theories to remove their political opponents from the ballot,” he wrote. “To so is not only un-American, it is also shocking to the conscience and utterly sickening.”
Leo Wolfson can be reached at Leo@CowboyStateDaily.com.