Democrat Rita Hart will ask the U.S. House of Representatives to intervene and set the rules for another recount in Iowa’s second congressional district.
The results state officials certified Monday after a district-wide recount show Hart finished six votes behind Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks. Hart’s campaign says filing a challenge under state law did not allow enough time for another recount, as a five-judge panel would have had to declare a winner by next Tuesday.
According to Hart’s campaign, some legally cast ballots were not considered in the state recount process and there are enough of them to potentially change the outcome of the race.
There are 24 counties in Iowa’s second congressional district and the Hart campaign maintains “many” of those counties did not review ballots that were not recognized in a machine recount. Hart’s campaign manager says with a margin so small, it’s critical to take the next step to ensure all legally cast ballots are counted.
University of Iowa election law professor Derek Muller called the situation historic.
“The Hart campaign I think is anticipating that a Democratically controlled House, even if it’s a narrow Democratic majority, is going to be more sympathetic to their claims, it is pretty unusual to see the House digging into a recount like this,” he told Iowa Public Radio, adding some challenges in the past have taken months to resolve.
An attorney for Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ campaign says “all Iowans should be outraged” that Hart is choosing “a political process” controlled by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Attorney Alan Ostergren says an objective process conducted in Iowa’s court system would show that Miller-Meeks won.
(Additional reporting by Iowa Public Radio’s Kate Payne)