Democrat Rita Hart has filed a petition today, asking the U.S. House to investigate the state’s certification of Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks as the winner of Iowa’s second congressional district race by a six-vote margin.
Hart is specifically citing 22 ballots that were not counted, suggesting she would have won by 15 votes if those ballots had been included in the results. Marc Elias, the attorney representing the Hart campaign, spoke with reporters during an online news conference this morning.
“It has become clear that there are a sufficient number of legally cast, but yet uncounted ballots to verify that Rita has won this election,” he said.
Elias also argues there are thousands of other ballots that should be examined and counted.
“It is important that we not let the fact that it has been a long, grueling election deprive the voters of Iowa’s second congressional district of the outcome of every lawful ballot counting,” he said.
Miller-Meeks recorded a video statement, saying Hart should have opted to make this case in Iowa court first rather than in the U.S. House.
“Senator Hart now wants a process run by one Californian, Nancy Pelosi,” Miller-Meeks said, “and decided in Washington’s hyper-partisan, dysfunction atmosphere and not according to Iowa law.”
Miller-Meeks said this is a “partisan power play” by Hart to overturn the results.
“Iowans have spoken,” Miller-Meeks said. “Rita Hart should listen and she should trust and respect the decisions of Iowans.”
It’s unclear how this may be resolved, in terms of timing. It’s possible Miller-Meeks may not be seated as a member of the U.S. House on January 3 when the next congress begins. Republican office-holders like Governor Kim Reynolds say Hart’s move demonstrates a lack of respect for Iowa election law, since she did not first make these arguments in Iowa court.
Congresswoman Cindy Axne, a Democrat from West Des Moines, said Hart has “Constitutional and legal grounds to pursue a House review” and Axne said ensuring every “properly-cast vote in this contest is counted is the only way to give Iowa voters full faith and confidence in the outcome of this historically-close election.”