Secretary of State Shenna Bellows outside the State House complex Friday in Augusta. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Two days after announcing her decision to bar former President Donald Trump from the Maine Republican primary ballot, Secretary of State Shenna Bellows said on social media Saturday that she and her staff have received numerous threats, and that her home was the target of a swatting.

Bellows wrote in a Facebook post that she and her family are safe and were not home Friday night as threats escalated and someone called police to report a break-in at her home and requested a strong police response. She said someone posted her home address online.

“Swatting incidents have resulted in casualties although thankfully this one did not,” Bellows wrote. “This behavior is unacceptable. The non-stop threatening communications the people who work for me endured all day yesterday is unacceptable. It’s designed to scare not only me but also others into silence, to send a message.”

Maine State Police responded to Bellows’ home in Manchester on Friday night in what turned out to be a swatting call, Shannon Moss, a spokesperson for the Maine State Department of Public Safety, confirmed Saturday. At about 8:15 p.m., the Augusta Regional Communications Center received a call from an unknown male who claimed he had broken into a home in Manchester, Moss said in a statement released Saturday.

No one was inside the home. State troopers conducted an exterior and interior check at Bellows’ request, but nothing suspicious was found, Moss said.

The incident remains under investigation. Maine State Police are working with law enforcement to provide extra attention, including increased patrols, at several locations, Moss said.


During a phone interview Saturday, Bellows, a Democrat, declined to expound on the amount of harassment and threats she and her staff have received. She said they began as soon as she announced her decision Thursday to remove Trump from the ballot.

Bellows declined to share details about the swatting incident and whether she would be returning to her home. She said she and her husband were away for the holiday weekend and that she is receiving increased police protection.

When asked how she was handling the threats, Bellows said everyone in Maine “is very fortunate to have such dedicated law enforcement members. Law enforcement has been incredible,” she said. “I have felt so well supported by law enforcement who have been extraordinary communicative with me and dedicated to protecting me, my family, my staff and my home.”

Bellows said she’s thankful for her staff and the many communications she’s received – not only from those who agree with her decision but also from those who have disagreed in a respectful, civil manner.

She added that she hopes Mainers can agree to disagree on issues that are important without threats or violence.

“It’s time to deescalate the rhetoric and stand up to hateful language, dehumanizing images and frightening communications that are so incredibly dangerous. That’s not who we are as Mainers,” she said.


In her Facebook post, Bellows said she would be off social media this weekend and would not respond to messages. She thanked those who have shared love and support but asked those who have influence on her critics to deescalate the rhetoric.

“The Maine Wire, for example, has been posting extraordinary dehumanizing fake images of me,” she said. Dehumanizing a person is the first step in paving the way for attacks and violence against them, Bellows wrote on Facebook.

Some Republican leaders have condemned the escalating aggression.

“Violent threats and acts of violence are never acceptable,” said U.S. Sen. Susan Collins in a statement Saturday.

Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham, Republican leader of the Maine House, told the Press Herald on Saturday that while he had not heard about the threats and swatting, he condemned any threats or acts of violence.

“I denounce any actions like that,” Faulkingham said. “That’s not the way to behave. … I hope that the people who did this are arrested quickly.”


Two days earlier, Faulkingham blasted Bellows’ decision to keep Trump off the Maine ballot, calling her ruling “a sham decision that mimics third world dictatorships.”

State Rep. Michael Soboleski, R-Phillips, declined to answer questions about the threats against Bellows. Soboleski, who is running for Congress in Maine’s 2nd District, said he had not heard of any threats against her and did not respond to emailed questions.

Soboleski is circulating a petition in support of impeaching Bellows, and the Trump campaign has said it will file a court appeal of her ballot decision.

Whether Trump appears on primary ballots in Maine and other states is likely to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Rep. Nathan Carlow, R-Buxton, said that although he does not agree with Bellows’ ruling, he is “appalled” by the swatting reports.

“No Mainer should be made to feel unsafe in their own home, and I’m deeply concerned that anyone would contemplate doing such a thing,” Carlow said in a statement.


“I urge Mainers to peacefully dissent from this decision,” he later said.

Bellows’ Thursday night decision to bar the former president from the state’s presidential primary ballot came in response to several ballot challenges to Trump’s eligibility. State law requires the Maine secretary of state to rule on candidate eligibility challenges.

Bellows’ decision made Maine the second state to remove him after the Colorado Supreme Court last week disqualified Trump from the state’s Republican primary ballot. Other states where ballot challenges have been filed have declined to remove him from primary ballots.

In their rulings, both Bellows and the Colorado Supreme Court cited the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which bars anyone from holding office who supported or “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” after taking an oath of office to protect the Constitution.

“I am mindful that no secretary of state has ever deprived a presidential candidate of ballot access based on Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment,” Bellows said in her 34-page decision. “I am also mindful, however, that no presidential candidate has ever before engaged in insurrection.”

The 14th Amendment was written in the wake of the Civil War, with the aim of stopping former Confederates from taking office.

Bellows’ decision has been fiercely criticized by Republicans, who have called it a partisan move aimed at boosting her political career and taking away the rights of American voters.

But Bellows has defended her decision, saying that it is clear that under the state’s election laws and evidence presented by those who challenged Trump’s ballot eligibility that he should be excluded from the ballot in March.

Gov. Janet Mills did not respond to emails Saturday asking her about the fallout from Bellows’ decision.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.