A Democratic member of Congress from Lewiston said former President Donald Trump ought to remain on the ballot in Maine.

U.S. Rep. Jared Golden stands Oct. 26 between Lewiston City Councilor Stephanie Gelinas and Central Maine Healthcare president Steven Littleson at Lewiston City Hall. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

U.S. Rep. Jared Golden said in a prepared statement that despite voting to impeach Trump “for his role in the January 6th insurrection,” he thinks the decision by Secretary of State Shenna Bellows to remove the former president from a Republican primary ballot was wrong.

“We are a nation of laws,” Golden said. “Therefore until he is actually found guilty of the crime of insurrection, he should be allowed on the ballot.”

Both of the GOP candidates vying to replace the three-term Democrat also called for Trump’s inclusion on the March president primary ballot.

State Rep. Mike Soboleski of Phillips said he is “extremely disappointed” in Bellows’ decision.

“This is equivalent to cheating, plain and simple,” he said in a prepared statement. “To obstruct President Trump’s access to our Maine ballot is a blatant disenfranchisement of the voters.”


Soboleski vowed to “keep fighting for President Trump as I always have.”

The other Republican challenger for Golden’s U.S. House seat in Maine’s 2nd District, state Rep. Austin Theriault of Fort Kent, called Bellows’ decision “an outrageous end run by progressive elites around the people of Maine.”

“This political maneuvering to help prop up Joe Biden’s failed presidency has no place in Maine,” he said. “If you believe in democracy, let the voters decide. Voters should choose their leaders — period.”

Maine’s senior senator, Republican Susan Collins, said that “Maine voters should decide who wins the election — not a secretary of state chosen by the Legislature.”

“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 said in a statement on the social media site X.

U.S. Sen. Angus King, an independent, said in a prepared statement Friday that he respected Bellows’ “careful process” but disagreed with her conclusion. He said the decision about whether Trump should serve again as president should rest with the people.

But U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat from Maine’s 1st District, hailed the choice made by Bellows.

“The text of the Fourteenth Amendment is clear,” she said. “No person who engaged in an insurrection against the government can ever again serve in elected office.”

“On January 6, 2021, Donald Trump incited a violent mob to block Congress from certifying the Electoral College + overturn the 2020 presidential election,” she wrote on X. “Our Constitution is the very bedrock of America and our laws and it appears Trump’s actions are prohibited by the Constitution.”

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