House committee to consider Dem bid to overturn Iowa congressional race which GOP won by six votes

The House Administration Committee will consider an appeal from Democrats to contest the results of the closest 2020 congressional race after Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks won by just six votes.

The Committee will consider the merits of an appeal from Democrat Rita Hart after she lost to Miller-Meeks by a less than 1% margin of more than 400,000 ballots cast in Iowa‘s Second Congressional District.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during press conference on Thursday that ‘of course’ the review could overturn the results of the close election.

‘Could you see a scenario? We don’t do press conferences on ‘can you see a scenario.’ Of course! Of course!’ Pelosi said, according to Fox Business.

‘I respect the work of the committee. … We’ll see where that takes us. There could be a scenario to that extent.’

Iowa state officials certified the results last year and Miller-Meeks was sworn in to Congress on January 3. 

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Democrat Rita Hart has petitioned Congress to investigate her claims that she wrongfully lost the election by six votes

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, right, has filed a counter motion to dismiss Hart's petition

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, right, has filed a counter motion to dismiss Hart’s petition

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during press conference on Thursday that 'of course' the review could overturn the results of the close election

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during press conference on Thursday that ‘of course’ the review could overturn the results of the close election

In December, Hart filed a Notice of Contest to petition the election results with Congress instead of an Iowa court and claimed that the results were certified in favor of Miller-Meeks after 22 ‘lawful ballots’ were ignored in the count.

Hart’s petition was filed under the Federal Contested Election Act which allows candidates to contest general elections by filing a motion with the House clerk. 

‘Of these wrongfully excluded 22 ballots, the evidence establishes that 18 were cast for Contestant, three were cast for Contestee Miller-Meeks and one did not record a vote for either candidate,’ according to the petition.

‘After the House has conducted its investigation and all lawful votes are accurately counted, Contestant Hart finally will be seated as the new U.S. Representative from the Second Congressional District.’

A Hart campaign spokesman said in a statement on Wednesday that the ballots ‘still have not been counted due to a string of errors.’

‘We are glad to see the House Committee on Administration taking the next step towards ensuring that every legally-cast vote is counted in this race and that all Iowans’ voices are heard,’ according to the statement. 

Miller-Meeks filed a motion to dismiss Hart’s petition and claimed she ‘failed to exhaust state judicial procedures before filing her notice of contest with the House.’

But the committee postponed the motion by Miller-Meeks on Wednesday in order to consider Hart’s appeal, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported.

The vote on Miller-Meeks’ motion fell on party lines as Democrats and Republicans argued about the implications a potential investigation could cause.

‘The margin separating the two candidates was only six votes out of almost 400,000 cast: less than 1/6 of 1%. That’s six votes — not 6,000; not 600; not 60 or even 16 — just six fewer votes than we have members of this committee,’ Chair Zoe Lofgren told committee members. 

She added: ‘It should not be surprising that any candidate in these circumstances — with a margin this close — would seek to exercise their rights under the law to contest the results.’

Illinois Republican Rodney Davis, however, said the election included a recount as well as a bipartisan canvassing of ballots, the Press-Citizen reported.

Davis argued that Hart could have appealed those results through the Iowa’s court system, which she chose not to do.

‘It will be one of the greatest mistakes this House makes to take up an election contest with a candidate who side-stepped the courts and instead turned to a partisan process in the House because they knew they could not win any other way,’ Davis said.

He added: ‘Sounds familiar doesn’t it?’

Before the vote, Davis said the committee should not move forward with overturning  the state certified election, according to The Hill.

‘She is a sitting member of Congress with all of the same rights as each and every one of us,’ Davis said.

‘We already know the outcome of this contest. Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks won a free and fair election. It’s in the best interest of taxpayers and the integrity of our election process to dismiss this motion and to dismiss it today.’ 

National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Mike Berg told Fox News in a statement that Hart and Pelosi ‘are trying to subvert Democracy.’

‘I look forward to all Democrat members condemning this partisan stunt,’ he said.

Alan Ostergren, Miller-Meeks’ campaign attorney, said in a statement obtained by KCCI that Wednesday’s vote was ‘procedural’  and that Hart’s petition ‘has no more merit today than it did when it was filed.’

‘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,’ he said.

‘In the meantime, the Congresswoman is focused on serving the needs of her constituents.’

He added that Hart ‘ignored Iowa law’ during the recount and again when she failed to make her case before a contest court in Iowa. 

‘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,’ he said.

He added: ‘Hart’s power quest is wrong and damages our electoral system.’ 

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