CONCORD, N.H. -- The state Ballot Law Commission on Wednesday quickly threw out a former New Hampshire Republican Party chairman's challenge to Donald Trump's eligibility to be on the GOP first-in-the-nation primary ballot.Fergus Cullen, the former head of the New Hampshire's Republican Party, is currently a columnist for the state's influential Union Leader newspaper as well as the founder of a pro-immigration group called Americans by Choice. His genius idea was to try to get the guy who's leading the New Hampshire polls by double digits thrown off the ballot, claiming he's not really a Republican, even though voter registration records show that he is. And there's reason to suspect Cullen wasn't acting alone:
After a hearing that lasted about two minutes, the five-member commission voted unanimously that the challenge filed by Fergus Cullen was without merit because New York state election records clearly show that Trump is a registered Republican in that state.
"Why are we here?" commission chairman Brad Cook asked Cullen....
"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 share it with us."
Cullen replied, "I do not have that information."
Cullen said he filed the complaint on his own behalf. He also said a super PAC promoting Ohio Gov. John Kasich for president, A New Day for America, was aware that he would be filing the complaint before he did so and is “on the same page” believing that Trump is not a true Republican.” Cullen, however, said he is not supporting Kasich, or any candidate, for president at the moment.The Trump campaign believes there's a Kasich-Cullen link:
Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, in a statement to the Union Leader, suggested that Cullen works for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican rival far behind Trump in the polls....New Day for America, as I told you yesterday, is both a super PAC and the epicenter of a major effort to bring down Trump using $2.5 million is right-wing billionaire cash.
In response to Lewandowski's claim, Cullen said he is not working for Kasich, and that he so far remains uncommitted. He and his wife Jenny held a house party for Kasich last weekend. He has also held events for Jeb Bush and Lindsey Graham.
Is Trump a "true Republican"? He wasn't in the past -- but by now Republicanism and Trumpism are pretty much the same. Roughly a quarter of GOP voters love Trump and plan to vote for him -- and this GOP Establishment figure's response to that is to try to deny those people their democratic choice, based on an evidence-free assertion that Trump isn't eligible. And the guy throwing out this allegation is a pro-immigration activist.
Is this a deliberate attempt to make Trump bolt the GOP and run third party, as he's threatening to do again, with the distinct possibility that he'll take angry voters with him? Is that what Cullen wants? Is that what Kasich and the folks at his PAC want?
Well, if they keep this up, that's what they'll get. Pass the popcorn.