The Republican candidates vying for a chance to run against U.S. Rep. Jared Golden in Maine’s conservative 2nd Congressional District are calling on Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows to resign or be impeached following her controversial decision to rule former President Donald Trump ineligible for election in Maine.
Rep. Michael Soboleski (R-Phillips) and Rep. Austin L. Theriault (R-Fort Kent) have both come out in staunch opposition to Secretary Bellows for her ruling on the challenges to former President’s Trump’s eligibility to appear on Maine’s ballot, as both look to capitalize on a decision that angered Trump voters through northern Maine.
Shortly after the release of Bellows’ ruling, another member of the Maine State Legislature — Rep. John Andrews (R-Paris) — announced that he had filed a request with the Maine Revisor’s Office for a Joint Order to impeach Bellows for disqualifying Trump from the ballot.
Rep. Andrews is currently serving as a member of the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee — the Committee that has jurisdiction over elections and the Secretary of State’s Office.
“This is hyper-partisanship on full display,” Andrews wrote on Facebook announcing his impeachment filing. “A Secretary of State APPOINTED by legislative Democrats bans President Trump from the 2024 ballot so that she can jockey for position in the 2026 Democrat Primary for Governor. Banana Republic isn’t just a store at the mall.”
Andrews also shared in this post an excerpt of the letter he filed with the Revisor’s Office.
“I wish to file a Joint Order, or whichever is the proper parliamentary mechanism under Mason’s Rules, to impeach Secretary of State Shenna Bellows,” the letter reads. “I wish to impeach Secretary Bellows on the grounds that she is barring an American citizen and 45th President of the United States, who is convicted of no crime or impeachment, their right to appear on a Maine Republican Primary ballot.”
“Donald J. Trump has met all qualifications for the March 2024 Republican Presidential Primary. He should be allowed on the ballot,” Andrews’ letter concludes. “This is raw partisanship and has no place in the offices of our state’s Constitutional Officers.”
Rep. Soboleski — who earlier this month filed a formal letter of intervention in defense of the former president’s right to appear on the state’s ballot — issued a statement Friday explicitly supporting Andrews’ efforts to impeach the Secretary.
“The Maine people deserve an electoral process that is fair, simple, and transparent. Shenna Bellows has failed the Maine people,” Soboleski said in a statement. “She has deprived all Republicans and Unenrolled/Independent voters of the right to vote for a candidate who successfully qualified for the 2024 Primary Ballot.”
“Obstructing President Trump’s access to our Presidential Ballot is to blatantly disenfranchise the voters,” Soboleski continued. “Shenna Bellows is not operating as a non-partisan elected official; instead, her actions are those of a Democrat operative seeking to help Joe Biden’s re-election campaign.”
“She has failed to fulfill her duties faithfully as Secretary of State,” Soboleski concluded. “Therefore, I will support impeachment procedures to remove her from office.”
Secretary Shenna Bellows, by herself, has disenfranchised close to 400,000 Maine voters.— Mike Soboleski for Congress (@mike_soboleski) December 29, 2023
We can't stand for this!
I fought against it at President Trump's hearing, now I'm asking you to join me in demanding Bellows be Impeached!
Add your name to support Impeaching Shenna…
Rep. Theriault released a similar statement on Friday, in which he also called upon Rep. Golden (D-ME) to sign onto a letter asking Bellows to resign from her position.
“Last night, Donald Trump was thrown off the ballot in Maine by Secretary of State Shenna Bellows,” Theriault said. “She’s a far left political activist once named the most progressive U.S. Senate candidate in America.”
“Bellows is subverting democracy and she should either resign or be impeached,” Theriault continued. “The voters cannot trust her. Her decision was not the result of some independent investigation — it was the result of her political beliefs.”
“That’s why I’m sending her a letter asking her to resign immediately,” Theriault said. “I’m also asking my opponent, Jared Golden, to sign this letter. This is a time for bipartisan condemnation of Bellows’ attack on voters and the fundamental principles of democracy.”
.@RepGolden: join my call for Shenna Bellows to resign!— Austin Theriault (@AustinTheriault) December 29, 2023
She’s subverting democracy in Maine and the voters can’t trust her.
Jared Golden may talk the talk when it’s politically convenient, but will he walk the walk? Here’s the letter – we’ll see what Golden decides to do. pic.twitter.com/jIrBVLbfsi
While Rep. Golden has not responded to Theriault’s call for Bellows’ removal or resignation, he did issue a prior statement in opposition to the Secretary’s decision to remove Trump from Maine’s primary ballot.
“I voted to impeach Donald Trump for his role in the January 6 insurrection. I do not believe he should be re-elected as President of the United States,” Golden wrote last night on X. “However, we are a nation of laws, therefore until he is actually found guilty of the crime of insurrection, he should be allowed on the ballot.”
My statement on the Maine Secretary of State's ruling: pic.twitter.com/ByO3XJe1JS— Congressman Jared Golden (@RepGolden) December 29, 2023
The former president has five days from the issuance of Bellows’ ruling to appeal her decision by taking action in Maine’s Superior Court.
In the meantime, Bellows “has suspended the effect of her decision” until the court rules on any appeal, or the time to appeal has expired, meaning primary ballots will still be printed with Trump’s name on them.
Although this has not yet occurred, Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement the former president’s team intends to “quickly file a legal objection in state court” in hopes of overturning the Secretary’s decision.