A former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party has formally challenged Donald Trump's place on his state's first-in-the-nation presidential primary ballot, suggesting the New York businessman is not a Republican.
Working with the super PAC supporting Ohio Governor John Kasich, Fergus Cullen filed the complaint Monday with the state's Ballot Law Commission.
In a six-page letter to the commission, Cullen argued Trump did not provide proof he is a Republican and should be required to do so "because his views expressed over decades, are inconsistent with the Republican Party Platform and the Republican Party of New Hampshire's statement of principles and bylaws."
The formal complaint was filed with the New Hampshire Secretary of State's office minutes before the deadline. The Ballot Law Commission, a bipartisan and ad hoc panel, is scheduled to meet Tuesday morning to consider challenges to the presidential primary ballot.
The commission is also scheduled to consider two other challenges: Whether US Senator Ted Cruz is a natural born citizen of the United States (he was born in Canada) and whether US Senator Bernie Sanders is a member of the Democratic party (he's run as an independent in his home state of Vermont)
New Hampshire state law requires candidates to say they are registered members of the party in which they are seeking the nomination. Trump has been a registered Republican since April 2012.
That may not be the point for Kasich's backers. They would like the opportunity to point out that Trump has been a registered Democrat and independent in the past, as well as supported abortion rights and a single-payer health care system.
Also in the past, Trump has complimented the Democratic presidential frontrunner, Hillary Clinton. He has said he does not hold those views today.
"Like many other Republicans, we question Donald Trump's conservative credentials and are happy to support Mr. Cullen's efforts to challenge Trump's standing on the New Hampshire Republican primary ballot," said Connie Wehrkamp, a spokesperson for Kasich's super PAC, New Day For America. "Unlike Trump, Ohio Governor John Kasich is a proven conservative who will stand up for the values Republicans hold dear."
"Fergus Cullen works for John Kasich who is embarrassed by how poorly he is doing in all polls," said Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. "Mr. Trump was the first candidate to file, the filing is flawless, and Mr. Trump is leading in all national and state polls.
"To file such a document against the person who is not only the frontrunner, but leading by tremendous margins is outrageous. If anything like this would ever happen Mr. Trump's supporters would probably riot in the streets of New Hampshire."
James Pindell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jamespindell. Click here to subscribe to his daily e-mail update on the 2016 campaign.