Newsom discourages attempts to prevent Trump from appearing on California ballot

Several California politicians hastily moved to accelerate efforts to declare Donald Trump ineligible for the presidency following the recent ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court.

LOS ANGELES — Governor Gavin Newsom has a message for California politicians eager to emulate Colorado’s move to bar former President Donald Trump from the ballot: Take it easy.

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled this week that Trump was ineligible to run for president due to his involvement in the January 6 insurrection. This decision energized efforts across the country, including in California, to disqualify the former president for violating the 14th Amendment.

However, in a statement on Friday afternoon, Newsom signaled to his fellow California Democrats not to jump ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court, which will likely be the final arbiter of the decision.z + z + z + z + z

“There is no doubt that Donald Trump is a threat to our liberties and even to our democracy,” Newsom said, “but in California, we defeat candidates at the polls. Everything else is a political distraction.”

His remarks poured cold water on various attempts by elected officials to capitalize on the Colorado decision.

Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, a 2026 gubernatorial candidate, issued a letter urging California Secretary of State Shirley Weber to “explore every legal option” to remove Trump from the ballot. Democratic state Sen. Dave Min, a congressional candidate in Orange County, stated that he would introduce a bill allowing California residents to sue to block ineligible candidates. However, given the legislative calendar, it is nearly impossible for such a measure to be passed and take effect in time for the March 5 presidential primary.

Months before the Colorado ruling, a group of Democratic state legislators had urged California Attorney General Rob Bonta to use his powers to expedite a ruling on Trump’s eligibility to appear on the ballot.z + z + z + z + z

A nationwide legal strategy to bar Trump from eligibility has been unfolding, considering his role on January 6. The Colorado decision, the first in history to disqualify a presidential candidate under the 14th Amendment, immediately prompted some advocates to expedite their efforts. In Michigan, a group of voters suing to keep Trump off the ballot wrote a letter to their state Supreme Court, citing the Colorado decision to support their case.

In Maine, Shenna Bellows, the Democratic secretary of state who is reviewing complaints challenging Trump’s eligibility, invited lawyers on both sides to file supplemental briefs in light of the Colorado decision. She is expected to make a decision next week.