Following the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision to remove former President Donald Trump from the state’s GOP primary ballot, the Maine Wire contacted all 153 Maine state lawmakers individually to ask their opinions on the issue and its relation to a similar case to be decided in Maine.
While most Republicans were critical of the decision made by four unelected judges, Democrats by and large supported the move to prevent pro-Trump Coloradans from voting for their preferred candidate.
The four judges who supported removing Trump from the ballot did so because they believe he participated in an “insurrection”; however, Trump has never been convicted by the U.S. Senate or any court for charges related to insurrection.
“Unfortunately, as many Mainers struggle to have power restored, Democrats are hard at work taking power away from the people,” said House Minority Leader Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham (R-Winter Harbor).
“Under cover of the Christmas holiday, bureaucrats are about to take away the public’s right to choose a candidate or the type of car they drive,” Rep. Faulkingham said. “Freedom is under siege on multiple fronts.”
Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows will decide on former President Trump’s eligibility for Maine’s Ballot on Friday, following letters contesting his eligibility submitted by two former legislators and former socialist Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling.
Faulkingham and multiple other Republicans responded with harsh criticism of Colorado’s decision and disgust that a similar measure is being considered in Maine.
“The decision in Colorado is anathema to keeping a well functioning Republic going. Blocking people they don’t like from ballot access is nothing new for Democrats. They’ve been doing that since the days of Jim Crow in the reconstruction South,” said Rep. John Andrews (R-Paris)
“It’s ironic that those who say that Donald Trump is a threat to democracy are actually they themselves a threat to democracy by trying to keep him off,” said Assistant Republican Leader Rep. Amy Arata (R- New Gloucester)
Other Republicans, such as Rep. Danny Costain (R-Plymouth) and Larry Dunphy (R-Embden), expressed concerns that the recent Colorado decision represented a politicization of the judicial system.
They believe that the Colorado court’s decision ought to have been in the hands of voters, who should be free to vote for Trump or not without judicial interference.
“I think we’re politicizing our judiciary, and I think that’s a dangerous route,” said Rep. Dunphy.
Although most Republicans who responded to requests for comment expressed a strong support for Trump’s right to appear on the ballot, a few, such as Rep. Scott Cyrway (R-Albion), had no opinion on the issue.
One Republican, Rep. Joseph Galletta (R-Durham), even expressed trust in the justice of the Colorado court’s decision.
“I have to believe that the [Colorado] Supreme Court is following the letter of the law,” said Rep. Galletta.
Following calls and emails from Maine Wire reporters, the Maine GOP sent out an email press release supporting Trump’s right to appear on Maine’s ballot.
“Maine Law and the US Constitution define who is eligible to be on our ballot, not a failed liberal Mayor or a couple of disgruntled former legislators trying to get their names in the headlines,” said Executive Director of the Maine Republican Party Jason Savage.
Fewer Democrats responded to emails or calls, and most of those who did were reluctant to give a committed opinion on the issue.
Rep. Michael Brennan (D-Portland) said that he did not have enough specific information on the Colorado court decision to give an opinion.
“I haven’t been able to study the opinion in Colorado in great detail and I don’t know the situation in Colorado,” said Rep. Brennan.
Rep. Poppy Arford (D-Brunswick) said that she would provide the Maine Wire with comment, but failed to respond before the deadline.
Rep. Ron Russell (D-Verona Island) believed that the issue would ultimately be decided by the U.S Supreme Court, and that he did not have the legal knowledge to give an opinion.
Another Democrat, Rep. Valli Geiger (D-Rockland) answered a call from a Maine Wire reporter, but then refused to comment because she thinks that Maine Wire makes liberals look bad.
“Yeah, I think I don’t want to participate,”said Rep. Geiger “You don’t provide the context, so you’re trying to make us look really bad, so I’ll pass.”
One Democrat, Rep. Daniel Sayre (D-Kennebunk) responded to the Maine Wire with a detailed explanation of his support for Colorado’s decision, citing testimony from a former Judge and giving details on the court’s decision.
“Everyone who supports American democracy, the Constitution, and the rule of law–whether they identify as left, right or center–should applaud the Colorado ruling,” said Rep. Sayre.
Another Democrat, Rep. Adam Lee (D-Auburn), was more skeptical of the Colorado ruling, despite his dislike of Trump.
“The best thing for our country would be if Republican voters soundly defeated the former President in the primary process, because it is incontrovertible that he engaged in insurrection in violation of the United States Constitution,” said Rep. Lee.
Trump has never been charged, let alone convicted, of any crime related to insurrection.
However, Lee believes that the January 6 protests at the Capitol did constitute an insurrection, but he is less certain that the court should have removed Trump from the ballot.
Lee would prefer that such consequential decisions be decided by voters.
Bellows was originally slated to decide on Trump’s eligibility for the ballot by 5pm on Friday, December 22.
On Thursday, she informed the Portland newspaper that she would delay the decision to the following week in order to allow for the involved parties to make new arguments in light of the Colorado ruling.
Rep. Marc Malon, D-Biddeford, an spokesperson for the Maine Democratic Party, shared his opinion on the Colorado ruling on X Tuesday.
“My opinion on the Colorado ruling is that we need to unite and work our butts off in support of our Democratic candidate to stop the far right from taking away our freedoms,” Rep. Malon wrote.
It’s unclear what “freedoms” Malon had in mind.
“The courts will do what they will do. We cannot control that,” he wrote. “We can control our own actions, and there are no shortcuts.”
In a follow-up post Wednesday, Malon attempted to clarify his position.
“The legal system is legitimate and that can and should play itself out – that is a consequence of his actions. But I am focused on campaigning to defeat him at the ballot box,” he said.
Edward Tomic and Justin DelMonico contributed to this story.