Nov 24, 2015 10:32 PM
NH1 Political Director - NH1.com
CONCORD – A move by a former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party to strip Donald Trump from the first-in-the-nation primary ballot because the GOP presidential front runner has not proven that he’s a registered Republican was quickly shot down on Tuesday.
Twenty four hours after Fergus Cullen filed a last minute complaint stating that Trump’s “views, expressed over decades, are inconsistent with the Republican Party Platform and the Republican Party of New Hampshire’s Statement of Principles and Bylaws,” the Ballot Law Commission ruled against him.
Cullen, who chaired the NHGOP in 2007 and 2008, and who this year has been a frequent and vocal critic of Trump, told the commission that “there’s lots of evidence that Donald Trump’s not a Republican. He certainly does not represent the views of the Republican Party.”
After two minutes of testimony, commission chairman Brad Cook asked Cullen “why are we here?”
"You are challenging someone's filing," Cook said. "This commission is not the forum for speeches or electioneering or advancing any other candidate. If you have any information that he is not in fact a Republican, then please share it with us."
Cullen responded “I do not have that information. No.”
The five-member commission then unanimously voted that Cullen’s challenge was without merit, and seconds later Cook announced “case dismissed.”
Trump was a registered Republican in the 1980’s and 1990’s, but spent much of the past decade as a registered Democrat. He re-registered as a Republican in 2009 and again in 2012. And the New York State official elections website currently has Trump listed as a registered Republican.
Following the hearing, Cook told reporters that “when somebody’s filing for president of the United States, it takes a pretty overwhelming head of steam to deny New Hampshire voters the opportunity to vote for somebody.”
“That was grandstanding of the first order,” he added.
Although Cullen lost his bid to remove Trump from the ballot, he continue to fire away, saying “he’s just using the Republican Party for as long as it suits his needs.”
And he argued that “we cannot ignore Donald Trump’s totalitarian tendencies.”
Cullen did admit that “I’ve been in contact with John Kasich’s super PAC but I’m not supporting any one candidate.”
That super PAC, New Day for America, which is backing the Ohio governor’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination, did support Cullen’s move. The super PAC, which last week went up with the first of what it says will be more than $2 million in ads in New Hampshire slamming Trump, also questioned the GOP front runner’s credentials.
“Like many other Republicans, we question Donald Trump’s conservative credentials and are happy to support Mr. Cullen’s efforts to challenge Trump’s standing on the New Hampshire Republican primary ballot,” New Day for America press secretary Connie Wehrkamp told NH1 News on Monday.
Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski Monday night slammed Cullen and Kasich.
“Fergus Cullen works for John Kasich who is embarrassed by how poorly he is doing in all polls. Mr. Trump was the first candidate to file, the filing is flawless, and Mr. Trump is leading in all national and state polls. Most importantly, he is leading by nineteen points in New Hampshire with 32% of the vote. Additionally, in the latest FOX News poll, Mr. Trump easily beats Hillary Clinton one on one,” wrote Lewandowski.
“Number one, Mr. Trump’s views do comport with the Republican party and number two, from a constitutional stand point, there is such a thing as freedom of speech. To file such a document against the person who is not only the frontrunner, but leading by tremendous margins is outrageous. If anything like this would ever happen Mr. Trump’s supporters would probably riot in the streets of New Hampshire. This is yet another attempt by the failed GOP establishment to keep Mr. Trump off the ballot because they know he is the only one who can Make America Great Again,” Lewandowski added.
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