Rita Hart, a failed Democratic congressional nominee, is pursuing a rematch against freshman Republican Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who was elected to the lower chamber in January. Miller-Meeks was declared the winner by a margin of six votes by state election officials.
Hart, on the other hand, bypassed state election challenges in favor of taking her case to the House of Representatives, which has the power to decide its own membership. On Wednesday, House Democrats on the Administration Committee approved an investigation into the Iowa election.
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On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi threatened to reverse the Iowa result in order to add one more Democrat to the razor-thin Democratic majority. Pelosi chose to seat Miller-Meeks in December amid Hart’s continuing challenge. With a nine-vote lead over House Republicans, Pelosi now has the tiniest plurality in her congressional career.
“Could you see a situation where they unseat the current member and seat Rita Hart, depending on what they find in their probe?” Chad Pergram of Fox News pressed Pelosi at a press conference on Thursday.
“Could you imagine a situation?” We don’t have press conferences asking people if they can see a situation. Yes, of course!” “Of course!” Pelosi exclaimed, repeating herself.
“I have regard for the committee… Let’s see where that leads. To that point, there might be a scenario,” the House speaker added.
Miller-Meeks railed the Democrats’ desperate decision to accept Hart’s challenge after the election was re-examined by Iowa election officials and declared in the Republican’s favor on Fox News’ “Special Report” on Friday.
“I have no doubt in my mind, and the bipartisan executive council that certified me the winner has no doubt in mine.
But it wasn’t just the secretary of state, but a bipartisan executive council,” Miller-Meeks said of the disputed election results. “Iowa legislation governs our election process, including how ballots are distributed and how they are counted. My opponent seeks to disenfranchise 400,000 Iowa voters by violating Iowa law, going against Iowa law, and going against the representation of Iowa voters.”
The subject of Hart’s challenge to the House Administration Committee is on 22 ballots that the Democrat’s campaign says were unfairly rejected. Hart argues that if the votes in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District had been tallied, he would have won by nine votes.
The Iowa courts, on the other hand, have been bypassed in their review of bipartisan state election officials’ decision to seat Miller-Meeks.
Hart’s strategy for questioning her race hasn’t been seen in more than three decades. The last time a direct appeal to the House was made was in 1984 in Indiana between Democratic incumbent Frank McCloskey and Republican challenger Richard McIntyre. Speaker Tip O’Neill, who had a greater majority in the House at the time than Pelosi does now, refused McIntyre, who had earned state approval, a seat in the lower chamber before the process could be completed.
After a re-examination of the race, the Government Accountability Office declared McCloskey the winner by only four votes, and the Democratic House voted to keep the incumbent member of their caucus.