Maine Secretary of State’s Social Media Posts, Politics Under Scrutiny After Trump Decision

shenna bellows

X and Instagram (Shenna Bellows) Shenna Bellows and Joe Biden.

Shenna Bellows is the Secretary of State for Maine. Bellows issued a decision on December 28 denying former President Donald Trump ballot access in that state.

According to Politico, Bellows is a Democrat. A review of her X page shows she has reposted posts by President Joe Biden and commented on January 6. Trump’s lawyers had asked her to recuse herself for the latter posts, Maine Wire reported.

The decision has earned her a flurry of criticism from Trump’s campaign and conservatives. “I conclude that Mr. Trump’s primary petition is invalid,” Bellows wrote. “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.” That Amendment, according to Politico, deals with office holders who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion.”

Bellows suspended her own decision’s effect until it can be reviewed via appeal by Maine’s Superior Court. Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung told ABC News that Trump, who is the front-runner in the Republican primary in polls, would “quickly file a legal objection in state court.”

According to her official biography, Bellows was sworn in as Maine’s first female Secretary of State on January 4, 2021. Her term runs through 2025, Ballotpedia reports. Ballotpedia reports that she was selected to serve as Secretary of State by Maine’s state Legislature.

Bellows’ decision comes on the heels of Democratic gubernatorial appointees on the Colorado Supreme Court denying Trump ballot access in that state. The legal questions – whether the 14th Amendment applies to a sitting president; whether January 6 was an “insurrection”; whether it’s a matter for a state official or court to decide; and whether Trump is getting due process rates – are issues that the U.S. Supreme Court is likely to settle.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Shenna Bellows, a Democratic Campaign Donor, Wrote That Donald Trump ‘Used a False Narrative of Election Fraud to Inflame His Supporters & Direct Them to the Capitol’

shenna bellows husband

X (Shenna Bellows)Shenna Bellows with her husband.

In the decision, Bellows wrote 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 continued: “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.”

According to Bellows’ decision, “occasional requests that rioters be peaceful and support law enforcement” do not “immunize his actions. A brief call to obey the law does not erase conduct over the course of months, culminating in his speech on the Ellipse. The weight of the evidence makes clear that Mr. Trump was aware of the tinder laid by his multi-month effort to delegitimize a democratic election, and then chose to light a match.”

The decision can be read in full here.

According to Politico, in Maine, state law gave the power to Bellows to decide ballot access; a public hearing was previously held on the matter. At that hearing, according to Politico, Trump’s attorneys advanced several arguments, including “that secretaries of state do not have the authority to make a 14th Amendment determination, that the 14th Amendment doesn’t apply to Trump and that he did not engage in insurrection to begin with.”

Open lists a number of campaign donations by Bellows to Democrats and the Democratic Party of Maine. Some of them list her as an ACLU national field organizer, executive director, and non-profit consultant. She also made donations to Mainers for Accountable Elections and Mainers United for Marriage.

2. Donald Trump’s Spokesman Called Shenna Bellows a ‘Hyper-Partisan Biden-Supporting Democrat’ Who Was Engaging in Election Interference

Trump’s spokesman wrote in a statement that Bellows is a “hyper-partisan Biden-supporting Democrat who has decided to interfere in the presidential election.”

Trump’s campaign statement accused Bellows of interfering in the election “on behalf of Crooked Joe Biden.”

“We are witnessing, in real-time, the attempted theft of an election and the disenfranchisement of the American voter,” the Trump statement said.

On her X page, Bellows has posted about elections. For example, she weighed in on a Mississippi voting issue, writing, “This story is horrifying. Incredible to see the lengths at which votes are discarded by partisans. Grateful to be in Maine where our elections are free, fair and secure.”

In March, she wrote, “It shouldn’t be up to the Governor or any other one person whether or not you have the right to vote. We are proud that in Maine every citizen has the right to vote regardless of current or former incarceration.”

According to Maine Wire, Trump’s lawyers had asked Bellows to recuse herself, accusing her of bias for her X posts referring to January 6.

“Because the Secretary has exhibited a personal bias in this matter, she should disqualify herself from further proceedings,” the letter said, according to Maine Wire.

On January 6, 2023, she wrote, “What happened two years ago was an assault on democracy. Today is a day to remember and recommit to the work to protect our elections and democracy itself.”

In 2021, she wrote, “The Jan 6 insurrection was an unlawful attempt to overthrow the results of a free and fair election. Today 57 Senators including King & Collins found Trump guilty. That’s short of impeachment but nevertheless an indictment. The insurrectionists failed, and democracy prevailed.”

In 2022, she wrote, “One year after the violent insurrection, it’s important to do all we can to safeguard our elections.”

Bellows’ most recent Instagram photo, from July, is a selfie that Biden took with her phone. “President Biden has a strong selfie game as evidenced by this picture he took with my phone! It was great to catch up with old friends from the unions like John Portela and Doris Poland as well as Auburn Rep Adam Lee at the presidential speech in Auburn today,” she wrote.

In March, she shared a photo showing her with Biden, writing, “Birthday jaunt to DC for a Women’s History Month event at the White House yesterday and walking around today. So wonderful to see one of my earliest mentors Teresa Younger and fellow first female Secretary Elaine Marshall of North Carolina at the White House reception. Amazing to meet President Biden. Grateful for the birthday wishes today. ❤️❤️❤️”

shenna bellows

Instagram (Shenna Bellows)Shenna Bellows with President Barack Obama.

In 2020, she shared a photo showing her with President Barack Obama and wrote, “Happy Birthday, President Obama! Here’s to hope and change.”

In 2014, she described Hillary Clinton as “such a role model for women and girls” when welcoming her to a local high school, according to a transcript of her speech posted by Iowa State University.

3. Shenna Bellows, Who Grew up Without Electricity or Running Water, Served as a Maine Senator, Was a Presidential Elector & Was Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine

In her speech at the Clinton event, Bellows gave details about her family background. “I grew up in Hancock, just outside of Elsworth, the daughter of a carpenter, and a home healthcare nurse. And we struggled when I was a kid. I grew up without electricity or running water, until I was in the 5th grade,” she said.

“But I worked hard, through my entire career, from the Peace Corps, to the AmeriCorps, to the Maine Civil Liberties Union. I sought to make the world a better place, in the tradition of Hillary, and Mike, and Shelly and so many other great leaders.”

According to her biography, Bellows served two terms as a Maine senator, from 2016 to 2020, “representing 11 towns in southern Kennebec County. In the Maine Senate, she served as Senate Chair of the Labor and Housing Committee and served on the Judiciary Committee.”

She was “a 2020 presidential elector in the Electoral College,” the bio says.

“Secretary Bellows led the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine as executive director from 2018 to 2020. Previously, she owned Bellows & Company, a non-profit consulting business, where she worked with organizations such as the Sierra Club’s Maine Chapter, Consumers for Affordable Healthcare, and the Maine Women’s Lobby,” the bio says. “She also served as interim executive director of LearningWorks. In 2014, Secretary Bellows was the Democratic nominee for the United States Senate in Maine.”

The bio continues:

From 2005 to 2013, Secretary Bellows was executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine. She was a member of the first Right to Know Advisory Committee and the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition. She served on the Executive Committee of the 2009 and 2012 ballot campaigns to pass marriage equality in Maine, and co-chaired a successful 2011 statewide ballot campaign to restore same-day voter registration. She was an original member of the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting.

A 2013 blog post by Down East to DC reported that Bellows “has been active in Maine politics for some time, lending her voice to efforts to legalize gay marriage and fight against voter ID requirement efforts” through her work with the ACLU.

4. Shenna Bellows’ Husband Brandon Baldwin Works at the Maine Office of the Attorney General on a Civil Rights Project in Schools

In 2013, Bellows married her husband, Brandon Baldwin, at their home in Manchester, Maine, according to The Ellsworth American.

“The bride is the daughter of Janice Colson of Hancock and Dexter Bellows of Hancock. The bridegroom is the son of Carole Baldwin of Skowhegan and Ralph Baldwin of Portland,” the newspaper reported.

Her father’s wife, Bethany Reynolds, was the wedding photographer, the article said.

According to the newspaper, Brandon Baldwin “graduated from Skowhegan High School in 1994 and Middlebury College in 1998. He is employed at the Maine Office of the Attorney General as the coordinator of the statewide Civil Rights Team Project,” the newspaper reported.

The site Learning for Justice describes Baldwin as “a schools and curriculum coordinator for the Civil Rights Team Project for the office of the Attorney General in Maine.”

Equality Maine describes the Civil Rights Team Project as “a school-based preventative program that works to increase the safety of elementary, middle level, and high school students by reducing bias-motivated behaviors and harassment in our schools.”

According to Bangor Daily News, he previously worked as an 8th grade English teacher.

“He’s young, energetic and really connects with young people very well,” Attorney General Steven Rowe said of Baldwin to the Bangor Daily News in 2008. “Through his efforts, the program will be able to be more school-specific with curriculum.”

5. Shenna Bellows Ran Unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate as a Democrat in Maine Against Republican Incumbent Susan Collins

susan collins family

GettySusan Collins.

According to Ballotpedia, Bellows was the Democratic Party nominee for the U.S. Senate in 2014, but she was defeated by the incumbent, Republican Susan Collins.

In her speech at the Clinton event, she said, “America is a promise that everyone will be treated equally, and given a fair shot. It’s a promise that no one’s life, liberty or pursuit of happiness, is worth any more than anyone else’s. Republicans both here in Maine and down in Washington have done their utmost in recent years, to snatch that dream from every day Americans.”

According to her biography, “Secretary Bellows grew up in Hancock and is a graduate of Ellsworth High School. She holds a B.A. in International Politics and Economics from Middlebury College. She volunteered with the Peace Corps in Panama and AmeriCorps VISTA in Nashville, Tennessee.”

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