NH rejects efforts to keep Trump, Sanders off ballot

Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders
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A New Hampshire agency has rejected efforts to keep four presidential candidates off the ballot. 

The New Hampshire Ballot Commission upheld New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner’s decision to allow Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersEconomists argue for taxing trades Sanders signs autographs as Clinton makes surprise showing on stage Obama makes case for Clinton to succeed him MORE (I-Vt.) on the Democratic primary ballot and Sens. Ted CruzTed CruzGrassroots battling establishment on trade at conventions Fixing the disastrous nomination process Attacking Trump for the few sensible things he says is bad strategy MORE (R-Texas) and Marco RubioMarco RubioGroups unendorse Grayson after domestic violence allegations Trump postpones Hispanic roundtable Tim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense MORE (R-Fla.), as well as real estate mogul Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump campaign dismisses Dem attacks as ‘night of empty rhetoric’ Obama makes case for Clinton to succeed him FULL SPEECH: President Obama at the Democratic convention MORE on the GOP primary ballot. Commission Chairman Bradford Cook said all decisions were unanimous. 

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The decision on Sanders came in response to a complaint that argued was he was ineligible to run as a Democrat because he was elected and currently serves as an Independent. 

Sanders’s campaign praised the decision to allow him on the Democratic ballot. 

"The commission's ruling today ensures Bernie's name will be on the New Hampshire ballot, and puts this issue to bed for good,” Sanders’s New Hampshire state director, Julia Barnes, said in a statement.

Cook said that Andy Martin, who filed the Sanders complaint, has already sent an appeal to the New Hampshire Supreme Court, but explained that the commission's decisions can't be appealed.

"From a statutory point of view, our decisions are final and can't be appealed," Cook said. 

Former New Hampshire GOP Chairman Fergus Cullen filed a complaint against Trump, arguing that the real estate mogul isn't aligned with the Republican Party's values. But the commission quickly dismissed the challenge and voted for Trump to appear on the GOP ballot.

"The Trump thing was, no pun intended, trumped up," Cook said.

Two complaints were filed against Cruz. The first one challenged whether the GOP presidential hopeful was a "natural born citizen" — a constitutional requirement to run for president — citing that he was born in Calgary, Canada.

The second alleged that Cruz and Rubio didn't have at least one parent who was a U.S. citizen. Rubio’s parents were born in Cuba and immigrated to the United States in 1956. The commission dismissed both complaints and voted to allow those candidates to be placed on the GOP ballot. 

Trump leads the GOP field in the early-voting state, ahead of his rivals by nearly 15 points, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls. Rubio and Cruz are in second and third place, respectively.

Sanders trails former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonEconomists argue for taxing trades Sanders signs autographs as Clinton makes surprise showing on stage Coincidence? Obama spoke for 44 minutes, Clinton for 42 MORE in New Hampshire by 4.3 points, according to the RCP average.  

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