Maine Secretary of State says home ‘swatted’ after Trump removed from ballot

In a statement posted to Facebook, Shenna Bellows said she was targeted by a fake emergency call.

Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows on Saturday said her home was swatted amid escalating threats over her removal of Donald Trump from the state’s 2024 primary ballot.

In a statement posted to Facebook, Bellows said she was the target of a swatting — when a false emergency call results in a strong police response to a residence — Friday night, after her home address was posted online.

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“Many of you have asked if Brandon and I are safe,” Bellows wrote. “We are away for the holiday weekend. We were not home yesterday when threats escalated, and our home address was posted online. It was a good thing because our home was swatted last night,” she added.

Maine State Police said an unknown male called a regional communication center Friday evening saying that he had broken into a home in the Augusta area, according to local station WGME13. Police confirmed the home as Bellows’. Officers found the home empty, and an investigation remains ongoing.

At least three Republican members of Congress have said they were the target of swatting incidents this week: Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), and Rep. Brandon Williams (R-N.Y.). No one was harmed in the incidents.

Such episodes have also affected numerous state and local officials both Republican and Democratic, and come amid increasing concern for the security of politicians and lawmakers in an era of heightened partisanship ahead of the 2024 elections.

Bellows on Friday defended her decision to bar Trump from the ballot, telling POLITICO that the former president did not meet the constitutional requirements for holding high office.

Bellows made the call to eject Trump on the grounds that he engaged in insurrection for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, violating the 14th Amendment amid a broader effort to overturn the 2020 election result.

Trump had previously attacked the decision and posted a link to Bellows’ biographical information on his Truth Social account. He further followed a post with the comment: “Fisherman, Loggers, & Lobsterman, who voted for President Trump overwhelmingly, are furious with this non-Lawyer Sec. of State.”

While the Maine Department of Public Safety did not release a motive for the swatting call, Bellows said in an interview with the Associated Press that it stemmed from her decision to remove Trump from the ballot.

The swatting attempt came after her home address was posted on social media by a conservative activist, Bellows said. “And it was posted in anger and with violent intent by those who have been extending threatening communications toward me, my family and my office,” she added.

In the immediate wake of her decision, Bellows said she felt protected by authorities as Maine’s secretary of state.

However, she condemned the swatting and threats in her Saturday post: “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.”