Maine GOP Lawmaker Is Pushing to Impeach Secretary of State Over Trump Ballot Ruling

Trump Demands Maine Secretary Recuse Herself From Ballot Challenge Over Jan. 6 Statements

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Mr. Andrews noted that the former president should be allowed on the Maine ballot as he has met the qualifications for the 2024 GOP presidential primary.

A Maine GOP lawmaker is pushing an effort to impeach Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows after she ruled former President Donald Trump ineligible for the state’s 2024 primary ballot.

Rep. John Andrews said on Dec. 28 that he filed a request for a joint order with the Maine Revisor’s Office to impeach Ms. Bellows. “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,” Mr. Andrews said in a statement.

On Dec. 28, Ms. Bellows, whose office oversees elections in the state, removed President Trump from the state’s 2024 primary ballot, citing Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. This section bars certain individuals from holding public office if they have engaged in an “insurrection or rebellion.”

Mr. Andrews noted that the former president should be allowed on the Maine ballot as he met the qualifications for Maine’s 2024 GOP presidential primary in March.

“This is hyper-partisanship on full display,” Mr. Andrews said on Facebook. “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.”

During an interview with Fox News on Dec. 29, Mr. Andrews said that Ms. Bellows “has unilaterally disenfranchised 300,060 Maine voters with this partisan move.” He praised Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) for speaking out against Ms. Bellows’ decision despite not liking President Trump.

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According to the Maine Constitution, the House “has the sole power of impeachment,” and the Senate has the authority to try impeachments. This would make Mr. Andrews’ move challenging as Democrats currently control both the House and Senate in the deep blue state.

Mr. Andrews currently sits on the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee, overseeing state elections and the office of secretary of state.

While most challenges to President Trump’s eligibility as a candidate under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment have taken place in courts, the Maine Secretary of State made the decision herself.

“I conclude that Mr. Trump’s primary petition is invalid,” Ms. Belows wrote in her ruling. “Specifically, I find that the declaration on his candidate consent form is false because he is not qualified to hold the office of the President under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

Ms. Bellows, who halted her decision pending an expected appeal in state court, held a public hearing on Dec. 15 after three challenges to President Trump’s eligibility were submitted to her office.

The move by Ms. Bellows came after the Colorado Supreme Court disqualified the 45th president from the 2024 primary ballot less than two weeks ago.

Her decision to remove President Trump from Maine’s ballot comes after the Colorado secretary of state’s office said earlier in the day that it would include President Trump on the state’s 2024 primary ballot when certification occurs on Jan. 5, 2024, “unless the U.S. Supreme Court declines to take the case or otherwise affirms the Colorado Supreme Court ruling.”

Following Ms. Bellows’s ruling, the Trump campaign issued a statement denouncing the Maine secretary of state’s “atrocious decision” and vowing to move quickly to fight it in state court to prevent it from taking effect.

Before the ruling, President Trump’s defense team had sought to have her recused from the decision-making process, citing her public statements in favor of impeaching President Trump and describing the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach as an “insurrection.”
Along with many Republicans and Democrats condemning Ms. Bellows’s decision, two senators from Maine joined in criticizing her ruling.

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) disagreed with Ms. Bellows’s decision, as he said in a statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Although I respect the Secretary of State’s careful process—which she was specifically required to undertake under Maine law—absent a final judicial determination of a violation of the 14th Amendment’s disqualification clause, I believe the decision as to whether or not Mr. Trump should again be considered for the presidency should rest with the people as expressed in free and fair elections. This is the ultimate check within our Constitutional system,” Mr. King said.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) also disapproved of the secretary of state’s decision.

“Maine voters should decide who wins the election—not a Secretary of State chosen by the Legislature,” Ms. Collins wrote on X on Dec. 28. “The Secretary of State’s decision would deny thousands of Mainers the opportunity to vote for the candidate of their choice, and it should be overturned.”

Caden Pearson and Catherine Yang contributed to this report. 

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