An attorney for Democratic U.S. House candidate Rita Hart is defending Hart’s decision to appeal her six vote defeat in last November’s election to a U.S. House committee, rather than through the Iowa court system.
Marc Elias says Hart’s decision to skip the Iowa courts will not set a bad precedent.
” I just don’t think that’s true. I think that the House remains a forum for contests where there are extremely close elections and where it is the most logical and fairest venue for them to be resolved,” Elias says.
The Hart camp says it found 22 votes that should have been counted during the recount following the election, and if they had been, Hart would have defeated Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks for the Second District Congressional seat. Elias points out that the Miller-Meeks campaign isn’t saying the 22 votes the Hart campaign found are illegitimate.
“Instead, their argument is the fact that we’ve identified 22 votes and we’re not able to say they were the only 22 votes means that those 22 voters should remain disenfranchised,” he says. “That is a, frankly, a preposterous proposition.” Elias believes that the House committee will decide in Hart’s favor.
“I am more confident now than I was when I last talked to you that Rita Hart is going to be sworn in as the next Congresswoman from Iowa-two,” according to Elias, “That she obtained more lawful votes. We filed a petition that made a claim to the seat based on specific evidence, specific voters.”
Miller-Meeks’ attorney, Alan Ostergren, released a statement saying, “No amount of partisan spin can change the fact that the precedents of the House of Representatives require a contestant to first present her claims under state law. The Iowans in the Second Congressional District should not be denied their elected representative because Rita Hart cannot accept the fact that she lost.”
(By Joe Lancello, KBOE, Oskaloosa)