A moderate California Democrat and member of the shrinking “Blue Dog Coalition” has broken with his party and is expressing concerns over a review by the House Administration Committee of a very close Iowa election won by a GOP candidate and certified by state officials.
Rep. Lou Correa, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, has said he wants to “look at the facts” regarding Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ six-vote win in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, though a majority of his party is supportive of the panel’s investigation.
Correa’s concerns center on “what motivates Congress to look at something that should be a state issue,” CNN reported on Thursday.
“I want to see what compelling reasons there are for the feds to get involved in this,” he said. “I think these are issues that right now are probably best left at the state level.”
The outlet noted further that some Democrats could face tougher races next year if they support overturning the state’s certification for Miller-Meeks, which is being challenged in Congress by her Democratic rival, Rita Hart.
The Hart campaign claims that 22 ballots were legally cast for her during the election but were ultimately tossed by the bipartisan state election commission for various reasons.
At times, Correa’s coalition has held some legislative sway with the party but it’s not clear that will matter.
Republicans have chastised Democrats over agreeing to hear the challenge — which is legal — after they complained about GOP members who rose to challenge electoral ballots in battleground states following the 2020 election by also following a legal process.
“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,” Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) said.
But Democrats have dismissed those claims, ironically calling Republicans hypocrites.
“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,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said, the Washington Examiner reported.
“We can’t be concerned about optics,” North Carolina Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a Democrat on the House Administration Panel, told CNN. “We’ve got to review the evidence and see where it leads us.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), who led the House impeachment managers during former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment in January, claimed that Democrats would ensure the process was fair and said that the “statutory burden of proof to sustain” is on Hart.
“The critical thing is when you go to a judicial forum, bring some proof, bring some evidence with you,” he told CNN.
Lawyers on both sides have until Monday to submit briefs to the House panel. The chairperson of the committee, Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, said she hopes that a decision will be made later this spring.
“We live in cynical, jaded time, but that doesn’t mean we all have to give into it,” Raskin said. “We just have to do our jobs.”