MANCHESTER — Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows was targeted in a swatting incident Friday, and she and her staff have received numerous threats since her decision last week to bar former President Donald Trump from the Maine Republican primary ballot, Bellows said on social media Saturday.

Swatting calls involve someone calling in a fake emergency meant to draw a law enforcement response — in this case Bellows’ home was the target.

Bellows issued a ruling Thursday night that Trump would not be allowed onto Maine’s March 5, 2024, presidential primary ballot. Her decision to exclude Trump from the ballot because she deemed him not qualified to hold the office of the president under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution angered some Trump supporters.

Around 8:15 p.m. Friday the Augusta Regional Communications Center received a call from an unknown male who said he had broken into Bellows’ home on Kerns Hill Road in Manchester, according to Shannon Moss, public information officer for the state Department of Public Safety. Police responded and determined the call was bogus.

“Maine State Police responded to the residence for what ultimately was a swatting call,” Moss said in a news release. “The home was the residence of Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows. Bellows was not at the residence at the time. No one was inside the home.”

Moss said troopers searched the exterior and interior of the residence, at Bellows’ request, but did not locate anyone inside, or anything suspicious.


Bellows addressed the incident and threats she and others have received following the controversial decision, on her Facebook page.

“We were not home yesterday when the threats escalated, and our home address was posted online,” she wrote in a Saturday post. “It was a good thing because our home was swatted last night. That’s when someone calls in a fake emergency to evoke a strong law enforcement response to scare the target. Swatting incidents have resulted in casualties although thankfully this one did not.”

“This behavior is unacceptable,” she continued in her post. “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.”

She asked those who have influence on critics of her decision 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.

“We should be able to agree to disagree on important issues without threats and violence,” she wrote. Bellows asked Mainers to channel respect and kindness “and stand up for those Maine values that have always made our state the way life should be.”


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

She said she has also received numerous messages of love and support.

Bellows said she will be off social media this weekend and will not respond to messages.

Moss said the swatting incident remains under investigation. She said state and other police would provide “special attention to any and all appropriate locations.”

Bellows, a Democrat, concluded that Trump’s petition to be on the primary ballot is invalid. She cited his actions and words leading up to the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol as making him not qualified to hold the office of president.

“The events of January 6, 2021, were unprecedented and tragic,” Bellows said in announcing her decision. “They were an attack not only upon the Capitol and government officials, but also an attack on the rule of law. The evidence here demonstrates that they occurred at the behest of, and with the knowledge and support of, the outgoing President. The U.S. Constitution does not tolerate an assault on the foundations of our government, and Section 336 requires me to act in response.”

Trump’s campaign said it will challenge her ruling in state court.

Her decision made Maine the second state to bar Trump from the ballot, joining Colorado.

Maine Sunday Telegram writer Bonnie Washuk contributed to this report.

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