A recent ruling by a federal judge has dismissed a legal challenge aimed at preventing 45th President Donald Trump from appearing on the ballot in New Mexico. The case, brought forward by John Anthony Castro, was rejected due to Castro’s lack of standing. Notably, Castro, who is also a presidential candidate and was recently indicted on charges related to false tax returns, is appealing the decision.
Castro’s legal action against Trump and New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver was part of a broader effort to derail Trump’s potential 2024 presidential run. He based his argument on the Insurrection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. However, Judge Matthew Garcia dismissed the case, stating that Castro lacked “political competitor standing” to Trump.
In his ruling, Judge Garcia elaborated on the concept of “political competitor standing,” which suggests a candidate has the standing to challenge an allegedly ineligible rival’s inclusion on the ballot if it harms their chances of winning. Garcia concluded that Castro’s campaign activities, which included small campaign donations and an online video show, did not establish him as a legitimate political competitor to Trump.
Garcia further noted that Castro had not shown he was genuinely competing with Trump for votes or contributions, nor that Trump’s presence on the ballot would impact his chances of securing the nomination in New Mexico. He pointed out Castro’s absence in national polls and lack of concrete evidence of campaign activities or support within New Mexico.
The judge deemed the complaint futile and dismissed the case without prejudice, citing a lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Consequently, related motions by Castro were also rendered moot.
Following the dismissal, Trump’s campaign spokesman Steven Cheung released a statement highlighting Trump’s undefeated record against 14th Amendment claims in federal court. Cheung criticized Democrats for attempting to “steal the election” by legally trying to remove Trump from ballots, alleging these efforts were driven by desperation due to Joe Biden’s perceived failures. He expressed confidence in Trump’s chances in a fair election.
The case, Castro v. Toulouse Oliver, No.1:23-cv-00766-MLG-GJF, was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Mexico.