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Trump certified for Republican Primary...

Trump certified for Republican Primary ballot in Mississippi

By: Sarah Ulmer - January 4, 2024

President Donald Trump welcomes Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, left, to the stage at a rally at BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Miss., Friday, Nov. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Across the nation, other states have attempted to prohibit Trump from appearing on primary ballots this year.

On Wednesday, the official letter certifying Donald J. Trump for the ballot in the Magnolia State was signed by Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson.

The letter verifies the receipt of the Qualifying Statement of Intent and Presidential Primary Preference Primary Candidate Petition given to the Mississippi Republican Executive Committee. The qualifying paperwork met the guidelines under Mississippi law, thus approving Trump to appear on the March 12, 2024, Republican Primary ballot.

Letter from the Secretary of State certifying Donald Trump for the GOP ballot in Mississippi.

Any person who plans to appear on the Republican or Democratic primary ballot in a presidential race in Mississippi must pay a qualifying fee of $25,000 to their respective State Party Executive Committee, per the Secretary of State’s 2024 Qualifying Guide. The candidate must also file a petition or petitions in support of their candidacy with the state executive committee of the appropriate political party. Petitions must have no less than 500 signatures from qualified electors of the state or 100 signatures of qualified electors of each congressional district.

On Tuesday, Governor Tate Reeves and Congressman Michael Guest both thanked volunteers who collected signatures at the Mississippi GOP headquarters in Jackson.

“We know that today represents all of us coming together to take a major step forward in our effort to make America great again,” said Governor Reeves on Tuesday. “At the end of the day, the reason President Trump is going to win, is really pretty simple. Because people all across America and Mississippi know that the money they had in their pocket went a whole lot further than what they have in their pocket today.”

Republican leaders across the state, including seven of the eight statewide officials, both of the state’s U.S. Senators, and three of the four U.S. Representatives, have endorsed Trump for President in 2024.

Secretary of State Watson, a Republican, was not among the Magnolia State officials to endorse Trump as his office is tasked with overseeing elections.

READ MORE: Mississippi Republican leaders rally behind Trump ahead of March Primary

Across the nation, other states have attempted to prohibit Trump from appearing on primary ballots this year. His legal team has announced that they would be appealing the decisions in Colorado and Maine to ban him from being on the primary ticket.

In Colorado, the state’s Supreme Court ruled Trump ineligible to appear on the ballot, while in Maine the decision to prevent his participation was made by the Secretary of State. In both cases, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment – the “insurrection” or disqualification clause – was cited to remove Trump.

Secretary Watson told reporters on Wednesday that it is within the authority of Maine’s Secretary of State to determine if someone is qualified to be on the ballot. However, Watson said he did not agree with her actions.

“Different states work different ways. In Mississippi, I’m the one that makes the determination as to whether someone is qualified to be on the ballot or not,” said Watson. “She was within her authority to do so. I just think she made the wrong decision.”

FILE – Republican Secretary of State Michael Watson addresses the crowd at the pavilion in Founders Square at the Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia, Miss., July 28, 2022. Watson filed qualifying papers on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, to seek a second term as Mississippi’s top elections official. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File – Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

In the event Trump plans to withdraw his name from the ballot, an affidavit must be filed before the printing of the sample ballots.

Trump is currently the front-runner for the Republican nomination, far outpacing his closest challengers Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley by double-digits nationally.

About the Author(s)
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Sarah Ulmer

Sarah is a Mississippi native, born and raised in Madison. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she studied Communications, with an emphasis in Broadcasting and Journalism. Sarah’s experience spans multiple mediums, including extensive videography with both at home and overseas, broadcasting daily news, and hosting a live radio show. In 2017, Sarah became a member of the Capitol Press Corp in Mississippi and has faithfully covered the decisions being made by leaders on some of the most important issues facing our state. Email Sarah: