Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows has declared former President Donald Trump as ineligible to appear on the Republican presidential primary ballot.

Three challenges were made to Trump's petitions for different reasons related to events after the November 2020 presidential election. A hearing was held December 15 to hear the challenges.

Maine's presidential primary is March 5, dubbed "Super Tuesday". 13 other primaries scheduled, including Massachusetts, Vermont, and Colorado.

Mary Ann Royal of Winterport claimed Trump is ineligible "because he engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States or has given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof."

Paul Gordon of Portland argued that because Trump claims he won the 2020 election, he is limited to just two terms in office under the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Kimberly Rosen a former Republican State Senator from Bucksport, Thomas Saviello, a former Republican State Senator from Wilton and Ethan Strimling, a former Democratic State Senator from Portland, contend that Trump is ineligible because he engaged in insurrection as defined by Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment. That is the argument that Secretary of State Shenna Bellows based her decision on.

Bellows issued a 34-page decision late Thursday afternoon.

“I conclude… that the record establishes that Mr. Trump, over the course of several months and culminating on January 6, 2021, used a false narrative of election fraud to inflame his supporters and direct them to the Capitol to prevent certification of the 2020 election and the peaceful transfer of power," Bellows said in a statement. "I likewise conclude that Mr. Trump was aware of the likelihood for violence and at least initially supported its use given he both encouraged it with incendiary rhetoric and took no timely action to stop it."

An assault on the foundations of government

Bellows said that Trump's requests on January 6 for protesters to be peaceful were not enough to "immunize his actions."

“The events of January 6, 2021 were unprecedented and tragic. They were an attack not only upon the Capitol and government officials, but also an attack on the rule of law. The evidence here demonstrates that they occurred at the behest of, and with the knowledge and support of, the outgoing President. The U.S. Constitution does not tolerate an assault on the foundations of our government, and Section 336 requires me to act in response," Bellows wrote.

Trump may appeal the decision within five days. The decision will not be final until the appeals process is complete.

The state becomes the second to rule Trump ineligible for its primary ballot. Colorado's Supreme Court was first to ban Trump from the ballot citing the 14th Amendment. The Colorado state Republican Party has appealed the ruling.

"Sham decision"

In a message on her X account, Republican Sen. Susan Collins spoke out against the ruling and said voters should have the final say on a candidate's fate.

"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," Collins wrote.

“This is a sham decision that mimics third world dictatorships. It will not stand legal scrutiny. People have a right to choose their leaders devoid of mindless decisions by partisan hacks," House Republican Leader Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham wrote on his Facebook page.

On his Truth social media account, Trump linked to Bellows' biography on her office website. His intent is not clear.

Trump is the second candidate to be kept off the Republican ballot by Maine.

A Maine Superior Court judge denied an appeal by Chris Christie’s campaign to appear on the Maine presidential primary ballot on Super Tuesday, according to CBS News. Maine’s Secretary of State said the campaign did not submit the required amount of signatures to qualify for the ballot. The campaign said it was a “procedural issue” over the way signatures were reviewed.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via X (Twitter) @DanAlexanderNH

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