Shenna Bellows, the Democratic secretary of state of Maine, has made the contentious choice to not include former president Donald Trump in the state’s forthcoming presidential primary election, which is a new twist in Maine’s political scene. This action stemmed from a reading of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which forbids a person who has participated in an insurrection from being a public official.
A coalition of Democratic and Republican ex-legislators in Maine challenged Trump’s eligibility, leading to the ruling. Their worries were based on Trump’s purported role in insurgency plots.
In their response to the ruling, Trump’s legal team criticized Secretary Bellows, citing her previous social media remarks as grounds for their complaint. According to their reasoning, Bellows’s statements about the Capitol attack being called a “insurrection” and his regret that the Senate did not find Trump guilty after the House impeached him showed bias. An associate of Trump’s, Steven Cheung, slammed Bellows, accusing her of being a radical leftist and partisan meddling in the election.
As an effort to rig the election and keep Americans from exercising their right to vote, Cheung denounced the move. He framed the quest to remove Trump’s name from ballots as an assault on American democratic norms and accused Democrats in “blue states” of adopting unlawful tactics to do so. The Republican Party of Maine shared these views, and they accused Bellows of undermining democracy with her independent stand against Trump.
The decision was criticized by Democratic Representative Jared Golden of Maine, who had previously backed Trump’s impeachment. He said that judicial procedures are crucial and that Trump should be allowed to vote until he is formally found guilty of insurrection. In a similar vein, Maine Senator Susan Collins voiced her dismay that this ruling would strip Maine voters of the opportunity to select the candidate of their choice.
As required by Maine law, Bellows conducted a public hearing as part of the legal process for this decision. Given the importance of the decision handed down by the Colorado Supreme Court on December 19, this December hearing provided an opportunity for more arguments on both sides. The decision in Colorado disqualified Trump from voting in that state because it likewise used Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.
As a result, Bellows has put her finding on hold until the Superior Court of Maine makes a ruling. The decision takes on much more weight due to the fact that Maine’s electoral votes can be divided, thanks to its distinctive voting procedure. The 2024 election, especially if Trump becomes the Republican nominee, might be significantly affected by his decision not to run in Maine. When you consider that Trump won the state of Maine with one electoral vote in 2020, this becomes much more significant.
Similar concerns have been voiced in other states, and the dispute in Maine is reflective of that. These challenges have sparked nationwide discussions regarding Trump’s eligibility, with the U.S. Supreme Court anticipated to determine the question in the end. They have also cited the 14th Amendment.