AUGUSTA — Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap officially passed the torch on Monday when Shenna Bellows took the oath of office.

Shenna Bellows, Maine’s new secretary of state Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Bellows, who’s the first woman to hold the post, gave up her Senate seat to assume the job as the state’s top election official, as well as administrator of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the state archives.

During her remarks, she noted that her grandmother, who celebrated her 101st birthday over the weekend, was born in the year that saw the final ratification of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote.

“Someday before I reach my grandmother’s age, should I be so lucky, I hope to see the last of the firsts,” she said.

Dunlap, 56, wrapped up a frenetic span in which he ushered in precedent-setting rules for ranked-choice voting and managed the biggest election in recent memory during a pandemic. He also was a thorn in the side of leaders of Republican President Donald Trump’s infamous voter fraud commission.

Also taking the oath Monday were Attorney General Aaron Frey, Treasurer Henry Beck and Dunlap, who is now state auditor.

A special election to fill the vacant District 14 Senate seat formerly occupied by Bellows will be held on March 9.


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