After a Democrat-dominated House committee refused to reject a request to have the House overturn an Iowa congressional election won by a Republican, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she could see a scenario in which the full House would reject the will of Iowa voters.
In the election to represent Iowa’s Second Congressional District, Republican Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks was declared the winner over Democratic contender Rita Hart by six votes out of more than 400,000 votes cast, according to Fox News.
Hart has appealed to the House through the Federal Contested Election Act to overturn the results. The act allows elections to be decided by the House and not the courts. Hart claims there were 22 ballots not counted that could have swung the race, and has said that the methods of performing a recount varied from county to county, meaning the results should not be trusted.
On Wednesday, the House Administration Committee set aside a request from Miller-Meeks to reject Hart’s claim, Fox News reported.
That prompted a question about the process during Pelosi’s weekly media briefing.
“Could you see a scenario depending on what they found in their probe of unseating the current number and seating Rita Hard if it came to that?” she was asked, according to a transcript of the briefing by Rev.com.
“Well, I respect the work of the committee. I did see, as you saw in the press, what they decided to … And they were following my, as I read it, the requirements of the law as to how you go forward. And how you go forward is the path you’re on and we’ll see where that takes us. But there could be a scenario to that extent. Yes,” Pelosi said in reply.
.@millermeeks won the election, which is why I signed the election certification along with the Iowa SOS and the State Auditor! Now Rita Hart and Nancy Pelosi are circumventing the Iowa process for a partisan one! #IA02 https://t.co/UIQdHCxViH
— Kim Reynolds (@KimReynoldsIA) March 12, 2021
This is outrageous.
If Democrats unseat a Republican who won her election, Republicans need to draw the line and say they will not seat any member of Congress who votes to unseat her once they’re in the majorityhttps://t.co/q5tg6gcC2i
— Ryan James Girdusky (@RyanGirdusky) March 11, 2021
“The committee’s vote today was procedural. Congresswoman Miller-Meeks’ motion to dismiss is still pending. The Congresswoman’s legal team will prepare and file the answer to the notice of contest. In the meantime, the Congresswoman is focused on serving the needs of her constituents,” Alan Ostergren, the campaign attorney for Miller-Meeks, said in a statement.
“Rita Hart’s contest has no more merit today than it did when it was filed. Her refusal to put her claims before neutral judges in Iowa tells us everything we need to know about the weakness of her case. Hart ignored Iowa law during the recount and again when she failed to make her case before a contest court in Iowa,” he continued.
“She hopes that her fellow Democrats in Washington D.C. will ignore Iowa law and the precedents of the House to grant her the seat in Congress that the voters denied her. Hart’s power quest is wrong and damages our electoral system.”
According to the Congressional Research Service, three candidates who tried Hart’s tactic were successful between 1933 and 2009, with the most recent instance taking place in 1984 — when the state of Indiana certified Republican Rick McIntyre as the winner, prompting Democrat Frank McCloskey to turn to the House.
Although McIntyre had held a 34-vote lead when Indiana certified its results, when the Democratic-majority House was done with its recount, McCloskey was named the winner by just four votes.
Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee of Michigan, the chief deputy whip, told the Washington Examiner that given all of the issues surrounding the election, overturning the Iowa results could be a political black eye.
“I think our default setting for many of us — is trust the local process,” Kildee said.
“We’ve been making that argument for two months now, it’s pretty hard to make a different argument when it’s convenient.”
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