The challenged race in Iowa's 2nd Congressional District was called based on a six-vote margin.
House Republicans continue to baselessly accuse Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic majority of "stealing" a seat. The allegations vary, but the goal remains the same: to stop the congressional investigation of a contested 2020 election result.
On Nov. 30, 2020, Iowa election officials certified Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks as the winner of an open House seat in Iowa's 2nd District by a margin of just six votes over Democrat Rita Hart.
Hart appealed her loss to the House of Representatives, alleging that 22 votes were improperly thrown out and would have given her a small victory had they been included.
Miller-Meeks was seated provisionally pending an investigation by the Committee on House Administration.
Article 1, Section 5 of the Constitution says, "Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members," giving the House the authority to settle challenges to House election results. According to Politico, it has reviewed more than 100 election challenges over the past 90 years and three times overturned the results and ultimately seated a new winner.
House Administration Committee Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) said in a statement,
The Committee on House Administration has not made any decision about the outcome of the contest. We will continue to follow the process outlined by law. Decisions will be made based only upon the law and the facts. I urge Republicans to end their coordinated public campaign – filled with the same dangerous rhetoric and baseless accusations of "stealing an election" that contributed to a deadly riot in the Capitol – and instead join us in a deliberate and dispassionate examination of the facts before the Committee.
She said the burden of proof will be on Hart. Moderate Democrats such as Rep. David Price of North Carolina are saying a changed result is highly unlikely. But Republicans have demanded the investigation be canceled and spread a litany of false claims.
Democrats are trying to help their former colleague
Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL) tweeted on Friday, "It shouldn't surprise anyone that Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats are doing everything they can to hand @RepMMM's rightfully held seat back over to their former colleague. It's partisanship at its absolute worst."
But Hart, a former Iowa state senator, has never served in the House.
Cammack later deleted the tweet and replaced it with one saying Democrats were "doing everything they can to hand @RepMMM's rightfully held seat back over to a candidate with a D behind her name."
Democrats are being hypocritical
Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV), who voted to reject President Joe Biden's electors in January, claimed Tuesday that Democrats were "doing the same thing they attacked Republicans for in not wanting to certify election results."
But Mooney and most congressional Republicans attempted to overturn an election Biden won by more than 7 million votes after Donald Trump's inept legal efforts to prove fraud went nowhere. Under Democratic leadership, the House committee is actually investigating whether an error was made in the Iowa race, and no one has voted to overturn the race.
Because she is serving, Miller-Meeks must be the legitimate winner
Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) argued Tuesday that Miller-Meeks could only be seated in Congress now because she won.
"Congresswoman Meeks has been sworn in, voted on bills, and has been representing her constituents," he tweeted, accusing Pelosi of trying to "rob" Iowans "of their votes to elect" Miller-Meeks.
Pelosi must be trying to steal the election because she said she isn't
On Thursday, Pelosi told reporters, "If I wanted to be unfair, I wouldn't have seated the Republican from Iowa, because that was my right on opening day." Republicans seized on the comment to argue that she was in fact stealing the seat.
Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC), in a comment retweeted by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, said Friday, "@SpeakerPelosi here laying the groundwork to steal an election. #IA02"
There was no fraud
"Nancy Pelosi is trying to steal an election from thousands of legal voters in Iowa," Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) tweeted Tuesday. "This is beyond hypocritical considering she's repeatedly claimed there was no fraud in the 2020 elections."
Hart is not alleging there was fraud in the 2nd District. Her challenge rests on arguments that 22 ballots were "improperly excluded" from the count and that the recount did not follow uniform procedures.
The results are indisputable because they were certified
McCarthy (R-CA) argued Tuesday, "The votes in #IA02 were counted, recounted, and certified. @RepMMM is the indisputable winner and will serve out the term she rightfully won."
A recount that did not include the 22 contested ballots would do nothing to answer the question of whether those ballots, under the law, should have been included in the total.
Hart said this was the only way she could win
McCarthy tweeted, "The losing Democrat [sic] candidate in #IA02 admits that 'there was only one way that we could get the result that we need, and that is to take this to the Committee on House Administration.' This is Nancy Pelosi's plan. → Ignore the voters. Bypass the courts. Steal the seat."
In reality, Hart argued that she opted to bring the challenge to Congress because state law did not allow sufficient time for courts to review the case before the deadline to reach a determination. "We want to make sure that every vote is counted and so we want to have a process that allows the time it takes to make sure that every vote that was cast has an opportunity to be counted," she told the Quad City Times in December.
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), who calls virtually anything he disagrees with "Socialist," tweeted Tuesday, "House Socialists are actively trying to steal Iowa's 2nd Congressional seat away from the Republican winner 140 days after the election."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.