Jan 9, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Maine House rejects GOP effort to impeach official over Trump ballot ruling

Shenna Bellows

Shenna Bellows speaks at a hearing in Augusta in May 2017. Photo: Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Maine's Democrat-controlled House on Tuesday rejected a Republican effort to impeach Maine's secretary of state over her decision to disqualify former President Trump from appearing on the state's 2024 presidential primary ballot.

Driving the news: Last month, Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows became the first elected official to unilaterally deem Trump ineligible to run under the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment insurrection clause.

  • Bellows' decision angered Maine Republicans, who were quick to invoke the prospect of impeachment. Last week, state Rep. John Andrews (R) filed a formal resolution for Bellows' impeachment.
  • Bellows, meanwhile, dismissed the effort last week as "little more than political theater," AP reported.

State of play: Maine's House struck down the resolution in an 80-60 vote Tuesday.

  • The resolution called for a special House investigative committee to probe Bellows' "alleged misconduct" and report back to the House with its recommended next steps, including, possibly, impeachment.
  • If the resolution had gone forward and an impeachment vote had succeeded in the House, there would have been a trial in the Maine Senate.
  • Yet the resolution had little chance of success, given that both Maine's House and Senate are controlled by Democrats.

What they're saying: "I was heartened that a majority of the Legislature recognized that this order was not the appropriate process and one should not remove an elected official for doing their job and following the constitution," Bellows said after the vote, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Zoom out: Trump — the frontrunner in the GOP's 2024 presidential primary — has appealed Bellows' ruling.

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