Shenna Bellows apparently forgot about the Golden Rule of politics: Do unto others as they do unto you.
As you may perhaps have heard, Bellows is the Maine secretary of state responsible for unilaterally taking Donald Trump’s off the state’s presidential primary ballot. That decision came on Thursday night.
It only took one day for state Republicans to start impeachment efforts that might take her out of her position.
According to The Associated Press, at least one state GOP legislator has already announced his intention to pursue articles of impeachment for the move, which comes despite the fact that Democrats control the body.
State Rep. John Andrews said that the move was “hyper-partisanship on full display” and has sent notice to the State Revisor’s Office that he’s taking the first steps toward impeachment.
“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,” he wrote in the letter, according to the Portland Press Herald.
In an interview with Fox News, Andrews noted that “in Maine, the people do not elect the secretary of state, attorney general or treasurer.
“They are chosen by elected Democrat Party insiders after deals are made in the back room of State House,” he said.
“Shenna Bellows knows that the process that put her there is extremely partisan,” he added. “She should know better and be going out of her way to be as neutral as possible to serve every citizen in Maine and not just registered Democrats.”
And, despite the fact that Democrats do control the legislature, one Republican said there’s still the possibility that, in a state that tends to be moderate by New England standards, Bellows could be impeached.
“There is bipartisan opposition to the extreme decision made by the secretary of state,” House Republican leader Billy Bob Faulkingham said, according to the AP.
“She has clearly overstepped her authority. It remains to be seen if her effort at voter suppression will garner enough Democrat support to remove her from her position,” he added.
Bellows did not talk about the impeachment effort on Friday, instead focusing on defending her decision to take Trump off the ballot due to the events on and leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol incursion.
“Under Maine law, I have not only the authority but the obligation to act,” she said.
“I will follow the Constitution and the rule of law as directed by the courts,” she added.
That unique interpretation of the Constitution holds that Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment — meant to disqualify Confederate officials from holding office — applies to Trump thanks to the Capitol incursion and his decision to challenge the results of the 2020 election.
While this novel argument has mostly failed in court, despite the fact it’s been tried, at least one state — Colorado — has decided to remove Trump from the primary ballot due to the decision that his actions met the bar for having “engaged in insurrection,” the language in the amendment that disqualifies someone from holding office.
This, if it stood, would also mean he would be disqualified from appearing on the general election ballot. However, while Colorado isn’t a swing state, Maine is at least marginally competitive.
It’s competitive enough that state Democrats have come out against Bellows’ move — most notably U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, who holds one of the most competitive seats in the nation.
“I voted to impeach Donald Trump for his role in the January 6th insurrection. I do not believe he should be re-elected as President of the United States,” Golden said in a statement.
“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
Sen. Angus King — an independent who caucuses with the Democrats — also said that while he respected the “careful process” by which Bellows came to her decision, he thought “that 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,” according to Politico. He also voted against Trump during the Jan. 6 impeachment trial.
Neither Golden nor King will be voting on Bellows’ impeachment, but other Democrats might follow their lead, particularly if they get the idea Maine’s electorate might not react fondly to the idea that Trump can be excluded from the ballot with the stroke of a pen.
And state Republicans have a very obvious argument to fall back on: Due to the fact that Trump was obviously never convicted of insurrection, unilaterally deciding to take him off the ballot for that crime is deeply troubling.
“Secretary of State Shenna Bellows has made a political decision,” said Kandi-Lee Hoy, chair for South Portland in the Cumberland County Republican Committee, the Press Herald reported.
“This is an effort to cheat the voters out of their civil rights and is clearly meant to tell us who we have the right to vote for.”
Is that enough to get Bellows impeached? It remains to be seen, considering state legislators don’t return to Augusta in any official capacity until the new year. However, given the golden rule of politics, it certainly seems likely she’ll face significant hurdles once the state Legislature returns from break.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.