Second House Dem objects to Pelosi’s push to reverse Iowa GOP lawmaker’s narrow 2020 victory

A second Democrat is objecting to the possibility that a House committee will vote to overrule an extremely narrow but state-certified victory for an Iowa Republican, saying “the election is over and its time to move on,” Fox News reported Tuesday.

The effort is being pushed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in what Republicans have labeled a cynical attempt to pad Democrats’ bare majority in the lower chamber.

But Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) noted in a statement to the network Monday evening that the best thing for the House to do would be to allow GOP Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ six-vote victory over Democrat Rita Hart in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District to stand as-is.

“This election result was certified by the State of Iowa and Rep. Miller-Meeks was sworn in nearly three months ago,” Pappas said. “As I said when Republicans challenged the Electoral College votes on January 6th, the election is over and it’s time to move on.” 

GOP representatives and senators objected to the electoral results in a couple of battleground states where they said voting rules and procedures were unconstitutionally altered ahead of the Nov. 3 election. Members of Congress are permitted to object to slates of electors via federal law.

But supporters of the effort to at least examine whether to challenge or overturn Miller-Meeks’ victory say they, too, are simply following federal law, noting Hart is allowed to file an appeal with Congress. She is contending that 22 votes for her were improperly thrown out by Iowa election officials and that if counted, she would have won the election.

In January, Pelosi swore in Miller-Meeks only provisionally. And two weeks ago when she was asked if she could possibly remove the Iowa Republican and give her seat to Hart, Pelosi said “there could be a scenario to that extent.”

If the House Administration Committee does vote in favor of Hart, the entire House would then vote on the matter; only a bare majority is needed to remove Miller-Meeks and seat Hart, but because Pelosi’s current Democrat majority is so thin, she can’t afford many defections.

As for Pappas, he himself was only narrowly re-elected in the fall to NH-01, which is a critical swing district in a state that is blue but trending purple.

“I look forward to working with Rep. Miller-Meeks on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee and keeping Congress’s focus on beating COVID, rebuilding our economy, and moving this country forward,” he told Fox News.

Meanwhile, Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.), a member of the shrinking “Blue Dog Coalition” of moderates, broke with Pelosi last week and said he wants to “look at the facts.”

“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.”

Some Democrats could face tougher races next year if they support overturning the state’s certification for Miller-Meeks, according to some analysts.

That may be on the mind of Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.). In response to a Politico article claiming that “the top echelons of House Democratic leadership” are in favor of ousting Miller-Meeks, he wrote on Twitter: “Losing a House election by six votes is painful for Democrats. But overturning it in the House would be even more painful for America. Just because a majority can, does not mean a majority should.”

According to The Daily Caller, North Carolina Rep. David Price and Michigan Rep. Dan Kildee are also leery of stripping Miller-Meeks’ seat.

“The standard [for overturning an election] has to be a very high standard,” Kildee told The Wall Street Journal. “Unless we see compelling evidence that there’s something seriously wrong, then we should defer to state and local officials.”

Correa, meanwhile, told CNN, “I think these are issues that right now are probably best left at the state level.”

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Jon Dougherty

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