In a groundbreaking development in Maine politics, State Secretary Shenna Bellows, known for her Democratic affiliation, has recently taken a decisive step by proposing the exclusion of ex-President Donald Trump from Maine’s 2024 GOP primary ballot. This move comes amidst her engagements with the current administration, including two notable visits to the White House in 2023.
Bellows, who has represented Maine’s 14th district and assumed the Secretary of State role since 2021, first visited the White House in March to participate in a Women’s History Month event. During this visit, she had the opportunity to meet President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, an experience she enthusiastically shared on social media, describing it as “amazing.”
The significance of this visit was further highlighted through a press statement released by Bellows’ office, emphasizing the honor of joining national female leaders in commemorating Women’s History Month with President Biden and Vice President Harris. Bellows expressed her aspiration to witness more women achieving ‘firsts’ in leadership roles, celebrating their contributions to American history.
June saw Bellows making a second trip to the White House, this time part of a delegation organized by Issue One Reform, a prominent bipartisan political reform group in Washington D.C. The focus of this meeting, which included several election officials, was on enhancing election infrastructure and safeguarding election workers. Bellows’ participation underscored her commitment to bi-partisan cooperation and electoral integrity.
In a column for the Democracy Docket, Bellows had previously expressed concern over the state of American democracy post-2020 election, advocating for more accessible voting and critiquing the Electoral College as an outdated system that undermines fair representation.
Bellows’ decision to seek Trump’s disqualification from the Maine ballot, citing the 14th Amendment’s provision against individuals who have engaged in insurrection, mirrors a similar recent ruling in Colorado. This controversial stance has sparked debate within both the Republican and Democratic circles. While some, like Representative Jared Golden, acknowledge Trump’s controversial role in the January 6 events, they emphasize adherence to legal processes and the necessity of a formal conviction for ballot exclusion.
In defending her decision, Bellows underscored the significance of the January 6 events as an attack on the rule of law and democratic institutions. She interpreted the 14th Amendment as addressing engagement in insurrection, not necessarily requiring a formal conviction, to justify her ruling.
This bold move by Bellows has not only highlighted her political convictions but also positioned her at the forefront of a significant constitutional debate, with potential implications for the upcoming presidential election cycle.