Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy both blasted House Democrats on Thursday for attempting to overturn GOP Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ narrow victory in Iowa last November.
Miller-Meeks defeated Democrat Rita Hart by only six votes. Almost 400,000 votes were cast in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District. The race was the closest one in nearly half a century here in the U.S.
Hart has now decided to challenge the results which could potentially unseat Miller-Meeks. She plans on asking the Committee on House Administration to look into 22 ballots she claims were improperly counted instead of going through Iowa’s courts as many contend she should. Since the Constitution makes the House the ultimate “judge” of its own elections, her ploy could work and unseat her opponent.
The optics aren’t good and the Democrats run the risk of being compared to Trump’s attempt to overturn the presidential election. The political move is allegedly calculated to pad Nancy Pelosi’s House majority.
(Video Credit: Fox News)
“We can’t be concerned about optics,” said North Carolina Rep. G.K. Butterfield, who also sits on the House panel that will make the decision. “We’ve got to review the evidence and see where it leads us.”
“They were complaining because Republicans wouldn’t tell people that Biden won the election on November 4, the day after the election, and now they’re playing this game? It just doesn’t add up,” Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley angrily stated.
“Speaker Pelosi and Washington Democrats have set out trying to overturn the result from here in Congress,” McConnell accused on Thursday while speaking from the Senate floor.
“The voters of Iowa’s 2nd District spoke in November. Their votes were counted. Then recounted. The outcome was certified. There was the opportunity to present complaints in court, but the defeated Democrat passed it up,” McConnell said. “The process played out in the way that every liberal in America spent November, December, and January insisting was beyond question. But there’s a catch. This time, the Republican won and the Democrat lost.”
He went on to further accuse Pelosi and House Democrats of “hypocrisy” and he called them “shameless.”
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McCarthy said something very similar to reporters on Thursday. He scorched House Democrats: “I would not put it past them to try and steal a race.” He emphatically stated that “Mariannette Miller-Meeks won the race, won the recount, and was certified,” and urged that the House Administration committee “should uphold exactly what the recount said.”
Then he lambasted Hart, stating that she “didn’t go through the court system, which was the appropriate place to go. She said I’m taking it directly to the House because that’s where she thinks she can get the outcome she desires.”
The sentiment is being echoed in fundraising by Miller-Meeks and the Republicans.
ICYMI: The Cmte. on Administration is taking the next steps towards ensuring that at least 22 Iowans who voted legally (but whose ballots were wrongfully excluded) have their voices heard in #IA02. https://t.co/XiQFJUkFlu
— Rita Hart (@RitaHartIA) March 11, 2021
Help us stop Nancy Pelosi from stealing #ia02 from the voters of Iowa!
Sign the petition at https://t.co/JUntyfSSms
— Dr. Miller-Meeks (@millermeeks) March 17, 2021
The House panel is made up of six Democrats and three GOP members. Republicans believe the decision should be kept in the hands of Iowans.
“If six votes are not good enough for Marianette Miller-Meeks to be declared the winner, have a certificate and go through multiple recounts in a bipartisan way in Iowa, how is six partisan votes on the smallest committee in Congress reason enough to overturn the will of Iowa’s voters?” said Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis, who is the ranking Republican on the panel.
Pelosi is accusing Republicans of hypocrisy. “For them to call anybody hypocritical about elections when two-thirds of them in the House voted against accepting the presidency of Joe Biden is — well, it’s just who they are,” she snarled.
Miller-Meeks was provisionally seated in January by Pelosi as the House was sworn in. But last week when Pelosi was asked if she might remove Miller-Meeks and seat Hart, she threatened “there could be a scenario to that extent.”
The House Administration Chair Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren officially postponed a vote on Miller-Meek’s motion to dismiss Hart contesting the election. She has given both camps until March 29 to submit their written responses to questions before she takes any action.
The Democrats hold a razor-thin majority of 219-211. Right now, there are five House vacancies. Special elections will be held this spring and summer to determine who will fill those seats.
Republicans on the House Administration Committee are also asserting that Hart’s attorney, Mark Elias, has a serious conflict of interest. Elias and his firm Perkins Coie represent half of the Democratic committee members who are on the deciding panel.
Republicans wrote in a letter that Elias and his firm Perkins Coie are not only working for Hart, but they are also representing Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) who is the chair of the House Administration Committee, as well as Pete Aguilar of California and Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania.