As deadline nears, 7 Democrats are qualified for Maine’s Presidential ballot, but big names missing

Sen. Bernie Sanders, left, has qualified for Maine’s Presidential primary ballot. Sanders submitted his qualifying signatures first, but a couple days later President Donald Trump submitted what is likely to be the largest number of signatures, by far.

AUGUSTA – To qualify for Maine’s Super Tuesday March Presidential primary ballot, a candidate for President must submit 2,000 certified petition signatures from Maine voters of their party. So far, only six Democrats, along with President Trump, have qualified, according to the Maine Secretary of State.

President Trump qualified for the ballot with what is likely to be the largest number of signatures, submitting 4,233 to the Maine Secretary of State on December 13, after a short collection period. Trump Victory officials said the signatures were gathered by about 270 volunteers in about 145 towns across Maine’s sixteen counties.

On the Democratic Party side, the Maine Secretary of State’s office announced on December 11 that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg had qualified for the ballot. On December 12, Andrew Yang also qualified. Buttigieg qualified with 3,023 signatures and Sanders officially qualified with 2,810 signatures. Yang’s team put him on the ballot with 2,343 signatures.

On December 17, two more candidates, Senators Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren, officially qualified for the ballot. Since then, two more candidates, former VP Joe Biden and Marianne Williamson, have also qualified.

Noticeably absent from the list of qualified candidates are former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, billionaire fossil fuel executive turned environmentalist Tom Steyer, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and former Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick.

Bloomberg has a history in Maine, famously funding anti-gun referenda that have been defeated at the ballot box. Bloomberg is currently outspending his opponents by wide margins with massive television ad buys, but some Democrats have suggested he is not putting forward a 50-state effort to win the nomination. Bloomberg’s approach, they say, could lead the DNC down the path of a brokered convention and a devastating political fight in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the month of July.

The deadline for submitting signatures to qualify for Maine’s ballot is Monday, December 23 at 5 pm.

The signature gathering requirements in Maine, while lower than some other states, do present some challenges. Signature gatherers must have all petitions notarized and the signatures verified by the town clerk in whichever of Maine’s more than 400 municipalities a voter lives.

The process also can be challenging due to the relatively short timeline, from November into December, when Maine’s weather quickly changes and snowstorms and below freezing temperatures can be a challenge to signature collectors.

Reports from the field indicate other Democratic Presidential candidates have teams collecting signatures in this final weekend before Christmas and the deadline.

List of officially qualified Presidential candidates from Maine Secretary of State.

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