A federal judge has blocked an effort to remove President Donald Trump from the 2024 Republican primary ballot in West Virginia.
The bid was pushed in a lawsuit by John Anthony Castro.
Castro, who claims to be a Republican, is the little-known presidential candidate who has unsuccessfully run for several political offices.
However, Obama-appointed District Judge Irene Berger ruled that Castro lacked standing in his lawsuit to remove Trump.
The decision comes days after Colorado’s Supreme Court removed Trump from the state’s ballots.
The Democrat justices claim Trump is ineligible to appear on the state’s ballot under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.
The move has likely set up a U.S. Supreme Court review of the issue.
Judge Berger wrote in her decision:
“The evidence establishes that [Castro] has no campaign offices, staff, or advertising in West Virginia, does not appear in polling, has little name recognition among West Virginia Republican primary voters, and has extremely minimal campaign funds, vastly insufficient to run an actual campaign.
“If there were any question as to whether the allegations in the complaint are sufficient to overcome a facial challenge, the evidentiary submissions remove any doubt that Mr. Castro’s purported ‘campaign’ exists as a vehicle for pursuing litigation, not votes.”
Federal judges in Arizona and Rhode Island likewise found Castro lacked standing.
They noted that Castro is not seriously running for office.
In October, the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of a case Castro brought in Florida.
In the West Virginia case attempting to kick President Trump off the ballot, we have prevailed. Strong victory for our Office and the rule of law!
Colorado should learn from the wisdom of our courts!
— Patrick Morrisey (@MorriseyWV) December 21, 2023
Republican West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey praised the judge’s ruling in a statement, according to News and Sentinel.
“This is a big win for the integrity of our elections,” Morrisey said.
“This lawsuit was frivolous to begin with and without merit – it had no basis in either law or fact.
“Any eligible candidate has the right to be on the ballot unless legally disqualified, and we will defend the laws of West Virginia and the right of voters and candidates to the fullest.”
The Colorado Supreme Court put its ruling against Trump on hold until Jan. 4.
If Trump files an appeal before that date, the ruling will remain paused and the Secretary of State will be required to place his name on the ballot on the Jan. 5 certification deadline, as long as the justices do not intervene.
In Colorado, the lawsuit to remove Trump was brought by the left-wing donor-backed group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).