Possible rewording: Maine's Republican primary ballot may not include Chris Christie as a candidate.

Possible rewording: Maine’s Republican primary ballot may not include Chris Christie as a candidate.

Former governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, may not be listed on the primary ballot in Maine because he did not receive the required 2,000 signatures from Maine voters to qualify for the state’s Republican presidential primary. This was announced by state officials on Friday.

According to a letter sent by Heidi M. Peckham, the Director of Elections in Maine, Christie’s campaign only submitted “844 names certified by municipal registrars.” Candidates were required to have their signatures certified by the municipal clerks before submitting them to the Secretary of State’s office by 5 p.m. on Friday.

Christie has a timeframe of five days to challenge the ruling in the Maine Superior Court.

The potential candidates for the GOP primary election include previous President Donald Trump, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, former Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, Governor Doug Burgum of North Dakota, and pastor Ryan Binkley.

On the Democratic side, Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota, who launched his campaign

In October of this year, President Biden will appear on the primary ballot for his party.

The competitions have been scheduled for March 5th, 2024, commonly referred to as Super Tuesday, when the largest number of state primaries or caucuses take place on one day during the election period.

Maine’s Secretary of State’s office has announced that the upcoming presidential primary election will be the first to take place under the state’s new semi-open primary law. This new process permits unenrolled voters, or those with no party affiliation, to participate in any party’s primary. However, individuals registered with a specific party, such as Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, or Green Independent, must switch their party affiliation at least 15 days prior to the election if they wish to vote in a different party’s primary.

Those unenrolled voters make up a significant portion of Maine’s total registered voters. In 2022, they accounted for 265,692 of 929,017 voters, or just over 28% of registered voters, according to available state data.

Similar to its New England neighbor, New Hampshire also has a large independent voting block. Christie has centered his campaign on trying to win in the Granite State, and has made the case that performing well in New Hampshire is his path to the nomination. With low favorability ratings among Republicans, his strategy has been about appealing to independents in the first-in-the-nation primary state. 

The strategy also goes beyond New Hampshire. Christie’s campaign manager, Maria Comella, laid out the campaign’s thinking in a memo to donors.

“After a natural narrowing of the field, Christie has emerged as the main alternative to Trump. According to Comella, there are multiple state primaries where independents have the opportunity to participate. If Trump’s support remains below 50%, Christie has the potential to secure delegates in states where he may not win.”

Despite Christie potentially closing the gap on Trump’s lead or causing an upset in New Hampshire, the setback in Maine could complicate this plan.

Source: cbsnews.com